I am currently reading a book entitled, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Basically, it is about what is wrong with the American way of eating and how it got that way. I don’t want to go into all he says at this time. I simply want to relate one detail that I find absolutely fascinating and very telling….
A psychologist named Paul Rozin did a study in which he showed the words of various foods and recorded the various word associations given by the subjects of the study. When shown the words “chocolate cake” most Americans in the study associated the word “guilt.” The response of the French eaters, however, was “celebration.”
Just consider that for a second. Stop reading and consider….
Okay, you can read now. What did you think? I really want to know. Long before I went abroad I thought that the way we commonly do food is unhealthy for mind, body, and spirit. We obsess over calories and fats and sugars and forget about taste, texture, preparation, and joy. Before going abroad I had a very broad stereotype that Europeans care more about what they eat (quality-wise) and the experience of eating it. Now that I have been there and back, this stereotype has changed to a confirmed observation. And yes, Europeans are generally more healthy than we. And they do not obsess over microscopic nutrients. Just a reminder, fat is a necessary ingredient in a healthy body.
As a culture, we have forgotten that there is much more to eating than simply ingesting matter and digesting it in hopes of being healthy. Health from eating comes from combining quality, non-artificial food in various colors. Health from eating comes from enjoying what you eat. Health from eating comes from taking time to consume and be with friends and family while you do it.
It is all very interesting….