CT cafe

Today, I’m thrilled to present a beautifully written guest post by Joy Choquette, who writes the awesome blog 156 Things, where she takes on about three things each week that take her out of her comfort zone. I love Joy’s writing, and I’m honored to share the below post with you.

Joy is a Vermont-based professional writer. As she says,  among her many interests are psychology geekery, people-watching and interpreting and everything relationship oriented: from marriages to childhood patterns to habits involving food, money and faith. She’s also very much interested in intuitive eating (please read this amazing post about it on her blog).

Without further ado, here’s Joy’s post about food in today’s world.

I am sitting in a café, warm coffee-scented air hanging heavy. I type away on my laptop. Today, this café is a retreat from my real life, a place to focus entirely on my writing and block out the distractions that plague me at home.

At least, I try to block out the distractions. More than once I’m pulled into a conversation at a nearby table, ears perking as I stare into space waiting for the right order of words to come.

“Do you know how many calories that Danish has?” an older woman, hair too-blond and mouth pinched asks her graying husband. She stabs a finger toward the offending pastry as though it were sharp and spiny.


He mumbles something in reply, takes another bite.

I continue typing, sipping my quickly cooling Earl Gray. I’m about to make the perfect point in my next paragraph when I’m distracted yet again, this time by two young women who have been chatting animatedly for the past half-hour.

“Let’s get out of here before I add 10 more pounds to my thighs,” the first one groans. The second giggles and pats her nearly flat abdomen.

“Oh, I know,” she replies. “Just breathing the air in here makes me fatter.”

Five minutes later, I hear the group of people next to me dissecting their food verbally, asking each other what the health benefits or lack thereof each of their breakfast selections has.

I can’t help but wonder, as I push away the too-cold mug of tea, what happened to enjoying our food? Is it any wonder that in today’s society we aren’t all plagued with food-related issues? Since birth?

I recognize, fully and completely, that I have issues with food. These are deeply ingrained, tangled in my past, snarled up with my emotions.

But how much of what I am trying to unlearn as an adult, is exacerbated by the neurotic view of food and diet in our society as a whole?

I think of Julia Child. The woman ate pounds of butter, white flour and sugar with seemingly unheeded abandon but lived to the ripe age of 91. Her husband, known to passionately enjoy her cooking, lived to 92.

Europeans, on the whole, aren’t as obsessed with counting calories and dieting as we are here in the U.S., yet they remain thinner and many studies say, healthier.

Sometimes I daydream about my perfect food world. Yes, chocolate would be consumed with abandon and sans guilt.

But more luscious is my daydream of walking into a café or restaurant and hearing nothing but the murmuring of contended, happy eaters. I’d listen to the satisfied slurping and munching, barely controlled moans of enjoyment, not contempt.

I’d sit, comfortable and secure in the knowledge that food was a gift, not an evil force, a sin, or a pleasure to be enjoyed now and mentally flogged for later.

Just food and nothing more.

A huge thank-you to Joy for her wise and eloquent post! So tell us, what does your perfect food world look like?

Also, please check out my guest post on Joy’s blog: When Everyone You Know (and Don’t) is on a Diet.

P.S., Don’t forget that Julie is giving away one copy of Be Yourself Be Beautiful, an e-book filled with original inspirational quotes and beautiful illustrations. I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday! All you have to do is answer this question on that post: What’s one quote you live by or what inspires you?