Ok, not really…But it sure seems like it. Food seems to have special powers—power over your weight, your health, your happiness. People from your doctor to the person in line at the grocery store have not only opinions about food, but also advice about what food you should eat and when. Books are written encouraging you to adopt a certain diet in order to “change your life”, “discover a new, better you”, “increase your self-confidence”, and the list of promises goes on.
It sure seems like it’s all about food when everything appears to be caused, prevented, and solved by what you eat. You eat too much sodium, so you have hypertension. You eat too much saturated and trans fat, so you have heart disease. You eat too much, so you are fat with diabetes. Who hasn’t heard or been told this? Since the intake of sodium, fat, and Calories is the purported cause of your disease, the obvious solution would be to eat less of those things.
In a way this is true, but it would be a mistake to place the sole emphasis on food. I believe that we can drastically affect our health and wellbeing through what we eat. I also see the limitations in focusing exclusively on our food and Calorie intake. We need to take a deeper, more extensive look at our relationship with food and our own individual “why”.
Maybe your blood pressure is high because both of your parents had hypertension, you’re experiencing financial hardship, you have a strong preference for salty foods, and you cope with a long day by telling your woes to a bag of potato chips.
Maybe you have heart disease because your grandmother died of atherosclerosis, you grew up eating steak, cheese, and Philly Cheesesteaks, and you work two jobs making it difficult to find time for exercise.
Being at a weight that is deemed too high or low by the charts, having metabolic syndrome or diabetes, or carrying around the diagnosis of “unhealthy” has to do with much more than just your dinner last night.
Food certainly is portrayed as both the infamous villain and the noble superhero, but if we can peel our eyes away from the food itself, we may just find the “wonderful” wizard behind it all.