Food as entertainment is deeply entrenched in our
culture. When food was scarce, getting
together as a community and celebrating the harvest served to feed everyone and
bond the community. Food celebrations
meant continued survival. Over time, as
food became more available, we continued to use food as a way to
celebrate. Think of our typical
Thanksgiving feast with family or holiday parties with friends. I can
remember the special foods from my childhood with fondness. We always had artichoke dip or Aunt Judy’s
handmade crescent rolls. I’m sure you can
name your favorites too.
Over the past 3 decades cheap food, engineered to taste incredible,
has become readily available. It’s easy
and inexpensive to make a cake at home.
You no longer have to churn anything to get deliciously flavored ice
cream. Buttery and cheesy pizza is
accessible by a push of a button on your phone.
With this kind of ease, we have taken away one of the barriers to
celebrating with food. We now can
celebrate EVERY SINGLE DAY. And
sometimes we do. Look, I think it is
important to celebrate important mile stones but let’s keep our milestones to
several times a year and not once a week or once a day. Put the emphasis back on the reason and not
the sugar fix.
As a reformed foodie I can attest to how much food became
part of my entertainment. I’ve planned
entire vacations around restaurants that I spent months researching. Every meal was an opportunity to have the
most incredible experience ever. Don’t
get me wrong. I have had some incredible
food experiences. But, all of the time I spent on line or
watching the food channels or reading books about incredible dishes took a toll
on my brain. I became programmed to view
food as the most important part of any fun.
For me, this has been one of the hardest parts of the journey to lose
weight. I’ve had to come up with ideas
for fun without food. I have gradually
relearned that celebrating something doesn’t have to involve food or drink at all. It’s about the people and the
I challenge you this week to look around you and see where
food entertainment is sneaking into your life.
How about the wine at book club? Do
you read cookbooks for fun? How many
food magazines do you get in the mail?
Do you plan to meet your social group at restaurants for every get
together? Where are you meeting friends and colleagues?
Food is everywhere
both in actual availability and in our visual space. It becomes exceedingly easy to rewire our
brains into thinking that food is for entertainment instead of for fuel. When we get a dopamine hit from both the type
of food and the social interaction it becomes difficult to separate the
two. You can start to rethink this form
of entertainment by becoming aware of how much food has become the celebration. Next time you plan for something fun, see how
incredible you can make the experience without adding food or drinks. Make it your mission for November.