This country is obsessed with food as is evident from the success of the Food Network, Internet sites and magazines which are dedicated to featuring decadently prepared meals and desserts. I have to confess, I even look forward to my friends’ posts and pictures on Facebook about their tasty fare (that means you Chip Mautz). All these outlets provide us steady access to food porn and best captures our sinful high caloric desires, just as porn encourages our sexual fantasies. Now that it is the holiday eating season, it’s interesting to see how our relationship with food goes into overdrive. I’m convinced the holidays are not just about spending time with loved ones but to pig out. From now until the start of the New Year, we meticulously shop, cook and travel for food pimped out with extra butter, whipped cream and chocolate. We watch the Food Network with more intent and experience many nights of feeling uncomfortably full, followed by the guilt for eating too much.
As an Italian, I’m all for the eating and I love sausage stuffing, raviolis, Christmas Eve dinner of seven fishes and pizzelle cookies. This makes the holidays memorable for me and seems no different than the cravings of porn around Valentine’s Day that make this day more fun and exciting. I’ve noticed everyone handles the excesses around the holidays differently, and as much as I indulge, I also strike a balance with my eating habits. I read the “Food Porn” column in the Nutrition Action Newsletter (my mother-in-law would be proud) which is a great source of information about healthy food. Every month I flip to the back cover and look for the big thumbs down picture to check out what not to eat. They pan the really bad stuff like TGIF’s frozen appetizers, which is warranted because that stuff shouldn’t even be considered food, but sometimes they bash a delicious treat and, for better or worse, this maligning peaks my curiosity.
Like recently the newsletter dissed Cold Stone Creamery’s Churro Caramel Crave with the fried dough smothered in vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and caramel. It sounds great and I can’t wait to try it despite the “Food Porn” warning. But I know you can’t eat ice cream everyday without health consequences and that’s why I’m not 300 pounds. It raises the question, when does our holiday eating, a shopping spree, one too many drinks at a party or watching a porn flick become a problem? It’s sometimes difficult to make the distinction and while it’s not bad to indulge, for some people it’s just too hard.
Those who struggle with addiction can’t easily have their favorite things, and this time of year can be torturous for them. While we are celebrating, they face their temptations and struggle to maintain balance and sobriety. I think this article, Conquering Food Addiction, sums up a reasonable philosophy that can be applied to all kinds of addictions. Michael Prager, author of “Fat Boy, Thin Man,” said, “When I found out I had an illness, I took responsibility to make it better, I have no respect for people who use [their addiction] as a crutch." I think this is so true, although I know it’s sometimes hard for people to take that first step to seek help.
So while you’re eating that extra piece of pie and indulging in the things that make life and this holiday season just that much more enjoyable, the old saying “everything in moderation” (and this includes porn too) still holds true!
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The 'Everything in Moderation' Myth
Anthony Bourdain; No Reservations Food Porn Episode