When at a restaurant, do you spend more time scanning the menu and calculating the calories and the possible consequences of eating a particular dish than actually enjoying the food and the company? This could be the sign that food anxieties govern your life.
Living With Food Anxieties
We all probably have at least one friend who has the maximum number of customization requests for any dish they order, much to the annoyance of the server. From being extra specific about the type of oil used in cooking to the source and quality of the meats and produce and the calories in each dish, these are the factors that define a person’s food anxieties.
While food allergies, eating disorders and strict diets can hamper the experience of enjoying good food, food anxieties make it worse. Food anxieties could also lead to or worsen eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia where an individual considers themselves overweight and tries to avoid food or goes into binge eating sessions to purge everything soon after.
Food anxieties are a recent development because our ancestors, who ate more natural and raw foods, only had to worry about the foods being safe for consumption. Today, we have to consider the safety of everything from raw foods to processed meals that can contain pesticides, chemicals and artificial preservatives.
We also don’t deny the fact that it is important to eat healthily and consciously, but one should know where to draw the line when picking foods based on factors like the fair-trade sources, social consciousness and humane production environments. Being overly conscious might leave you counting the grains of rice on your plate and reading or rereading the information on food packages.
With so much information to process, people with food anxieties often prefer cooking their own food because even the notion of eating out can throw them off balance. Eating out is often directly linked to eating foods that are on their “bad foods list,” thus restricting their options unless the restaurant is known to provide food that can be ticked off on their checklist.
The morality that goes into only eating foods procured from sustainable sources is good, but it should not restrict your choices. As long as you understand this, it will be easier to eat healthily and consciously, while following any diet restrictions you may have.
Understanding Why We Eat
People with food anxieties need to understand the main reason behind why we eat — to sustain life. Many of us try to design our diets around a specific goal like losing weight, gaining muscle or coping with a diagnosis. And because we try to tailor the food around these specifics, we often forget the main purpose of food. Once the main purpose of food is recognized, you can always work around the food to additionally support your specific needs.
So, the next time you are at a restaurant, remember to leave your anxieties at the door and enjoy the aroma, texture and flavor of the food instead of wondering if the chicken you ordered was fed organic feed or if the vegetables are clean enough for consumption.
7 Ways to Deal with Food Anxiety. (2016, September 29). Retrieved from https://www.marksdailyapple.com/7-ways-to-deal-with-food-anxiety/
Eating Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/eating-disorders
Overcoming Food Anxiety At Restaurants. (2018, May 31). Retrieved from https://fitfoodiefinds.com/overcoming-food-anxiety-at-restaurants/