Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Women + food = misery

So as I was licking cheesecake off of my fingers, this thought occurred to me - why do women have such torturous relationships with food?

I must admit the thought did not come unbidden. I had just had a conversation with one of my workmates offering her a bit of said cheesecake and she recoiled as if I had offered her arsenic.

"Oh nonononononono ... I'm not eating cheese!" she said, shaking her head vigourously.

A little while earlier I had been having a conversation with an older (but still female) workmate who was discussing meal options to have if "you don't want to feel too stuffed". It included salad.

Which is apparently the holy grail of meals these days. Gone are the days when salad was something to go on the side - now it's purporting to be the whole meal - with a little white meat or fish on the side. Rice and peas, macaroni, even a humble yam or breadfruit are all taboo things among women eaters in this post-Atkins world.

Can't women and food just get along? Men don't seem to have quite such a complicated relationship with food (though this is changing - I was in a car with 3 guys the other day and suggested going for sub sandwiches, only to be told that they were all 'fyah bunning carbs').

You can't gather more than 3 women these days without them anxiously dissecting their diet and exercise plans. A girl can't enjoy a chocolate bar or piece of cake without being subjected to wistful or reproachful (or often both) looks from other women who either long to be so carefree or abhor such scandalous behaviour.

And of course every few months, everyone is swept away in passion by the latest diet trend - be it the lemonade diet or the Zone diet or whatever.

I understand wanting to be fit. I even understand going on a diet. But I don't understand how and why we got to the point that we feel our default reaction to basic food items like bread and cheese should be shame, horror or wariness. When it get so?


  1. Bread and cheese should not be basic food items, we have for many years been eating in very unhealthy ways. First more than 70% of all persons of African descent are lactose intolerant to some degree, most of us are unaware and symptoms can range from mild, (flatulence) to medium, (soft floaty stools) to severe (call de doctor my belly HURTIN')

    Dairy should not be a basic food item certainly not for black people. Bread, particularly bread made from white flour is essentially glue and little else, all the nutrients have already been leeched from the flour and all that is left will simply sit in your stomach and turn to fat.

    So bread and cheese no thanks.

    In the Western word we have become accustomed to "staples' that have very little nutritional value.

    I will also say this DIETS DON"T WORK. Diets can in fact make you fat, not in the short term but in the long term dieting can send your body into such a state of confusion that when you do eat food all the body does is store it as fat because it simply doesn't know when the next real meal is coming!

    I am not averse to the occasional piece of cheese cake even though I am like most of my brothers and sisters lactose intolerant (and I paid for my sins with some powerful fartyness last night ) but everything in moderation, one cannot survive in any healthy long term way on a perpetual diet but we also have to remember that Westernised "staples" are not really the staples we should be relying on.

    Personally my staples include for snacking sweet baby carrots, dried fruit and unsalted nuts, any manner of fruit.

    Breakfast: oatmeal or home made pancakes or crepes with soy milk. Also There is no juice in my house, no soda either. Fruit cordials, from Ribena for the kids to pink grapefruit for the adults. Only 4 calories per glass and all the vitamins you can want, very refreshing.

    For mains: Whole grain rice, pasta, fish (always cooked in olive oil if I'm frying it) Skinless chicken ALWAYS, I have grown to loathe chicken skin :) I actually don't eat much actual salad but I do use things like leeks when I cook.

    Dessert: Lactose free ice cream and fruit salad.

    Occasionally I'll indulge, yesterday i did a twofer, i had junk food for lunch AND a slice of cheesecake. i have quite a happy relationship with food because I try to do whatever I want but in moderation.

  2. oops, I didn't intend for that to become an actual post LOL, sorry :)

  3. It seems I'm late, but I'd just like to emphasise that diets do, indeed, make you fat.

    The doctor seh so.

    In general, zazu's comment above was on point.