Food for Thought: My Apple Dilemma

Summer is kind of a traumatic time for me. Especially by the end of August, I’m basically losing it. Why is this you ask? What is traumatic about sun and warmth and all of the plump, juicy cherries (and other fresh produce) you could possible ask for? Well with all of these things comes a trade-off. There’s no apples. And apples are my life. I eat at least one a day, but usually two or three. When I don’t have one, I go through withdrawal. It may not be physiological, although sometimes I can feel the cold sweats starting to come on. But it is definitely psychological. I am so habituated to eating apples all day everyday that when I don’t, I just feel out of sorts. No joke, it makes me grumpy. See, anything can be addictive (even weed my friends, even weed – and I’m not saying that from experience).
What’s the cure for my problem? Sadly I end up buying apples all the way from New Zealand. It goes against everything I believe in. New Zealand is about as far from local and sustainable as you can possibly get (unless of course you live in New Zealand, in which case Canada is as far from local and sustainable as you can possibly get). They are also quite unsatisfactory in taste by the time they make it all the way to me, on the other side of the world. Go figure.
But my need for apples seems to trump all else. If it was oranges, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash. Apples though, they are my kryptonite. So I guess I will have to suck it up, or resort to eating crunchy nectarines or something instead. Thank goodness September is almost here…harvest time!!! I can taste those BC Ambrosias already. In the meantime, I will have to figure out how to deal with this apple dilemma.

Food for Thought: What would Freud think of the food blogging craze?

If there’s one psychologist that everyone knows, it’s Sigmund Freud. Yep, I’m going to talk about that guy. The crackpot that related everything back to sex. Which isn’t true by the way. Sure he had some crazy ideas, but when you look more closely, many of them seem like pretty realistic explanations of human behaviour. I’m not sure I would recommend cocaine as an anti-depressant (yes, he advocated for that) but basic ideas like repressing negative thoughts because they are too painful to deal with, haven’t we all done that at one point or another? The problem is, there is no scientific evidence to prove any of his theories, which is why many psychologists scoff at just the mention of his name.

I always find it amusing to consider would dead people would think of the state of today’s world. I’m sure Binet wouldn’t be too impressed if he learned that his IQ test has at times been abused in order to pick out the weak links in society. Or what would Alexander Graham Bell think of our ability to take pictures on our phones? Get where I am going with this?

What would Freud think of the food blogging craze that we find ourselves in? How would he break it all down using his psychoanalytic theory? Although he might not be here to voice his own opinions, let’s take a look at what his theories may suggest.

1. We are obsessed with food blogging because of a fixation during the oral psychosexual stage of development. From birth to about 21 months of age, Freud believed that infants were focused on their mouthes and breast feeding. Any issues during this stage of development were thought to result in later problems such as smoking, eating and other activities involving oral stimulation. So in a nutshell, we blog about food because we are obsessed with eating it, due to traumatic breast-feeding early in our lives. Sounds pretty reasonable, no?

2. Food blogging is a way to suppress our unconscious gluttonous urges. Freud believed in 3 levels of consciousness; the Id, the Ego and the Superego. The Id is striving to fulfill all of these urges (you don’t even know you have) while the Superego represents your morals and values. The Ego is there to act as a moderator between the two. So say we all have this unconscious urge to shove our faces full of food (the Id). But our Superego knows that this just isn’t right. The Ego comes up with a compromise, and there you have it, food blogging. A way to make and eat as much food as you want yet you can validate it because you are making money, teaching people to cook, or whatever other excuse you want to come up with. But starting a blog shouldn’t just be based on the fact you could make money. You should see that as an opportunity and if it does come your way, you’re more than welcome to take it. But if you want to start blogging, this should be because of your passion and your interests. Here’s a way to get started. After you’ve got the concept and theme of your blog sorted, you will need to set up your blog with a web host provider through companies like Hostiserver. Bearing in mind, your ideas can change along the way in terms of your content. But the initial stages are always important. If you want your blog to revolve around food, why not? We all can be greedy once in a while.

Furthermore, as an aspiring PhD student, I’ve found that blogging has more parallels with academic writing than I ever anticipated? Referencing and checking the factual content of your words is so important. Quotes, data and images can all break up your writing and help to contextualise your thoughts. To summarise, if you’re thinking of giving blogging a go, whether you’re writing about food, psychology or even your own business it can be helpful to first learn how to cite a website.

Brilliant stuff, is it not? Or are you seeing why many people think Freud was a little off his rocker? What I really want to know, is what he would think of the fact that we are even still talking about him. Apparently he was a tad egotistical so I don’t think he would mind. All I can say is I wouldn’t complain if people were talking about me 100 years from now, good or bad!

Food for Thought: Honey Boo Boo and the Reality TV World

Here we go, the inaugural “Food for Thought” post. For those of you who didn’t get the memo, I have decided to try out a new concept, analyzing food-related themes from a psychological perspective. I guess we will see where it goes, for right now I am just going to type and see what I come up with!

***DISCLAIMER – I am NOT in any way, shape or form a registered psychologist or doctor of any kind. I am a third year undergraduate student who just so happens to be majoring in psychology and also has a passion for food. The ideas shared here are my own opinions, which I will try to relate back to some of the concepts I have learned in my courses. But I am not an expert and these views should not be seen as a medical diagnosis. They are simply my personal psychoanalysis of different food-related topics.

I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when I do, it tends to fall under 2 categories; 1. Anything on Food Network and 2. Reality Television (specifically most TLC shows). I was not surprised in the slightest to see the source here show the Food Network to be the 10th most-watched cable network in the entire country! However, if there is one series that takes the proverbial cake, it is most definitely Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I know, I know, I’ve lost a lot of you already. Whether you can’t stand (or understand) their redneck drawl or you view the show as exploitation, I completely understand why people can’t or won’t watch it. But at the same time, I can totally relate to those that are hooked. It’s the train wreck that you can’t peel your eyes off of. You don’t know what is going to come out of their mouths….or any of their other orifices for that matter – cue the fart joke.

Ok so that is all fine and dandy, but how does it relate to food? Part of me watches the show just so I can analyze what they eat. Let’s just say there aren’t too many fruits and vegetables in the picture. There is a lot of canned beans, boxed macaroni and cheese and of course, junk food. And let me make it very clear here, I am not judging their diet. Sadly, I know this is how many North Americans eat. If we look at the levels of poverty in the United States and Canada, it is probably the norm rather than the exception. And saying that many people can’t afford to eat healthy food on a budget is a cop-out, because it is definitely possible. But that is a whole different can of worms.

What I really want to delve into is the family’s weight loss journey/attempts/whatever best describes the reoccurring weight loss theme on the show.

As a side note, this is especially of interest to me and it is that area in which I see my career going. Even though I’m taking psychology, I want a job related to food. Ultimately, I want to be able to help people lose weight by changing the way they see food. Diet and exercise are great, but they are not going to work if you aren’t in the right headspace to put in the effort and drop the pounds….and keep them off.

Having watched more episodes of Honey Boo Boo than I should probably admit to, this is exactly what I have seen. Their entire family mentality is NOT conducive to losing weight. When you go around calling each other “fat” on a regular basis and make jokes about how much everyone eats, it’s not promoting health. If there is one theme they teach you in developmental psychology, it’s that children model their behaviour after the adults in their life (especially those closest to them, their parents). Not rocket science, I know, but it’s something to consider. For example, during one episode it was Pumpkin’s birthday and they took her to eat “Pigzilla”, a 5 lb. sandwich eating challenge. And then a few episodes later you hear that they are all trying to lose weight to fit into their dresses for the commitment ceremony. I can’t be the only one who sees how contradictory this is!

If they actually want to lose some weight, they are going to have to commit to it. Maybe take example from Anna and eat an apple every once in awhile. It’s not going to kill you!
More than that, I think they need an eye-opener about what will happen if they continue to eat the way they do. But the problem is, from what I can see, they don’t care. They are proud to be overweight. One of the most recent episodes was titled “Chubby Chaser”. Which is great and all, in fact I would say more people need to be comfortable in their skin. But there’s a difference between being comfortable in your skin and denying that you are eating yourself to death. There has got to be a balance somewhere in between being skinny and poor Alana having a heart by the time she is 20 years old.
I think the moral of the story here is the importance of leading by example. Sorry June but your kids are not going to be open to trying healthier foods if they watch you vomit your guts out after eating one spoonful of cabbage soup. That’s probably the biggest problem I see with the obesity epidemic our society faces. It’s a vicious cycle where parents pass their habits on to their children, who grow up and pass the same awful habits onto their children.
Psychologically, all of this behaviour is learned. Being conditioned to run when they merely hear the word “vegetable” isn’t going to get the Honey Boo Boo clan very far.