A Life Long Relationship With Food

From the moment we arrive on the planet, all if not most of us enter into a relationship with food and nourishment.

From receiving nutrients from your mothers placenta, to then finding comfort from being breast or bottle fed as a newborn, we immediately learn that consuming nutrients - in whatever form that may be - is essential for our growth and survival - even if this at first only happens at a subconscious level.

Even at this subconscious level, we have entered into a life long relationship with food.

However, food not only serves to nourish us, but also to create bonds with who we eat with, significant memories, and the cultural rituals we use to create our sense of identity.

Whether that be eating a spaghetti Bolognese every Friday night with your family, ice cream along the beach, or popcorn with your friends when watching a film - food is associated with people, times and places.

As we go throughout life, food can also take on another meaning. It also serves as a way to identify how self-controlled of a person we are.

Unfortunately, this association between food and self is not always a positive one. Instead on being linked with positive memories or becoming part of our cultural sense of belonging, food can become a way of negatively self-judging and comparing ourselves with others.

Since much of western society views food as a gauge of how self-controlled a person is, e.g. how ‘healthy’ or unhealthy they eat and even how much they weigh, what we eat can be symbolic of trying to obtain (unrealistic) cultural expectations.

Take for example the act of eating a cake or biscuit. For one individual this might mean relating to that food as symbolic of sharing time with family and friends.

However, for another person it might symbolise deviating from a particular way of eating, such as a weight loss diet or a plan where all processed foods are to be strictly avoided.

Quite quickly, a food can become a source of pleasure as well as hate.

Simultaneously a person might sense the pleasant taste of sugar and fat, while also feeling a pang of guilt as the act of eating that cake conflicts with another goal - e.g. losing weight or eating ‘clean', whether the person physically needs to or not.

Similarly, eating foods that are not typically classified as ‘healthy’, may conflict wit