Food Choices

food groupsYesterday was food day. I read two posts – one by Fransi Weinstein on how to make a grilled cheese sandwich in a foreign hotel and another by Nancy from Spirit Lights the Way on disaster meals.

That took me back to my working days. My company was 80% female. That means that there is a lot of food at work. Most of it is homemade. Birthdays were a smorgasbord of different dishes. With those meals came different perspectives on food choices.

I am a healthy eater with just a few vices. I don’t like fried greasy foods (except for French fries which are a vegetable) or heavy rich foods but I do like an occasional small treat. A scoop of fabulous ice cream (dairy group) is a small treat or a cupcake (grain group — yes, I know it’s white grain) or a small piece of cake (grain group). Nothing too big.

Well, there is the brown food group. This consists of coffee and chocolate. It’s my favorite!

But that’s not what this blog is about. It’s not about me but about what I learned.

There was a very young pregnant woman who worked at my company. Very young is key. She looked about 14. You would think that she wasn’t old enough to reproduce but there she was, bursting with fruit.

She was thin but obsessed with not gaining weight during her pregnancy. She stayed off of normal meals and ate “healthy” snacks. I guess she missed the part in biology class where it’s required that you nutritionally support two people or maybe even three.

From her I learned a new set of food groups. First off, dairy includes cheese curls, any chips with ranch dressing, and pretzels dipped in cream cheese spread. Fruits included Fruit Loops and gummy bears (I bet you guessed that one!). Milk and yogurt weren’t in her vocabulary. She drank Slim Fast to ensure she got enough vitamins in a slim way. I often wonder how that child made out.

I once worked with a pregnant woman who gained 60 pounds in her thighs from double cheeseburger snacks at 11 p.m. every night. Her explanation was that it was necessary to stabilize herself so she wouldn’t fall. Give her an “A” for creativity!

There was a woman who insisted that the best way to get omega fats was through deep-frying. Anything deep-fried – like even donuts. I wonder how her cholesterol is doing.

Then there was the woman who worked for me. She had a schedule. She ate a prescribed amount of a certain food every day at the same time.

I remember vividly that she ate 10 goldfish crackers at 10 a.m. every day followed by 6 grapes at 11. There were other foods and times but I just don’t remember them. If she was in a meeting, she would go crazy until she “caught up on her schedule.” She couldn’t concentrate and it threw her off her game.

She eventually got pregnant after she left our company. She didn’t allow anyone to take pictures of her while she was pregnant. (Why are women so neurotic about their looks? Pregnancy is beautiful!) I often wonder whether her daughter is being raised with the same intense sense of body weight. I met her mother and she wasn’t like that at all.

At the end of the day, I didn’t learn much except that people are crazy. I already knew that. I eat everything in moderation…except maybe French fries…oh yes and home-grown tomatoes.

29 thoughts on “Food Choices

  1. Kate … Some of the bad eating habits you noted are passed down to their kids.

    I have students who skip breakfast. It does no good to tell them that their body needs fuel after 8 hours of sleep. By mid-morning, they’re ravenous. By lunch, they have a carb and sugar (energy drinks) fest at lunch, and crash in mid-afternoon from a drop in blood sugar. I hope I got that all right. It’s sad that some people don’t understand healthy eating and portion control. (I can do that anytime I’m not around donuts or sweets. 🙂 )

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  2. You are right about all the office food – tons of it…and you learn to avoid those pushy people who insist their chosen food items are the answer to the universe and all health issues…don’t even point out reality to them, nope. I just stay out of that whole banquet room area. To each their own…(no, please don’t feel you simply have to bring some to my desk…) Trying to be polite, but…

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  3. I worked with a woman who would hold a french fry horizontally, then put ketchup squeezed from a packet onto the french fry like you would put toothpaste onto a toothbrush. She did this with every stinkin’ french fry, so that going to lunch with her took forever. I liked her, but she was a bit whacked about french fries.

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  4. I’m with you .. people are crazy. A very good friend, whom I also work with, is uber thin. She’s obsessed with measuring her food. Every bite is carefully registered, logged, and duly noted.

    She’s also no fun to celebrate with – there’s no enjoyment of the food, no reveling in .. anything.

    If you want 7 carefully measured rice crackers, she’s your girl.

    If you want a cheesy hot mess of an appetizer accompanied by garden fresh salads, grilled meats, vegetables and a dollop of something naughty .. you come see me.

    🙂 MJ

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    • I am definitely with you! I have a friend who had bariatric bypass surgery and she can’t eat much. However, she savors every morsel she can eat and it’s still a pleasure to dine with her. I always feel guilty because she takes most of it home.

      The woman who counted out her food drove me crazy. When we had staff luncheons it was a freaking nightmare!

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  5. I’m the opposite of the one that wouldn’t let photos be taken while she was pregnant. I think the only pictures of me in our family photo album are from when I was pregnant…simply because I was no longer fast enough to avoid the camera.

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    • Well that’s one reason! I am not sure why people don’t like their picture taken. Your grandchildren and their children will be deprived of photos of one of their great ancestors!

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  6. Haha! Crazy people.
    I meet a lot of non-dieters. They want to lose weight and they’re “on” a diet almost every week. The tiny problem is that the diet only lasts for about 3 hours. Which is good I guess, better than eating 6 grapes.
    Oh and I LOVE the brown food group.

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  7. People ARE crazy, that’s for sure. My weakness ussd to be french fries but it’s not anymore. I DO like ice cream, however.

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    • I think the kids of these “crazy folk” are more prone to eating problems. When I went to school we had one overweight child in the entire school which was grades 1 through 8. All the rest of us were fairly skinny and all elbows and knees. (I think that’s how kids are supposed to be!)

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