Here in America we have an interesting holiday called Thanksgiving, which I feel illustrates our attitude towards food and appetite quite nicely. On Thanksgiving, we starve ourselves all morning in anticipation for the yearly feast, usually ready between 1 and 4pm, and then we eat until we can't eat any more, capping off the day by dozing off in front of the television. Ironically, that last bit usually occurs while viewing a sports game, dazedly staring at muscular, fit athletes working up a sweat on the field. But we don't just stuff ourselves, we concentrate our efforts by eating the absolute worst foods available- bird flesh dripping with it's own bubbling fat stores (hello, carcinogens), soggy stovetop bread, canned gelatinous cranberry sauce, and if you're lucky, a few poor green beans and sweet potatoes that have been boiled down and baked until there's hardly any nutrition left to them. Ah....America.
In recent years I've enjoyed a nice Tofurkey or Quorn roast in the midst of our large traditional Thanksgiving, and every year it's met with the same upturned noses and reluctant taste tests from family and friends. Hey, I think they taste pretty good, but I used to think that about the yearly Thankgiving binge-fest, as well. Why do we continually perpetuate disordered eating? I understand that throughout history we've celebrated a harvest or a time of bounty by eating plenty when we could, but those days are long gone here in America, and trust me when I tell you that this is the LAST COUNTRY ON EARTH that needs a holiday centered around food. Food is available. There are no more nationwide food shortages at the moment. The highest percentage of Americans have never harvested a thing in their lives.
My Mom always says "Everything in moderation" in defense of the Thanksgiving menu, but I've recently come across an interesting quote that has me thinking twice about this tired old adage:
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
I don't think that unhealthy food in moderation is sensible. Moderation has become an easy way out, a cultural excuse to have that extra brownie when no one is looking. Is gorging once a year on fatty, boiled, dead foods any different than a once a year drinking binge? Poison is poison- end of story. Many people justify a weekly treat like an ice cream or a doughnut as a reward, and this behavior is not only popular, it is promoted by health authorities! But who could justify a weekly cigarette? And why draw the line there?
So, throw caution to the wind and eat your fill of all the natural foods you care for. Go ahead- have that extra banana! It's Thanksgiving, and you've been good all year. Get another plateful of pineapple. You deserve it. Don't compromise your beliefs for the sake of "moderation". Go big, or go home.