One thing we’ve learned over the years is that hungry gamers are grumpy gamers. We’ve also learned that a good food experience makes for a better night than an utterly forgettable one.
Food for Thought is a series where we talk about food at the table.
So, Finaira and I are not nutritionists nor are we dietitians. Still, like many of you fine people, we’ve been inundated with the obsession with healthy eating, healthy foods, healthy diet, healthy healthy healthy. You can’t address food at the gaming table without addressing that to some extent, so let’s take a swing, shall we?
Kim: I’ve had about enough of your attitude, young lady!
Gee, I’ve got some opinions on this one. I’m going to try to keep this manageable.
When people talk about healthy eating, they often talk only talk about what to eat instead of how to eat. If “how” pops in, it’s usually to talk about artificial behavior in order to restrict intake.
This is not cool and it’s not healthy eating.
Let me show you an example of how to eat heathily:
This is a video of a lady named Michelle1 eating a Cadbury creme egg. She made the video expressly to show herself eating the Cadbury creme egg and she enjoys the experience. I imagine that she’s savoring the sweetness and while I find Cadbury creme eggs too sweet to eat a whole one, I know the enjoyment that can come from indulging in one.
Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it—not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.
In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.
Eating healthy should not be arduous. Eating healthy should be enjoyable. Eating healthy should have great food and great times and is made up of how you eat as much as what. And how should be eating normally.
So, to eat healthy at the gaming table? First, give yourself permission to eat.
Give yourself permission to have handful of chips covered in fake cheez. Give yourself permission to try out that veggie korma. Give yourself permission to indulge in a cookie when the dice roll nothing but failures. Give yourself permission to bring food that you know will make you feel good. Give yourself permission to haul out your family cake recipe and bask in the praise. Give yourself permission to order from that Chinese restaurant with the amazing fried rice filled with dubious ingredients that you don’t really want to identify.
Give yourself permission to eat.
You deserve it.
Finaira: I’m pretty sure donuts count as healthy foods.
Healthy eating is tricky because what our bodies want, in a pure biological sense, is fats, sugars and salts. Because those are foods that our evolutionary ancestors needed to desperately get their hands on. So snack foods are almost exclusively fats, sugars and salts. That bag of chips? Made of salts, fats, and carbohydrates (sugar).
Now, first up, we need fats, sugars and salts in our diets. So you shouldn’t be trying to cut them completely out because that’s unhealthy. But nor should we be eating only those things. We need leafy things because we need other nutrients. We need variety because change is the spice of life. Also, spice is the spice of life, but that’s another post.
The second part here is the important thing. What we don’t need is preservatives, additives and excessive chemicals. Sure, most of them won’t hurt you. But these things aren’t exactly good for us. We never really developed to deal with a lot of these manufactured chemicals and we’ve we haven’t really had time to adapt. There’s still a limit though. A lot of these preservatives are fats, sugars and salts. And it’s not like most companies have our best interests at heart.
Which is why, in my opinion, the healthiest food you can eat is food that you’ve prepared yourself. Want chips? Slice some potatoes up thinly, sprinkle with olive oil and salt (and flavouring, if desired), pop ‘em in the oven and they’ll crisp right up. Much better than a bag of doritos. Rather have a cake? Make it yourself! You’ll find that home-made cakes, pies, brownies and the like often use less sugar and have a richer taste than store bought goods. Home made donuts are waaaay healthier than Tim Horton’s. And they taste better for the effort you put in. Plus you can make little cat faces on them and have wars with your friends. Although this may result in a loss of respect. (And by “respect” she means undying glee ~ Kim)
And yes, it takes longer. It takes pre-planning and effort to make your own food. But the pay off is there is you have the patience. And it gets easier every time.
And the pay off is not eating things that you shouldn’t be eating.
Words from the peanut gallery
What healthy foods do you like to indulge in? What are your thoughts on healthy food?
- Michelle runs The Fat Nutritionist. I strongly suggest that you take a look as there are some really great ideas there to help combat the shame that can come from eating. I mean, why in the world are we feeling ashamed when we eat? We have to eat to live so why are we feeling ashamed for keeping ourselves alive? ↩