Inspirational quotations on Instagram include something along the lines of, “Eat Well and Travel Often.” Of course you have the ever famous movie adaptation of the book, “Eat, Pray, Love.” Then there is the Food Network and Canadian-import, The Cooking Channel, both offering competitions for the home chef, the dismally doomed cook willing to nourish one’s self without the aid of pre-made, packaged foods, the aspiring culinary students in their youth, the hipster-entrepreneurs who want to express their creativity through a gypsy lifestyle as a food-trucker, and celebrity cooks who continue to build on their career. Even on the rightist FOX network one can watch Masterchef and Hell’s Kitchen. On Bravo, there is the ever-prestigious Top Chef hosted by model, Padma Lakshmi.
Models who eat, and more over, those who cook, are in vogue. Karlie Kloss’s organic “Perfect 10” cookies sold at the female-helmed Momofoku Milk Bar packs a double dose of good-doing with its philanthropic price tag and healthy ingredients. Padma Lakshmi and Victoria Secret Angel Camilla Alves both appeared on the TODAY show on separate occasions to lead their own cooking demos as a testament to their pasts as novice models trying to survive on nil job-payments and harping on their primal instinct to recreate meals familiar to their cultural palette: Laskmi made lentils and Alves made a chili carne. Let’s not forget Chrissy Teigen, the Sports Illustrated,
Doppelgänger of domesticity defined, who curates a food blog and is currently working on her cookbook.
Hell, this past Tuesday, the 13th of October, a new episode of Chopped aired in which all of the contestants were not only professional cooks but also models: two males and two females. The latter contingent happened to have suffered from anorexia and bulimia.
Recently, Michael Kors launched a t-shirt collection that raises awareness and funds for children facing hunger.
Food is fuel. Food is necessary for survival, yes. But a relationship with food? What is that all about? Only up until a week ago did I find the phraseology altogether wacky. I was upset by it: To me, it seemed that our tech-centric generation had reached the threshold for scrolling through food porn to such a degree that looking up from the screen and forming relationships with other human beings was a foreign concept.
Then, as a journalist who houses opinions but is judicial by nature, sought answers by speaking with others, especially experts. These primary sources,combined with actively reading (we’re talking Post-It accessorizong here,) through a secondary source- a book assigned by my nutritionist - I wavered in my stance.
Or rather, I side-stepped and did a Step Aerobics’ inspired pivot. I no longer had a stance and instead became a knowledgeable and altogether unbiased journalistic human- a hybrid professional who has not fully withdrawn from the human race.
According to my source, a practicing registered dietitian and nutritionist, a relationship with food is not uncanny because their is one animate participant and one inanimate player in the equation. It’s just like having a relationship with a season or a place. She had a point. A wordsmith, I believe I got caught up in the literal semantics rather than the the philosophical component. In theory, we make associations between smell and sound and tangible goings on in our lives.
My relationship with food has altered. Since beginning a routine of three solid meals a day, which I haven’t done since perhaps weekends during the time I was in middle school, I’ve developed a love for the taste of eggs. I love white fish and indulge in the healthy omega fats found in salmon and all natural nut butters. Fruit has become an indulgence that seems so much more juicy and forbidden than those baked concoctions scattering New York City’s artisanal doughnut shops and traditional Italian trattorias.
It was only this past June that I didn’t know how to make an egg much less know what it tasted like.
I was told by the head nurse to “take it easy” when eating a boiled egg. One boiled egg.
The egg was cold and shiny, sitting perfectly in a plastic container with an overpriced tag from the hospital’s Au Bon Paine. I thought I would bite into it and it would taste like a fluffy marshmallow.
I was ravenous ever since being diagnosed with anorexia, as is normal with the initial days of re-feeding my body after a year of deprivation. I quickly took a small piece with my plastic, sterile white fork and bit into the gelatinous textured egg. Instead of the fluffy texture I imagined it to be, the hard-boiled egg was rich and dense. The yolk was so different from the white- it was so savory and weighed so heavily on me. Take it slow I did, then.
Without me having to search, so far my day has been filled with ideas and thoughts of food: From scheduling a long overdue appointment with my nutritionist, to making breakfast plans with a peer, to visiting Facebook only to find my friend sharing a New York Times Op-Ed about our generation’s rampant gluten-free eating habits, and yet another friend tweeting about a familiarly culturally culinary experience.
The New York Times article is riddled with harsh, albeit, necessary words to the hipsters that don’t appreciate masterfully savory and sweet donuts, (although even these indulgent food choices market greener, environmentally-friendly choices). We’re a society coaxed into thinking food intolerance is normal and commonplace. Gluten, historically partially responsible for species going from nomad to settler, now has a bad rep. We’re reverting to “paleo” now.
You might say this is an example of learning from history, but it isn’t. Never before had people, even myself in the 90’s, dabbed away at pizza or refused to eat complimentary bread, or even imagined eating egg whites as opposed to a full-fledged omelet, a true yolky-yellow color and all the bells and whistles of fresh, chopped tomatoes and basil grown in my backyard.
This society, while relearning that the full egg is actually good for you and creates a protective layer of healthy fat around the liver as opposed to the midsection - thank you, #yolkporn - is not learning from history.
Our generation is re-adapting the past instead.
History by definition is a change over time. Just as we changed from nomad to settler, from squatting to sitting on a chair or even toilet once indoor plumbing came into existence, we’re grabbing at a state of time - the past - as opposed to the changes made over time - history. We’ve traded in chairs for stationary bike-desks.
Sometimes our bodies need rest and our bodies always need nourishment. I have relearned this and now it’s just a matter of applying it.
So here we go, I’m on a mission to gain weight. It’s an uphill battle living in a society where my fellow millennials are rocking Lululemon yoga pants, taking selfies of themselves flexing in overpriced- gym mirrors, and being applauded in the most self-deprecating manner of flattery, also known as, “#goals.”
Excuse me, but I’d like to think of myself as having my own goals, thank you.
I have to gain. Everyday will be fairly sedentary. As it is, I have been cooking breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner. I can see stretch marks appearing across my hip bones and pelvis, but I’m still dangerously underweight. I can see my skin shedding on my upper arms as the circumference widens, yet my extremities are still bony.
I’m gaining, but only ever so slowly and it’s now a race against the clock. I have to learn from history: the only treatment proven to help treat - there is no cure for anorexia, is to consume 2500+ calories a day without any movement.
I have accepted this.
I can say with certainty that a gym membership will be awaiting me after this is all said and done, which, admittedly frightens me. Not the gym membership - my God what I would do to feel that burn, that surge of serotonin again - but the fact that I won’t be active for months and lose my once defined and toned body, which I already lost because of my anorexia.
This is my relationship with food, now.
And like history dictates, it will change over time.