Put your hand up if you have sat down to a wonderful meal/dessert and thoroughly enjoyed eating it but come away clutching a prominent food baby. *Raises hand guiltily* It’s not fun. Why is it that we regularly punish ourselves by eating too much good food? And by good food I’m not referring to unhealthy food – though that is one of the worst culprits for over-indulgence – it could be your morning granola or the stir-fry you had for dinner last night. You’re probably wondering why this crazy lady is making such a big deal about eating more food than one should have, especially if it doesn’t happen all the time. Well I’m all for splurging from time to time, don’t get me wrong, however when it goes rampant and results in a horrible bloated sensation and needing to loosen your trousers (or put on your fat pants) it’s not so amusing. Am I starting to make more sense? Sure it can be fun to moan about it for a few minutes but then the realisation sinks in. “I just ate a delicious meal and now feel downright queasy. Why oh whyyyyyyy did I eat it all?.” If you hadn’t already cottoned on, I’m well practiced in self-inflicted food pain. But things are going to change. I have now made a pledge to alter my ways. Why? Because not only is it a bad (and uncomfortable) habit, it’s actually pretty wasteful. Why bother eating a scrumptious meal, only to wish you hadn’t done so straight afterwards? I’m not referring to the guilt associated with overeating (though that does play a part), nor am I really even talking about putting on weight. For now it’s the wasted pleasure that I want to discuss.
Take last Friday night for example. I had made a healthy sticky date pudding the night before (I’m not lying it is actually healthy) and there was a fair bit leftover. I was concerned that it would start to spoil if kept any longer and we persuaded ourselves that we could finish it off, despite it being more than any of us would usually eat. By the time we had eaten three-quarters of it, my sister and I were full, yet against all logic we continued to eat the darn pudding, groaning all the while. On finishing, we both staggered downstairs to clean our bowls adamantly declaring that never again would we eat that much pudding in one sitting. The saddest thing is that I know, as sure as day, it will happen again. So what was running through my mind at the three-quarter mark that persuaded me to continue eating against all commonsense? The knowledge that I would have to throw the remnants out and therefore be wasting food. Despite those seemingly gallant intentions, the pudding was wasted, just in a different manner. By eating food to the extent that you feel distinctively ill afterwards you aren’t really ‘saving’ anything. For one, you know that you don’t need the food as you are already full and secondly any enjoyment you had for the meal has long disappeared (in my books that’s an even worse crime).
It goes against most of my food-waste values and I feel awful suggesting it, but in some cases perhaps it is wiser to concede to throwing out a bit of food here and there. Better that than forcing yourself to continue eating well after you are full and ruining the experience. If you are careful about how much you buy/cook the situation shouldn’t arise too often, yet if it does, take the time to consider which option is in fact more wasteful. I spent many an evening at Oxford eating far too much at ‘hall’ because I knew that what I didn’t eat would be thrown away. However I also spent the majority of those evenings feeling very uncomfortable after the meal, and in some cases, regretting going. If you find yourself in a similar situation, please take something from my mistakes and preserve your enjoyment of the meal in front of you. You – and the buttons on your trousers – will thank me afterwards.