I have this weird relationship with food in that I love and hate it in equal measure. It’s a toxic relationship that if I were to give up on, I would die. Literally.
I love the way I feel when I’m cooking or baking. I know what to do, to trust my instincts and listen to my gut. I’m confident and creative and in control. I’m who I want to be in life when I’m in the kitchen. I love experimenting with the new and revel in the comfort of the tried and tested. I like that food brings people together even if it can also divide them (Marmite, I’m looking at you). I love sharing food with people – not from my plate, you understand, don’t ever try to steal a chip from me – just that I enjoy cooking for people because I like sharing the joy it brings me.
But I also hate it. I hate that some foods are considered bad, especially because they’re all the ones I love. I hate that you need to limit your intake to look or feel a certain way. I hate that I spend most of my time inventing rules about it only to break them when I’m sitting alone on my sofa at the end of the day. But the thing I hate most is the power it has over me. It’s that steadfast crutch to lean on when the going gets tough. Something that stuffs hard feelings down and buries them until the next trough of a sugar high hits you as hard as your spoon hits the bottom of that Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream you got for the “occasional” treat 20 minutes after you bought it.
I want food to nourish my body, not to try and force it to nourish my soul. It wasn’t grown, reared or manufactured for that. Actually, it was probably manufactured for exactly that. Those evil sugar barons sure know how to make a girl feel good (for five seconds), because THAT’S ALL IT TAKE TO POLISH OFF A SNICKERS BAR. But we *shouldn’t* be eating sugar anyway, should we? It’s addictive and fattening and sweet, sweet agave nectar, it’s also the best thing in the world. And let’s face it, it’s not the worst white powdery substance to be addicted to.
Food is, to use a word invented by American teen dramas, my frenemy. I want it around and to have fun with it, but I also don’t want it to tell me what to do as it so often does. I don’t want to care about it as much as I do, or indeed consume quite as much of it as I do, because I’m do those things for all the wrong reasons. When it comes down to it, food has a big and necessary part to play in all of our lives, but ultimately, it can only really fill your stomach. Nothing more, nothing less…and that’s enough.