My Relationship with Food

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. – Lao Tzu

Food has always been my friend.

I learned to appreciate food when I was young which was enhanced by my cooking “apprenticeship,” When I got home  in the afternoon, dropped off by carpool, my parents would call with instructions to prep for dinner. They were simple things like..wash and put the rice in the rice cooker, take out the meats to defrost, clean and cut the veggies, etc. By the time I was ready to leave home for college, I knew most basic cooking skills.

For the first couple years in college, I languished in dorm food hell even though the school’s food program was rated one of the best in the nation. I craved an opportunity to cook my own meals again. Sometimes, I feel that the dorm food affected my academic performance negatively because…I was so used to clear broth soups, steamed seafood/veggies, and lots of variety…but at school, we mostly had pizza, burgers, fries, and pasta everyday. Sure, there was a salad bar, but it was fresh two days a week…and then it was all brown and sad-looking.

Sad food = Sad me.

Once I started cooking for myself, I’ve gotten healthier. I rarely purchase pre-made, pre-packaged food and I tend to stick to the produce aisle, aside from picking pasta, rice, beans, etc. I’ll buy pre-made items if it’s something I can’t make myself. My sister thinks I’m a hippie health nut…but I think I’m appreciating fresh produce and since I enjoy making things from scratch, I also know what I’m putting in my meals.

I may be slightly unusual in that I don’t eat a typical Western diet. It’s a mix of different cultural styles, but the most prevalent would be Chinese. It’s what I’m most comfortable making, requires the least amount of skill, and the greatest flexibility. You could turn a savory egg drop soup into a sweet dessert just by switching ingredients, but the overall process is the same. Where else can you do that?

Most of the ingredients that I typically purchase can be used for savory or sweet creations. I love playing with my food and figuring out different taste combinations to keep things fun and delicious. Because of my love of cooking, I don’t like to eat the same thing every day and I get bored if I have to eat the same thing for an entire week.

When I do eat, I’m aware of my portions. Major meals are about 3 fist-sized portions of carbs, protein, and fruit/veggies. Snacks are 1 fist size. Also, I eat until I’m satisfied at about 70% capacity…which usually means, I have room for dessert and a drink, but I don’t need both items to finish a meal. Since I tend to have low blood pressure and hypoglycemia tendencies, I have snacks whenever I need them so the number of meals I eat vary daily.

I don’t restrict myself from any kind of food, but I try to limit my beef consumption. When it comes to a budget, I spend about $50-100/month on groceries. Additionally, I allow myself four restaurant outings a month. For the most part, I shop at Trader Joe’s but I’m leaning towards Whole Foods, Gelson’s, and the local farmer’s market to supplement my grocery supply.

All in all, I think I’m doing pretty well when it comes to cooking and eating food.

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One Response

  1. Wow, I feel like I’m reading my own blog. I can relate to a lot of this!

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