Whenever I’m at dinner with a group of people lately, I feel like everyone thinks the bread basket is a land mine that’ll blow up the moment they touch it. So now I feel terrible about reaching for it because my companions are always so utterly blasé about its existence. (Seriously, would it kill you to nibble a bit?) A lot of people have such unhealthy relationships with food these days: There’s no enjoyment, only guilt and silent, or not-so-silent, judgment.
Amid this calorie-restricting landscape, it’s heartening to see a voice of reason — coming from a member of the fashion set, no less. In a recent interview with food and lifestyle site The New Potato, Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue Alexandra Shulman extolled the virtues of eating and enjoying food, knocking her juice-cleansing colleagues down a couple of pegs. “It’s become a bit of an obsession of mine, people being faddy about their eating,” she said. “I don’t think it’s healthy and I don’t think it’s sociable. I think it’s relatively bad manners, all of the excuses people make for not eating.”
Yes! “Bad manners” definitely hits the nail on the head. Eating is a social act, so wouldn’t refusing to eat for no good reason be considered anti-social? And it’s not like you need to be a glutton, she added. “I think it’s good to be healthy. I don’t think you should sit there stuffing croissants into your mouth. I just wish people could take a bit more pleasure — real pleasure — in food, without eating and then self-flagellating about it immediately afterwards.” (For the record, I, personally, think it’s okay to sometimes sit there and stuff croissants into your mouth.)
Shulman, who has previously criticized the fashion industry for the proliferation of unhealthy-looking, rail-thin models, made one last, very important point: When adults put themselves on restricting diets, it sets a bad example for kids. “I’ve watched contemporaries of mine and the way they behave around food. They’ve got teenage girls; are they then surprised if their children have eating disorders?” That’s just tragic.
So how do we adopt a healthier relationship with food? It’s not rocket science: Enjoy what you love in moderation. TNP asked Shulman a question that we should all ask ourselves, “What does your ‘ideal food day’ look like?” Like a good British person, she included pudding in hers. This led me to visualize my own ideal food day: It would definitely include chocolate croissants, sushi, and Thin Mints. What about yours? #foodforthought