This… is a banana.
A small and pitiful looking banana, maybe, but a banana nonetheless.
Bananas are a fabulous food – I absolutely love them.
I love them in banana bread…
In almond butter/banana sandwiches…
On their own and fancied up…
Yessss. No matter what form they come in, bananas are absolutely delicious.
They easily make my list of top 10 foods.
Unfortunately, to many people, bananas aren’t a food at all – they’re actually a collection of numbers…
But this post isn’t about bananas – it’s about an issue that’s been bugging me for quite some time…
The Science of Eating
When did eating become a equation? Cooking a calculation? Meal time a math lesson?
When did a beautifully prepared meal go from being a nourishing work of art to nothing more than an attempt at a perfect ratio of carbs, proteins, and fats…
. . .
When we stopped listening to our bodies and started relying too much on our heads.
When we bought into the belief that there’s a “perfect” or “right” way to eat.
When we let ourselves be convinced that enjoying food is a sin.
Food is fuel, sure, but is that all it is? Is it not an experience? An adventure?
Does it not bring us closer together and put a smile on our face?
We’re constantly being cautioned against “emotional eating”, and told that eating for pleasure somehow makes us horrible human beings… because there’s nothing worse than making ourselves feel a little bit better with a bowl of ice cream when we’re having a bad day, right? Or going out to grab a bite to eat with some friends, even when we’re not hungry, just to enjoy the company…
There’s more to life than food, sure, but food also introduces something more to life; and if we treat it as nothing more than a number or a ratio, we’re robbing ourselves of one of life’s greatest pleasures.
So let’s start skipping our Foodie Math 101 class, and go out for some froyo instead…
Maybe it’ll help us start seeing things for what they really are, as in the case of the simple banana…
… which isn’t a Carb Monster or a Sugar Devil, but a piece of [delicious] food…
Nothing more. Nothing less.
. – . – . – .
Do you struggle to see food as more than just a number?
Would love to hear your thoughts! 😀
On the money! I’ve been thinking this for awhile although I don’t always follow!
Sometimes just taking my daughter out for ice cream can change everything. [For the better] 😉
Great post. I struggle with that sometimes like when I’m eating out and choose something that is lower calorie instead of something I really wanted.
You have pretty hands. …You also just made me crave banana. brb going to raid kitchen.
Girl In The Pink
Have you read In Defense Of Food? Based on your posts I think you would like it! It’s all about how nutrition science has lead us in the wrong direction so we need to get back to eating whole foods- foods that our great gramdmothers would recognize as food!
I see food as fuel, and I am not afraid of it. I love it!
“Eating an equation? Cooking a calculation? Meal time a math lesson?”
You took me back to AP English with those rhetorical devices : D
Seriously. You are a genious. Im still working on the calculating calories but its like im scared to stop. Tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully one day I can. You’re awesome, and seriously like my life saver! Thanks!!
You’re so right about food math. I’m guilty of this for sure. Although I think it’s okay to calculate while still enjoying food. I have a rule to never eliminate a food group just because it’s “sugary” or “fatty”. But when my jeans start to get snug, I know it’s time to get my portions in check. When I need to lose a few vacation pounds I still go for froyo but I just skip something else instead like guacamole or cheese in a different meal. I love bethanny frankel’s rule about treating your diet like a bank account.
SO true ! Thank you for this post!! I will come join you for that Fro Yo.. I need to get the hell out of Foodie 101 ASAP… i am going crazy..
I love this post – such a great message. It’s hard to find blogs that appreciate food for what it is. It seems like most people (including myself) overanalyze everything to create too much balance in meals.
I’ve been trying to base my meals and snacks off of cravings lately, rather than what I “know” I should be eating at certain times in the day. So heck, if I want cereal at 2 AM, I’ll eat it.
you are SO right! Emotional eating gets such a bad rap, but is it really that bad? I mean, if you are an emotionally balanced person, and food is part of a happy situation, so what!
this post almost brought tears to my eyes, as it’s one that hits so close to home for me. i loved all you had to say about the banana, and i remember a time in my life when i refused even to eat watermelon because someone had told me it was too “carby.” how sad is it that we let food become numbers and our whole life starts to revolve around calories in, calories worked off, and ultimately, the number on the scale. we forget that self worth cannot be measured with a number like it’s a gpa or an ingredient in a recipe. i’m FINALLY learning to eat what i’m craving (and what my body needs) without worrying if it’s the lowest calorie/fat option out there. after all, food IS fuel and medicine, but it’s so much more than that. it’s a way to connect with others, to celebrate culture and life, to have tradition. i’ve been told by a few nutritionists that there are no such things as “good foods” and “bad foods”- that’s so eating disordered, sorting foods out in ways that makes some “safe” and “unsafe”- prohibiting things we really want. i’ve started to learn that everything is fine in moderation, and that eating isn’t a numbers game, but more an adventure of variety, balance, and moderation. amen to this post- i’m so glad there are people out there reminding others of this important lesson!
I love this and I couldn’t agree more! I hate when people say “all things in moderation” and they’re referring to fruits and veggies! How is it bad to eat a ton of fresh veggies or have some fruit with every meal? As long as you’re not replacing other things with that, I think it’s perfectly okay to be a produce monster 😉
I still struggle with not counting my calories, fat and sugar grams, etc because of my ED. It seems like those numbers are forever stuck in my head! Now I’m just trying to focus on my body’s wants and needs and focus on nutrients over numbers.
Mary @ Bites and Bliss
It felt so amazing when I started to notice food for what it does for my body rather than just their numbers. But still, I do pay attention to those things to make sure I’m getting enough of those numbers to properly fuel my workouts! But they’re definitely not “just numbers”..not anymore. 🙂
Something that struck me the other day while I was reading Women’s Health magazine… was that they were always suggesting ways to cut calories and how to choose the lowest calorie option. It really got me thinking that basically every form of media is geared towards dieting. The magazine articles, TV commercials, diet programs and products… all geared towards losing weight. Its really hard to wrap my mind around trying to eat MORE in a world where everybody else is trying to eat LESS…
Anyways… yeah, the hard thing is, right now I do HAVE to look at as a number, to make sure I’m getting enough… but I’m trying to disconnect a little bit. Just keep track of calories and make sure I get the minimum protein and fat requirements… and just let everything else fall as it may.
aww juhuu. i’m so happy to see you writing again!! i love reading your old blog in the wintertime and did just notice your messega from may.
you’r such a great blogger/writer. I’m so excited to start reading your new blog now.
THANK YOU ((:)
Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather
Love this post! I used to think about food in numbers, but now it’s just fun for me! Food is tasty, energizing and good for the body.
This is such a lovely, thoughtful and well-put post. Just like all of yours of course. You just know how to put everything so perfectly into words 🙂 And your choice of the Banana as the star player is brilliant.
I don’t look at food as a number per say, but it’s definitely become a burden, a frustration and a boredom buster lately rather than filled with the enjoyment, taste and social pleasure that it should be laden with. I’m hoping to get that back soon enough because food is such a wonderful thing when you have a great relationship with it. I miss enjoying it and looking forward to it rather than resenting it and eating it without proper thought and attention. It’ll come though, I know it will.
I had three super ripe bananas yesterday so I made a “healthier” banana bread but it was such a bust! Well, it turned out pretty decent after a night and a chill in the fridge (banana bread is always better the next day, isn’t it?!) but I SHOULD have made yours! I’ve always wanted to. Next batch of rotting bananas is getting Amanda-fied for sure.
Food is always a number. It’s either the calories or the price. Luckily, bananas have always been on my list of comfort foods and here they are quite cheap so I don’t choke on them when I think about the price 😀 . Thanks for the inspiring (banana) post!
Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee
I love your post and I agree with your point. Nothing wrong with a little ice cream every now and then!!! I don’t get why some people say that bananas are a “bad” fruit cause they have more calories than the typical fruit. They’re very nutritious!!! Life is NOT a Nutrition Facts label.
Ah this is why I love reading your posts! The past few days I haven’t been able to “count” calories and it’s SO freeing! It’s been great to just ENJOY food without thinking about the nutritional profile of my food. It’s a shame so many of us have become focused on the nutritional value of foods instead of just enjoying food for what it is 🙂
I absolutely agree with you here, Amanda. To make things more complicated, all foods (and calories) aren’t created equal. I believe that the 2,000 (or whatever number) calories a day rule is absolute bologna. It’s about what you eat and how your body utilizes it. Ever wonder why some people can barely eat anything, and yet they can’t stop gaining weight?
Food isn’t about numbers, and it’s a tragedy that over the past century, we’ve been retrained to believe in the association between the two. We have to re-teach ourselves how to eat using our senses – both physical and intuitive – in order to best nourish our bodies. Calories and micronutrients need. to. go.
You see, this is why I love your blog. 🙂
I love this post, and I love YOU!! Love how you write, and how it all makes sence!
I havent counted calories in years, but I have had aaall kinds of other rules and ways to put food/food groups into “good” and “bad”. I KNOW that my body doesent care if a meal is “perfectelly” mixed. If it calls for a certan food, that is what it needs! Why, oh why, is it so hard to just give up the control? Especially when I know it is the right and healthiest thing to do!
Amanda @ Running with Spoons
It’s only hard for the first little bit. Once you give it up and see how amazing it feels to be free, it becomes a lot easier 🙂
i def think this is such a great post and great way to loook at food and how our society deals with it!!… i defs used to see food as a number… but now.. its TASTY!! and um.. im so proud and happy that u used bananas in this example.. becuz.. well.. they ROCK 😉
Tori (Fresh Fruition)
This ish is bananas!
Sometimes I do wish I could go back to the days of not knowing anything about nutrition. When I was younger I would be able to eat anything I wanted without a second thought. Now I feel like I know so much about the food that I’m eating that it becomes over-complicated! Good in a way since I feel so much healthier, but it can be overwhelming and frustrating at times, too.
Just every single post you write is just incredible, honestly. 🙂
When I first started my ED I would count calories obsessively, up to the point where I wouldn’t allow myself a piece of gum because it had a whole extra 7 calories in it. I’d write it all down in a diary everyday (not that I ate more than 100 on some days..) I knew the calories in EVERYTHING. I’d go round the shops and look at the back of every single thing possible. Numbers just went round my head. Then after being in hospital for years and deciding to recover myself, I made a set calorie meal plan and it drove me crazy counting the calories to make the ‘exact’ number to meet my weight gaining meal plan. It stressed me out so much planning every single day so it was ‘perfect’.
Now I honestly can’t remember the last time I counted calories and my head is totally free of numbers. I don’t know how and when it happened but damn, I feel so free! I honestly don’t know HOW I managed to count the calories in everything..these days I just see it as impossible! I nibble here and there, I make up my own recipes and randomly through in bits here and there..it’s just not possible to calculate how much I have! And thank GOD I don’t because I love the way I eat freely now! And bake! My favorite thing ever!!
And bananas were definitely one of my most feared foods! How could I deprive myself of such an innocent yummy fruit?!
Amanda @ Running with Spoons
Awwr love your story is so inspiring and you’re doing absolutely amazing. The same thing happened to me – I don’t know what caused my mentality to change, but one day it was just like… I don’t want to do this anymore… so I quit the counting and fell in love with the freedom.
Laura Agar Wilson
Wonderful post! I used to have problems with my relationship with food as I would see things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or calories or fat or carbs etc. Recently I have really embraced the pure joy of eating. Food is so much more than numbers, its my connection to the environment and the planet, they give me health and energy, and most importantly, food nourishes my soul! I think its so important to get pure joy from food 🙂
I used to think of food numerically, but THANKFULLY I am past that- plus most of the foods I eat are so ingredient-ly complicated that it would take a great time effort of arithmetic to even figure out the nutritional content- hence I tend to prefer food WITHOUT any nutritional facts/info- I just don’t need that reminder 🙂
Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner)
YES for food love!! Food is FOOD and I no longer care how many calories it has or whether it’s supposedly ‘good’ or ‘bad’, if I want it I’ll have it!! 😀
I used to be a HUGE calorie counter and even when I decided to give it up, it wasn’t that easy! I still knew the calories in just about everything, so it was really hard to ignore that! And bananas were like my BIGGEST fear food but now they are my FAVOURITE, especially in your delicious banana bread!!
LOVE these posts!! I love reading through each of the comments above and seeing the amazing impact your words are having on people struggling with these things! You ROCK girl 🙂