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Friday, March 10, 2006

you are what you eat

Are we really what we eat?

Someone’s choice in food can tell you about his or her tastes, their personality, their background, their class, their priorities, or their money situation.

The smells coming from the apartment next to mine will tell you that the woman living there is Indian. Over Indian drums and high-pitched women singing from her stereo, flows the smell of saffron, paprika, curry and coriander.

I grew up in a house that had a fridge packed with everything, a drawer that always contained Mexican tortilla chips, cupboards that held many mystery items, sea weed and sardines packed in mustard sauce.

By six years old I was feasting on curry, sushi, chow mien, fajitas, blue cheese and whatever else was presented to me. I grew up in Vancouver, a young multicultural city, with a family who appreciated good food. We ate over candle light most nights, and every Friday made our own pizza and watched movies.

i was a hungry baby
(me in my younger days)

Moving to France, I find myself in a very traditional culture. Every family buys a baguette everyday, has dessert after lunch and dinner, croissants, cereal or bread for breakfast, with a bowl of hot chocolate for the kids, and a four o’clock snack of something sweet and chocolate.

When I went back to Ireland I was reminded of an old fashioned culture. A culture of comfort food, potatoes, and heavy desserts. They are warm nurturing people, that love to sit you down for a hearty meal.

But beyond background, what do our food choices say about us?

To answer this, I look at myself. My fridge contains wine, two types of mustard, an energy drink, water, soymilk, fruit and carrots. My pantry contains whiskey, sweet Italian liquor, my herbs and spice collection, soya sauce, olive oil, balsamic and red wine vinegar, five kinds of tea, organic coffee, oatmeal and raisins. It’s me. It’s particular food choices based on health or taste. It's a balance of alcohol, caffeine, and things that are good for me. I like anything exotic and flavor plays a big part in my life.

When I feel good I eat regular meals. When I'm depressed I eat at odd times, binge and then deprive myself, because everything in me is off kilter. When I'm stressed out I eat less, because I'm too neurotic to sit down and eat.

Our choice in food can reveal certain things about our personalities. But what we eat also has a major effect on how we feel.

A bad diet high in sugar and low on nutrients will make you feel like shit. It’s obvious. When I neglect protein or water, I get depressed and have low energy levels.

As a control freak I've deprived myself on many occasions. I've been low-fat, low-carb, and everything so low that I lost my hips. I've been a carnivore and I've been practically vegan. It took a long time to figure out that a balanced diet is what makes me feel my best.

The French still remain my food heroes for many reasons. If the French are what they eat, they are traditional, indulgent, rich, healthy and balanced.

as a young girl in france
(as a young girl in France)

You have to praise a culture that eats copious amounts of cheese, fresh bread everyday, pastries, rich desserts, chocolate and wine. It’s quality not quantity, and there's no need to snack or binge when you’ve just had a three-course meal.

Times are changing, and even the French are growing obese through modernization, but the time old traditions can still be seen everywhere. All you have to do is walk into a Patisserie, and line up with a bunch of slim women buying a pastry or a baguette.

If you are what you eat, I’m good and bad, strong and weak, spicy and experimental. I’m Japanese, Mexican, French, Lebanese, Turkish and Chinese.

I'm the simple oatmeal I had for breakfast, the spicy soup I made for lunch, and the nurturing meal I prepared for dinner.

my fridge
(my fridge)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Nico said...

I can't say anything else than that I fully agree. My fridge contains plain yoghurt, milk, 5 types of cheeses, jars of home-made tomato sauce and confiture and a mix of lettuce and rucola. The freezer is stocked with veggies and bread (although I buy fresh as much as I can). The pantry contains pasta, nutella, granola and chocolate.

Make combinations as you wish :)

2:04 PM  
Blogger maitresse said...

What I ate for lunch: a small pizza bought at the local champion for 2.50, flat coke. Consumed while working at computer.

What does it say about me? That I am too busy to cook and to shop for bubbly coke, I have a predilection for melted cheese, and that I'm hormonal :)

However I go nuts buying food for dinner, trying to find interesting new recipes, and spend way more $ than I should at Galeries Lafayette Gourmet. What I want to know is, why is there never anything better left to eat for lunch than pizza...

4:46 AM  

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