I have heard it all now…Bacon Worship and The Power of Food Culture

Bacon Worship and The Power of the Food Culture

Is it possible for healthy eating to become an unhealthy obsession? Absolutely.eating-meat

Orthorexia is a word turning up frequently in the media to describe an excessive focus on healthy eating and dietary restriction. Ironically, orthorexics obsessed with health are not healthy and often shun food to the point of emaciation and starvation. The goal of orthorexics is not to be thin but to be “pure, healthy and natural,”.  Suffers are frequently associated with a particular eating regimen such as veganism or rawfoodism.

Michael Pollan’s asserts in The Omnivore’s Dilemma that America has undergone “a national eating disorder.” Americans spend tens of billions of dollars per year on weight loss and fitness products, with only growing obesity and chronic diseases to show for it. We’ve shunned fats, sugars, starches and everything in between, and embraced each new diet trend with open arms and wallets. And perhaps not surprisingly, it appears some people are now taking it too far.

The irony is, we’ve also seen a notable health food backlash. Google searches for the word “bacon” have increased significantly in the past year, and books are being written from websites like This Is Why You’re Fat.

In other words, we have serious issues with food. 

But why? 

For those interested in living healthy and being thin (the chronic dieters), the only guidance is offered by thousands of diet books and companies like Weight Watchers. Each of these systems has its own strict guidelines for success, while unfortunately few (if any) of them encourage us to behave in a way that we would naturally.

Thus the dirty little secret of the diet industry is that the vast majority of them are ineffective for long-term weight loss. 

This is why we now have a congregation of bacon worshipers. A growing segment of the population is tired of bland food and unsatisfying, ineffective diets. Bacon tastes good, and since we are all clearly dying of heart attacks anyway we may as well live it up. Right? 

Even if this attitude is a bit fatalistic, at its core it reflects a desire to enjoy life. And anyone who counts themselves among the human race should acknowledge this as a sentiment that deserves respect. 

But striking the perfect balance between health and gluttony is extremely difficult in a food culture where we are allowed to eat in our cars and in front of our televisions. The food industry has made sure that as far as food is concerned, there are no rules. So a bit of obsession seems like a necessity for someone that still holds the desire to eat whole, unprocessed foods from the bottom of the food chain.

Every day we take a little extra time to do things that are necessary and important, things like sleeping, doing laundry and brushing our teeth. We go out of our way to do these things because the alternative is simply unacceptable. Eating quality food isn’t an obsession so much as a life maintenance task that–like being clean–is not up for negotiation. Until we have farmers markets on every corner, a little extra effort will be necessary.

enjoying foodBut delicious, high-quality food is not only about health. It is also about taste, enjoyment, community and life. Food is something that is worth building your days around, because when approached from this angle food improves your quality of life in every way. Eating like this is not a disorder, it is a culture. And it is something that we desperately need to rediscover.

It is undeniable that food grown locally with care costs more than the subsidized, mass-produced products that fill your favorite supermarket. But despite our reputation, Americans have never been opposed to going out of our way for and spending a little extra money on food that tastes amazing and makes us happy. (If you don’t believe me I’ll redirect you once again to This Is Why You’re Fat.)

Is it such a stretch to say that we should be able to eat healthy and still enjoy our food?  My whole practice is based on teaching people that REAL FOOD TASTES GREAT,will boost your energy and help you lose those extra pounds WITHOUT DIETING!

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Additional Reading from Amazon:

§ The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

§ In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

Downloads from Audible:

§ The Omnivore’s Dilemma audiobook from Audible

§ In Defense of Food audiobook from Audible 


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