Tuesday, 5 April 2011

To eat or not to eat? That is the question

Gretel Hallet, is a trained Chocolate Fairy and is running the Getting Started half day workshop in Norwich. If you live in East Anglia and want to know more about Beyond Chocolate, get in touch with Gretel. 

I did something last night that I haven’t done for a couple of years at least but which I used to do on an almost daily basis.  Before you get too excited, I’ll tell you that I finished the last one up so I could throw away the box and free up the tin for new arrivals.  In this case it was a chocolate and coconut covered ‘snowball’, but in the past it could be almost anything – slices of cake, lumps of cheese, half packets of crisps, the last two doughnuts from a packet of six ... anything that ‘needed eating up’.

There are opposing issues here; on the one hand the issue of waste, on the other hand the issue of over-eating or eating when not hungry (and/or eating something I didn’t really want in the first place).

On the one hand, I can see that throwing food away is a waste (and this is one of the issues which is explored in the Beyond Chocolate Workshops) – and no-one likes to waste money on food that is just being binned.  There are, of course, lots of ways to avoid waste and I’m sure you can think of them for yourself, so I won’t go into them here.  Whether or not it’s desirable to eat food up rather than throw it away is the other issue...

I don’t buy food I don’t like (unless specifically requested to do so by other members of my family), so technically all food in the house is food that I enjoy eating.  If (when I eat) I stop when I’m satisfied, there’s often food left over.  Recently it took me over 2 weeks to eat a packet of biscuits I would once have eaten in one go ... so all the while those biscuits were in the tin, they were technically left over and taking up space that could have been used by another biscuit.  And what about the pizza we had the other evening?  There were 2 slices left over but I didn’t eat them to get rid of them – I threw them away. 

What I’m groping towards is an understanding of why I am happy to throw some food away and yet feel I have to eat up other food to get rid of it.  I’m not sure I’ve ever thought of it in those terms before – that there are some foods I will eat rather than throw away, even if I don’t want them at that time. 

Most illuminating – I thought I had no problem with waste – I thought I’d happily throw food away if it was no longer required, but it appears not.  Food has acquired a sliding scale of virtue in my subconscious and some appears to deserve to eaten up rather than thrown away!

What, then, was the difference between the snowball and the pizza in my subconscious sliding scale of worth?  Maybe it’s to do with whether the food is ‘complete’ or is the remainder of a previous meal?  The snowball was the last from a packet of 12; the slices of pizza were the rejected remnants of supper.  Intact food ‘deserves’ to be eaten up, previously enjoyed food doesn’t?  Is that the difference for me?

Clearly this is something I’ll be working on for a while yet to see where the logic lies and what, if anything, I want to do about it.  I don’t want to eat when not hungry any more.  I don’t want to over-eat just to get rid of surplus food any more.  So now I am aware of what I’m doing, I get to choose what to do about it ... that’s the Freedom of Beyond Chocolate!

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