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The Meaning of Food by Christine Driscoll

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The Meaning of Food My life experience with food has been a roundabout passage, leading me full-circle through different phases. I was raised by parents who, aside from being wonderful cooks, firmly believed in the importance of feeding their children healthy meals made completely from scratch. Having grown up on an island, where healthy food was not prevalent, I realize my brother and I ate better than most, if not all, of our friends. Nevertheless, I did not appreciate it at the time and cooking was certainly not something I enjoyed.

I came to the States for college and with my newfound freedom, quickly took to a much different style of eating. Cafeteria food, frozen dinners, and chain restaurants took the thinking out of eating and became my way. Needless to say, I gained the freshman-fifteen in a matter of no time! During these years, I worked as a waitress in a Sysco-supplied restaurant and then a French bistro. I also surrounded myself with friends who were strictly meat and potatoes people. This period allowed me to enjoy a variety of new and different foods, although my awareness was not focused on what happened to each bite after I swallowed.

It is said our taste buds develop when we are young and eventually, we return to the foods we were fed as children. This certainly turned out to be true in my case. For me, all it took was a little self-exploration, combined with being conscious of the true needs of the human body (I am a CMT with a BA in Kinesiology). It became apparent to me that the foods I ate had had a direct influence on my sense of wellbeing. As I became more body-aware, I found it was not just organic or natural labeled foods that made the difference, but whole foods prepared in a way that preserved the integrity of each ingredient.

I am now continually told I am a picky eater, as people can’t understand why I politely decline food they normally wouldn’t think twice about eating. My response is simple: I choose to eat that which comes from the earth and retains its essence, as nature intended. Like all other living organisms, we must consume to function, so why not eat foods our bodies were originally designed to process? Eating a bag of Doritos may provide me with energy, but it’s not a quality of energy conducive to real nutrition. I live by the Mantra: “I give to the Earth and the Earth gives back to me.” This exemplifies my style of cooking, as I simply want to get as much out of my food as I can. One’s body is truly a vehicle, designed to take one where he or she desires to go. My advice then, is to explore the way one feels after eating different foods. Track common ailments and see if there are any patterns or missing links to be found. I used to get headaches almost daily, but once I started to cut down on wheat, they declined rapidly! My digestion also improved dramatically by eliminating processed foods. Optimal health begins in the intestines, which rely on the foods we put through them.

It’s funny to reflect on the past and where our experiences have taken us. At 26, I have come a long way in discovering what is “food” and how it affects me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I now live to eat and eat to live, but in a whole new way. I have been living in Colorado for just under 2 years and every morning I wake up thankful. I can honestly say my beauty radiates from the inside out. These feelings are very satisfying and are much due to my explorations with food. I hope I have inspired you to look for the deeper message and to consider what is your meaning of food?

-Christine Driscoll

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!