I grew up being a major eater of what people would describe as “comfort food.”
My mother was Italian (she passed many years ago), and would make spaghetti, rigatoni, pizza, mac and cheese, hamburgers, and other yummy, filling foods. Every day when I came home from school, it seemed there was some type of baked good sitting atop the refrigerator in a Tupperware container, just waiting for one of the boys to dig into it.
My brothers and I played sports, and as I got older, I started to lift weights, which burned a lot of calories. And so I got the reputation for being a “legendary” eater. For instance, I remember eating seven corn dogs (yum, with mustard!) at dinner one night while still a skinny boy.
Sugar was always a staple, starting with the pasta, upping the ante with the sweets, and taking it to the limit via an extra refrigerator we had on our back patio which was stocked full of Shasta soda.
We were raised Roman Catholic, but our “idol” was clearly food!
Somehow in my life, food became associated with love. That has never changed for me.
I know my brothers have struggled with their love for food too, and really–who hasn’t?!
Filling the Void
It’s clear that in our modern world, food has become much more than a bodily need. And it is typically used to fill something beyond our bellies. This book explains the principle (I receive no commission if you purchase, I just appreciate the wisdom) with much greater depth than I can.
The consequences of over-filling my belly have led to problems with my digestive system. I think it’s reasonable to project that most people’s problems with their digestive systems involve overeating, or that combined with eating the wrong foods.
Eating sweets excessively brings on diabetes, tooth decay, and much more, as we know. I remember going to the dentist as a kid and getting thirteen fillings during one visit! I have an additional problem with my teeth in that they are overcrowded, which makes it easy for food to stick between my teeth. I don’t know if this has something to do with what I was eating as a child, and how much was just inborn.
Dr. Weston A. Price was a Canadian dentist who studied the diets of primitive people and found that those diets were typically highly superior nutritionally to Western diets. He found that the structure of the faces and the straightness of teeth of these people were particularly noteworthy as described and shown in this article.
These are some of the characteristics of traditional diets listed by the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sweets and sticky fruit–particularly raisins–have caused havoc with my teeth. This–combined with my experiments with veganism–caused me to lose several teeth. My interview with my friend and entrepreneur David Maltz included conversation about this very issue. David has also had dental issues with eating a vegan diet. I’m not saying a person cannot obtain the necessary nutrients for good dental health through a vegan diet. I do believe this is possible. But in my opinion, it takes some knowledge and grit to accomplish this. I can go into more detail about this in a future post.
Will a New Diet Help?
Over the years, I have gathered a ton of books, and tried a number of diets–not to lose weight in my case, but to find the healthiest diet overall. Clearly some diets are better than others, and some people–because of age or condition–do need to be more careful than others, such as in how much fat their digestive systems can handle.
But one thing I do know at this point–NO diet will cure your unhealthy relationship with food!
If you’re anything like me, you have likely done much more damage to yourself through your misuse of food, than by the the type of food you have eaten.
In other words, filling the void beyond your belly is likely your main problem.
And that cannot be cured with food!
Subconsciously, I’ve always somehow believed that feeling better was the ticket to happiness, and our addiction to food only “feeds” (sorry for the pun!) that misconception.
In fact, taking it another step, I’ve begun to notice that I have used other things in my life to feel better. I’ve even used prayer for that purpose. A recent discussion on this topic makes this point very well.
Am I minimizing the importance of a sound diet here? Not at all. In fact, I’ll soon be trying out The Daniel Plan, and will pass on anything of value I may learn while trying it (it appears to be a lifestyle plan, not just a diet plan).
I’m just saying not to expect a diet to fix everything–when in reality it just may be YOU who needs the fixing!