The Truth About Loving Food

The truth about loving food is that at a certain point it stops loving you back. Actually even that isn’t true. Food can’t love you back. Food is just food. It’s fuel that gives the body energy to go about its business. All of the functions, working, playing, thinking, and talking as well those functions that you don’t perform consciously, like breathing and causing your heart to beat, the jobs run by the autonomic nervous system, all of these require food.

But in spite of its primary function as fuel, food is not repulsive medicine that you have to hold your nose to murder down, either. The fact that food, even healthy food tastes good and is pleasurable to eat is an undeniable part of the eating equation.

Yet with so many pleasures available, why have so many of us become fixated on and addicted to food? What is its Svengali like allure? I wager that most would say that food captures our hearts and imaginations because it looks, smells, and tastes so good. It appeals to three of our five senses. From the moment that we lift our forks from our plate into our mouths, there is no denying that it’s the pleasure it gives us. Or is there? Are we totally sure about this pleasure assumption?

Ask any of us who have been overly involved with food, who have spent countless waking hours thinking and dreaming about, salivating over, and anticipating our next meal, and as sure as night follows day, without hesitation we would swear that food is our favorite thing in the universe. We would passionately argue that the experience of eating trumps most other worldly pleasures. Or so we think..

If you are nodding away at my hypothetical assumption like an enthusiastic bobble toy, then answer this question: When was the last time you just ate while you were eating? When was the last time you ate without watching television, listening to the radio, reading, driving, or having a conversation? When of your own volition did you just eat without any other add on experiences?

If you can’t remember the last time you just ate, how does the idea sound to you? Isn’t the prospect of eating your favorite food all consuming? (Please excuse the pun!) Imagine eating your favorite food all by yourself with no other distractions commanding your attention. Does this sound appealing? If not, why not?

If food were truly the love of your life, why would you need to couple eating with other activities? Why isn’t this incredibly pleasurable, romanticized experience enough? Hmm. May be just may be your idea of eating doesn’t quite match up to the truth about it. And if that’s so, perhaps you haven’t been seeing the whole truth of food.

There is no denying that while food is in our mouths it tastes good. Yet prolonging the pleasurable taste sensation, means inserting more and more food into the cavity beneath our noses. And if we do this, we all know what happens. When we follow one bite with another and end up overfilling our stomachs after a short while the experience of eating shifts into something else. The pleasure turns into pain. The excited anticipation turns into aversion.

In this way we see the inseparable nature of the pairs of opposites. Hindu and Buddhist philosophies teach that the pleasures of in the physical dimension are transient and if not taken in moderation, bear within them the seeds of commensurate pain. So the truth about loving food is that it tastes good for only a short while and if we try to draw out its taste pleasure, our love turns to hate, weight gain, guilt, self-castigation, lethargy, and aversion. Does it really make sense? Is it really rational to love an experience so passionately when it’s pleasurable nature is so fleeting? Or are there other ways we can take care of ourselves that are truly fulfilling and nurturing? Ask yourself, “How can I feed my soul and experience the kind of joy that can’t fade or turn into it’s opposite?”