The Spoiled View Of Food

Chipotle in UTC recently opened its doors after what seemed like ages of anticipation from many students. It wasn’t until I made my first visit to the walking distance location that I started thinking a lot about the way that we eat and treat food.

First off, portion sizes are ridiculously and unnecessarily large. A small drink from Chipotle, for example, is twenty-two ounces. Calories count for its popular burritos and burrito bowls can easily exceed a thousand. It is disconcerting how easily we’re able to finish these portions, even more so to see how much waste is accumulated because we overestimate how much our stomachs can expand. These large, “small,” sizes aren’t constrained to Chipotle, but range across the spectrum of available fast food eateries.

And with these sizes comes “food bragging,” a term for people who boast about how unhealthy their eating habits are and how much they are able to consume.  I’ve overheard the phrase “I eat like a man” on countless occasions to emphasize the manner in which an individual prides himself on his ability to consume large amounts of food. And often times, it’s coming off as an indirect way to bring attention to those who “can eat so much and still look good.” Okay, good for you for having a metabolism, would you like a gold star for it? When did gluttony become something to pride oneself for?

As a result of these large portions, wasting food also has become a norm. If you’re tired of eating it, throw it out. No big deal. But in fact, it is a big deal.

Your stance is about whether or not clearing your plate is okay, the fact is, the casual attitude toward it results in an increase in waste per person; an estimated 4.6 lbs. of garbage are produced per person daily.

“Food coma” is yet another phrase dropped on the daily basis that people also make acceptable to use, and the state of grogginess that this describes is completely contradictory to the purpose that food and eating is intended for. Eating to the point where your body must concentrate so much energy on digesting and leaving you lethargic is not the physical response a meal is supposed to have. Technically speaking, blood does rush to the stomach to aid digestion no matter the size of the meal, but a “food coma” is overeating.

To be fair, the attitudes with which we’re brought up to look at food varies with cultures we’ve been raised in. For example, I was brought up in a culture that focuses (probably too much) on food and feeding people. If you’re a guest at someone’s home, not eating anything is just as disrespectful as intentionally being rude. The line between eating to live and living to eat has become blurred in correlation to the idea of food being the focal point of social interaction. Food has transitioned from being the fuel which our bodies run on to something that increasingly has the potential to make us counterproductive and can even kill us.

The way we are treating food and making unhealthy habits fashionable has the potential to propel us into a mindset where making poor choices when it comes to our health is casually accepted. We’re well aware of the dangers of unhealthy lifestyle choices, so why are we so insistent on digging our own graves?

 

Nashra Anwer is a second-year literary journalism major and can be reached at nanwer@uci.edu