Popular culture, and faddy TV doctors have impressed upon us one lasting mantra surrounding food. Simply, they all prescribe to an understanding that we are all constructed from what we eat. In short, you are what you eat. For many years I never really considered this, not truly seeing the connection between what went into my mouth and what state my physical being was in. For a long time food was merely a source of comfort or, when not this, a necessity. I now see food completely differently. My perspective now allows for the populist, ‘you are what you eat’, truth to reign.
My guiltiest secret (excluding the juiciest ones) surrounds trashy TV, namely any trashy TV that involves weightloss. Having myself lost 112lbs over the last years, I enjoy watching others achieve their goals. More disturbingly, I also gleane a sicker sense of enjoyment from watching the obese revel in their weight. From Channel 4’s ‘Supersize vs. Superskinny’ to TLC’s ‘Too Fat to Live’, the more dramatic, the better, at least as far as my TV taste buds go.
My morbid fascination with obesity and weightloss is framed by a sense of personal success in current times, in my lifelong task to properly look after my health and, therein, my wellbeing. At the start of this current patch of good health was a seismic shift in mindset. Food could no longer be seen as comfort, but instead fuel.
Seeing food as fuel was at first something that was very tough for someone like me, who found great solace in cheese and chocolate, but after a month of making minuscule changes to my diet, things started to change. My very perspective of food had slowly begun to shift, from one led by a need to satisfy my cravings, to one where food was part of the process of making me a healthier and better person day on day.
Soon, my body began to thank me for the nutrients I was bombarding it with, my appetite changed and as a result I started to take the shape that I had always wanted to be.
Dinners are now an exciting part of my day. In the past, 10 Frankfurters and a bag of microwave rice would have passed for dinner, but now I know that what I fuel my body with will impact its performance so I cook myself meals like this…
… And I feel better for it.
I experiment with flavours and use the money that was once spent on expensive takeaways on being creative with food. The other day I made myself a cauliflower and almond pizza base,topped with tomatoes, aubergine, pan-fried almonds and basil. It was delicious…
With everything said, there is still a time and a place to break the rules. Every now and again I will pop to Yuatchua in central London and pick up a delicious red velvet dessert. Unbeatable.
Respect your body. Feed it what it needs. Every now and again, break the rules. Perfection is in the balance.
(Photos – Eli Woodbine, 2015)