So on the heels of my epiphany the other day about maybe eating too much food because the food isn’t good, rather than the other way around, I decided to embark upon something I’m calling the food love project. For six days, I am going to eat only food that I really want to eat. I mean really, really want. And when I eat that food, I will pay full attention to it, noticing how it looks, smells, tastes, feels, etc. Putting my fork/spoon/whatever down in between bites. So I can decide if I truly love it, and stop if I don’t, and I can tell if I’ve had enough and stop if I have (or not, as long as I’m conscious of the fact that I’ve had enough and chosen to eat anyway). Those are the only rules. Aside from that I can eat anything I want, in any quantity I want.
Why six days you ask? Because I’m travelling all day Sunday and away from home next week, so I’m not sure how realistic it will be to continue. Although I could probably work it out. But also because I think experiments like this should start out relatively short, otherwise they may become overwhelming.
I started yesterday, with breakfast, so I’ve been doing it for two days now. Here and there I’ve been taking pictures of the food, so maybe I’ll post some eventually. Food photography is hard, so a shout out to all of those who take awesome food pictures. Mine suck.
So, some really interesting things have happened in two days. First of all, when I stopped and thought about what I really, really wanted to eat, I found that I wasn’t really as interested in eating take out and junk food as I thought I was. And as I’ve been choosing great foods that I really want, the more I’m thinking of really great foods that I want to eat. It turns out they are all foods that I want to make myself. Except for Tim Horton’s ice capps, which are hard to replicate, but I found a copy cat recipe I’m going to try tomorrow morning.
Yesterday, I started out by having 2 thin strips of back bacon, fried to warm them up, topped with a slice of tomato, an egg and some melted cheese. This was good. Since I took the time to breathe before eating and paid attention to the food, I noticed that it was cold by the time I ate it (having had to get the kids out the door) and that I would have preferred the egg yolk to be runnier. So I repeated that same breakfast today, making it after the kids left for school, and was much happier with the result.
For lunch, I had leftover chicken fried rice which I had made the night before. It was good, other than the fact that it had too many peas in it, because I had just poured the peas right out of the bag rather than using a cup or something to get peas out of the bag, and too many peas got dumped. But it was good. I didn’t finish it all, and was quite satisfied to put the rest away for later.
For supper last night I decided I wanted home made alfredo. With mushrooms and chicken. I stopped for the ingredients on the way home. This turned out to be more of hassle than I expected for a number of reasons which mainly had nothing to do with cooking the actual food and everything to do with the fact that I have no time to anything on weeknights. However, the alfredo got made and was ready around 10pm. I made it using butter, mushrooms, garlic, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. Baked chicken breasts in the oven and they were good, but I could have taken or left them. I didn’t finish all of my pasta. Had it for lunch today. Noticed that the oils had separated a bit on reheating, but was still satisfied with it.
At some point, it occurred to me that I wanted a Caprese salad. I went to the store today to buy the fresh mozzarella and fresh basil (which reminds me that I need to write up the little story of the guy who was also looking for basil). Already had tomatoes at home. On impulse I also picked up some olives and bread. I went back and forth over the bread. I definitely wanted it, but I was worried about buying a larger baguette because I likely wouldn’t eat it all, so I went for a package of smaller buns because those could be more easily frozen. They were good, but I know I would have enjoyed something else more. Lesson — get what you want. If all of it doesn’t get eaten, it isn’t a crime. I ate the bread with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Made my salad with slices of tomato, mozzarella and pieces of basil, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. After the first couple of bites, I decided I would be happier to have balsamic vinegar on it too, so I added that. I made sure to notice all the textures and flavours. I enjoyed it. I ate it all. The olives — I ate 3 and had enough.
So, after two days of this experiment, I’ve learned that when I want to get take out food or fast food, it’s not because I love the food. It’s because I’m tired or overwhelmed or pissed off and that’s my default reaction. I’ve been looking at cooking as yet another obligation, rather than a labour of love. And believe me, this morning it was tough to bring myself to cook breakfast. I was thisclose to going to a drive thru. But it turns out that making myself something I really want is more of treat than fast food. It can be somewhat calming. And what I really want doesn’t have to be complex.
I’ve also learned that I have an awful lot going on in my life. Not just in a scheduling sense, but in an emotional sense. A lot of emotions have been bubbling up the last couple of days. And I’ve been working on just feeling them. I notice that I question and dismiss my emotions. As though I have no right to feel angry, stressed, sad, etc. Now I’m just sitting with them. Feeling them.
I’m still overeating. But not as much. And consciously, if that makes sense. In that I’m not overeating because I’m unaware that I’ve eaten or haven’t enjoyed my food or to stuff down emotions. I’m overeating because it’s what I’ve always done. And somehow, I think that will naturally start to resolve itself, if I keep up with the consciousness, and the food love and the sitting and feeling emotions. We’ll see.