Food for Thought

Food for Thought

I have never been a particularly fussy eater, but there are some things I don’t like and avoid. Raw tomatoes used to make me gag: it was a combination of the texture – mouth feel – and the taste. As I’ve aged I find I generally enjoy them, but if the tomato is under-ripe I still find myself gagging on it. Cooked tomato has never been a problem. I can’t eat mussels or clams because of the texture and flavor but enjoy calamari and prawns.

I’ve never enjoyed dealing with meat, such as chicken portions, or fish that contains bones. I find the painstaking picking through in search of the bones so they can be removed before I take a mouthful to be tedious and I usually give up after a while, leaving the rest untouched. This is at odds with my strong inclination to finish whatever is put in front of me.

That inclination causes me problems with my weight: rather than just eating enough at a sitting I will continue to eat as long as food is available until I cannot physically consume any more. I don’t feel hunger to any great degree and can generally eat a full dinner regardless of the hour or whether I have already eaten. Buffets are a particular problem for me – I feel obliged to try to eat everything that has been laid out, as if it had been served to me alone. I feel that I’m breaking a rule – committing some transgression – if I leave food. I guess this is a result of being brought up to clean my plate – I subsumed this as an almost-inviolable unconscious behavioral rule.

The only ways I have found to deal with this are avoidance and strict portion control. Despite knowing that it is not the best option from a health point of view I will skip meals, often eating just one meal a day. I figure that it is better to do this than to overeat. The second way, controlling the size of portions, requires the cooperation of others such as my wife who prepare my meals. Even though I remind her from time to time, I find that the size of my dinners creeps up. The first sign I usually get is that my clothes are starting to become tighter and less comfortable.

I do enjoy food. I derive a lot of pleasure from eating foods that I enjoy and do not get bored eating one of my favorite dishes day after day. As an example, I have eaten home-cooked spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread on more than half the days of the past month and enjoyed it equally on each occasion. If it weren’t for my wife getting bored preparing the same dish repeatedly I would happily eat it every day.