An article entitled “Healthy, Meet Delicious” in the New York Times on American dietary habits caught my eye and interest yesterday. I liked it because it encapsulated to a certain degree my approach to eating and indeed living, but also because of the author’s mention of a spectrum – from thoughtlessness to neurosis – along which contemporary Americans exist dietarily.
I did not find the same to be true of Europeans during a recent trip, though I admittedly only saw a small cross-section of society. That said, it doesn’t take much observation to see that Americans do tend to arrange themselves along this highly polarized spectrum quite neatly. We’ve managed somehow to become as obsessed about our next meal in this land of plenty as those who live on the verge of starvation say, for example, in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Our distance from starvation, however, has not correlated to movement away from malnutrition. In fact, we’ve grown accustomed to gorging ourselves on high calorie low quality foods and now suffer from a variety of chronic conditions which grow only in the soil of over-consumptive malnutrition.
There is something to be said about flexibility and moderation. It is possible to become so obsessed about health that, like a miser, you forget to enjoy your possessions. Likewise, it is easy to give in to let your cravings override your common sense.
This is much more than an approach to food choices; it is a mindset for generative living. There is a balance point along the spectrum and your job is to oscillate around it in your living, by virtue of your choices.