Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Thoughts on Food

Posted: August 8, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 2 Comments »

Hello friends! I’m back, after a brief hiatus known here as The Month of July, or Way Too Hot to Eat, Let Alone Cook month.

The month of July in Brooklyn included the hottest day in New York City history, as well as roughly 3 weeks of temperatures over 80 degrees, with no respite. Possibly closer to the whole month. I think my brain melted somewhere around the middle of July, conveniently coinciding with the day I began training for the New York City Marathon. Since then, there have been a lot of dinners cobbled together from whatever might have come in our CSA share that week. By the way, friends, when on earth does zucchini season end????? I have pickled it. I have sauteed it. I turned it into fake pasta. I put it in a fritatta. I put it in tomato sauce and turned it into zucchini pancakes (which were delicious) and seriously it keeps on coming. I don’t understand. Help me.

Now, it’s August, and my oven worked for 3 days, which was nice, and now it doesn’t work again, which is aggrivating when one plans to make chicken enchiladas for dinner and realizes one cannot, because one cannot BAKE the enchiladas (yes, I know it’s hot out, and yes, I still planned to bake them). But, we will adapt.

As an element of marathon training, I am covering more miles than ever before every week. So far, I’m running between 18 and 22 miles per week, and it will increase from there. In 2 weeks, I will embark on a 14-mile run, which will be the longest run I have ever undertaken. And every run from there until mid-October will be longer than the one before it, and will be the furthest I have ever run. I have been told that somewhere along the way, I am going to become ravenously hungry all the time, and will begin to eat more than ever before as well. I’m kind of looking forward to that, honestly, knowing that there is truth in the statement that hunger is the best sauce.

One thing I’ve noticed in the running community, such as I am a member, is that a lot of runners view foods as a “treat”, something they can “earn” after a hard workout. I often see running folk posting tweets or blog posts that go somewhere along the line of, “x number of miles logged this week, baking a pie now because I earned it”. This has upset me pretty much every time I hear it or see it, for many reasons. Many people have disordered eating in this country, both overeating, and under-eating. Some people count and restrict every single calorie they put in their bodies, while some people just eat and eat, never once thinking about the calories they put in their bodies.

I’ve worked my whole life to fight disordered eating, and seeing food as a reward. It’s hard sometimes, because there is so much in the world that tells us that we “deserve” a treat after a long day, or that we exercise to “earn” or to “make up for” those little “indiscretions” we make with food.

Since I’m embarking on something that will presumably have me embracing the calories, I’m making a new promise, to myself and to the blogosphere as a whole :

I will make sure that I treat food as fuel, as something I need, and as something to be respected. I won’t treat food as something to be earned, or a reward.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to eat french fries every night. Because I don’t WANT to eat french fries every night. But if I want french fries? I’m gonna have ‘em. In fact, I’m having them for dinner tonight! But I’m having them with grilled chicken thighs and a salad. Because that’s what I want.

Another girl is writing writing a blog about this, and I highly recommend her. Jessica’s One Girl No Diet is a refreshing chance to look at life where food is just food – something you gotta get. Something you love. But not something you earn.

I’m sick of reading about what I should be eating/what others think they should be doing/what we think we deserve regarding food.

It’s about love. Love yourself. Treat yourself well. You’re worth it.

And so am I.

2 Comments on “Thoughts on Food”

  1. 1 Kristin said at 1:17 pm on August 9, 2010:

    I am one of those folks who has spent my entire life thinking that certain foods are “rewards.” It’s not something I started doing on purpose, but I did it. (I am also a teacher who staunchly refuses to use any kind of system of punishments or rewards, because I know how harmful they can really be.)

    When I started running, I wouldn’t run so that I could “reward” myself with a certain food item, but if I craved a big burger and fries after a 20-mile run I would justify it by saying I’d earned it. Now, part of that is because I have been a guilt-eater my entire life (eating badly when I feel guilty, feeling guilty when I eat badly, and on the cycle goes) and having the justification of “I just ran 20 miles” made the guilt go away. But over the past several months I have been trying really hard to get out of that mindset and into the one of which you speak. It’s been hard to combat a 25-year-old habit, but I’m getting there. Wanting to eat good, quality food, and cooking said food for myself, is where I’ve started.

    PS – xo

  2. 2 Mom J said at 3:50 pm on August 11, 2010:

    Hey Josie, how about you make some zucchini bread (when your oven is working again of course). It can be frozen and taken out sometime during the winter when you want a treat for breakfast!!!! P.S. Your mom thinks zucchini bread is yummy!!!

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Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

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