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Column: Lost In a Food Maze
[ Issue 105 Page 6 ] Tuesday, March 15, 2011, 22:05:09 Sang Eun Jee eunicejee@hotmail.com

Milk. Let’s see, full-cream milk? Nope. Too fattening. Trim milk. That’s it. Oh no, they have skim milk and its fat free. Even better. Wait, what about calcium milk? Must be good for your health, right?

Such variety we have in choosing what we want to eat! Soft drinks come out in various types that replace good old sugar with artificial sweeteners. Dairy sections at supermarkets are filled with products that boast their virtues with such names as “fat free,” “low fat” or “low calories.” They have even created something called the fiber powder which people put in their food to stop themselves from gaining weight. As more and more options appear on the shelves, we have become obsessed with nutrition and lowering the calories. These varieties surely give people more opportunity to choose healthy food, but to an extreme.

There is nothing wrong with eating healthy. However, this whole mania over healthy food is too much. We are all aware of the huge impact our mental health has on our physical health. So why abuse your body by stressing over what you eat? Consider the two following situations. On the one hand, if you eat healthy yet distasteful food it may be good for your body, but it will stress you out, affecting your mental health in a negative way. The result? Your physical health will also be influenced by it. On the other hand, eating delicious food may not be as healthy, but it will bring satisfaction and improve your mental health, and therefore your physical health too. If you are given two options which bring about the same result, wouldn’t you choose to eat the more enjoyable meal?

Nowadays it is as if the whole purpose of eating food is only about getting the right nutrients and reducing the calories. People act as if they need to do some meticulous chemical calculations to see what gets added onto their bodies. But food is not just about acquiring the necessary nutrients. If food was all about nutrients, we may as well take a dozen different nutrition pills instead of eating ordinary meals every day.

In our quantitative obsession, we are missing the biggest point. What happened to the pure joy of eating a delicious meal? Food is also about a time of coming together with your friends and family. There is nothing more enjoyable than talking about your day with your friends and family over a delicious meal. Food is also used to commemorate important dates such as Thanksgiving, New Year’s and Christmas. It is also what distinguishes one culture from another.

Take for instance my grandmother, a supreme cook. You won’t find skim milk in her kitchen, for she does not care about reducing the fat content in food, but instead in creating a warm, nourishing meal for her family. Seasoned with fresh meat and vegetables, love and care, her concoctions are a true delight.

To someone like myself, who takes a real delight in the joys of good food, it is sad to see that so many people are becoming oblivious to the happiness and satisfaction that a nice meal can bring. Food is not only about getting the right nutrients, but it is also about enjoyment. So why don’t we forget about fat and calories for a minute? Get a bottle of good old milk and relish the fullness you cannot taste in skim milk.

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