Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My food choices: A private affair

Restaurant mealUpdated and graciously reposted from Gurze Publications…
A while back, my partner Tom and I took a much needed vacation—a few days in glorious Carmel Valley with nothing to do but read books and rest.  Although a delightful time, one event stands out in my mind.

On our third night we visited a newly opened restaurant—very upbeat and crowded with locals who were thrilled to have a fresh haunt for meals out. We were seated in a cozy corner outside where comfy cushioned wicker chairs surrounded a round table with a center open fire pit. Due to this casual arrangement, there were two couples seated close by on either side of us. To our right sat a young college-aged couple on what looked like a first date. To our left sat two women friends celebrating one of their birthdays.

We greeted both sides and chatted a bit with the birthday twosome and then focused on our menus. When our generously portioned meals arrived we took our first bites—Tom’s was yummy but alas mine had way too much soy sauce. Because of a late lunch I was not overly hungry and decided I would share a bit of Tom’s meal and then have the banana dessert I’d spotted on the menu.

When the waiter came to take our plates and I indicated that he could take mine, one of the women on our left exclaimed, “You barely touched your food—you can’t be full, why didn’t you eat more?” I can’t recall exactly how I responded in the moment but it was something like, “I didn’t like it but I’ll be having dessert.”

As we walked back to the lodge I reflected on the woman’s comment. Ignoring the potential damage she might have done if I’d suffered with an eating disorder, it astounds me that she felt she could comment on the amount of food I ate. Although no more appropriate for someone who knew me, we were complete strangers. Instead of focusing on the birthday conversation with her friend she had spent at least a portion of her attention on my food consumption. She knew nothing of my late lunch or the state of my stomach’s satiety.

I am also a bit disappointed that I felt I needed to respond to her query by defending my behavior. A smile would have sufficed or a non-defensive statement that may have given her a little food for thought such as, “I’m honoring my body and my palate.”

The sadness is, this sort of incident is not an isolated rarity. Many people feel completely comfortable commenting on what and how much others eat, even to the point of remarking on food choices evident in stranger’s grocery carts. My food choices are just that: mine.

How kind the world would be if we all made the commitment to never make comments about food choices and/or food consumption of self or others.

Until next time,

Doris

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