health

BLOG: Do you live to eat or eat to live?

Eat to live? Or live to eat?
Eat to live? Or live to eat?

 

By NATALIA HAWK

Not last Friday but the Friday before, I was struck down with the stomach virus to beat all stomach viruses. Think intense stomach pains, nausea and all the other pleasant things that come with your body desperately trying to get rid of the bug that’s oh-so-helpfully invaded it.

For more than a week now, I’ve been surviving on Hydralytes, soup and the occasional lemonade icy pole. No solid food.

And you know what? I’ve been absolutely miserable because of it.

It’s because I don’t eat to live. I live to eat.

This? Not so exciting.
This? Not so exciting.

Think back to a couple of decades ago, when Australian families had the meat-and-three-veg dinner every night and not much else. Occasionally there would be take-out from the one Chinese place around the corner. The most exciting thing about food was the McDonald’s you got on a long road trip, or the lollies you bought from the corner shop.

Back then – I think people ate to live. Their lives didn’t particularly revolve around food. They didn’t spend much time thinking about it. They were busy doing… well, other things.

It couldn’t be more different from how prominently food now features in our lives. We’re obsessed with Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules. We spend hours planning dinner menus, wading our way through the aisles at Woolworths and then attempting to made twice-cooked braised duck in our slow cookers even though the kids would rather just eat fish fingers.

ADVERTISEMENT

My week of no-eating made me realise that every time I plan a catch-up with a friend, it’s food-related. “Let’s do enchiladas at Beach Burrito/waffles at Max Brenner/sushi at Kokoroya/rice paper rolls at Miss Chu/milkshakes at the beach,” I constantly seem to be saying.

This week, all the catching-up-over-food options were taken away from me – and my friends and I didn’t know what to do with ourselves.

I blame My Kitchen Rules. And also myself. But mostly MKR.
I blame My Kitchen Rules. And also myself. But mostly MKR.

I also directly associate my European family with food. Wherever they are, there’s bound to be food there too. Family celebrations are entirely gauged on how much meat there will be. The bigger the occasion, the more plates crowding the table – despite the fact that there are never more than six people eating it all.

It’s gotten to the point where my days seem to just revolve around food. I look forward to breakfast, and then I look forward to lunch, and then I look forward to dinner. My day is genuinely made better if I know there is something tasty on the horizon.

For six entire days thus far (not counting or anything), I’ve only had bland soups and icypoles to look forward to. And the week has been pretty freaking dull. There’s no birthday Mars Bar Slice. No brie and crackers to go with celebratory drinks. No tasty salad at lunchtime. No pasta in front of the telly at home.

Food has become so synonymous with having a good time that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have a good time WITHOUT food. And that seems like a terribly depressing thought. But you know what? I’m not particularly worried.

I think that, in this day and age of being surrounded by AMAZING food,  it’s okay to live to eat. Because why shouldn’t you take advantage of that incredible hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese place. Why shouldn’t you look forward to toast with peanut butter if that’s what makes you happy in the mornings.

As long as you’re healthy and happy, as long as your eating is not disordered, what’s really so wrong with genuinely enjoying food so much?

Over to you – do you live to eat, or eat to live?

00:00 / ???