Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Food Personalities

Food really can be a nuisance for some: One can't live with it and one can't live without it either.

After many years of leaning, observing, trying, and experimenting I however think, that I am starting to get the bigger picture. I wrote an article once in which I suggested to become a graser - people who similar to cows nibble small portions throughout the day - and I am now realising that this is only one part of the puzzle.

I so far have indentified at least two significantly different personalities with different needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle: Grazers and accountants (this is in lack of an animal kingdom similarity, at least I didn't find one). No offence to the profession of accountancy, it is meant as a compliment even. While the grazers are eating when they get hungry, and have to stick with little portions because they are actually hungry all the time, the accountant personality is eating at set times.

These are the two extremes which are repeatedly suggested in literature, internet and TV, as the ones to strive for in order to maintian a healthy lifestyle. This can be utterly confusing as the accountant can't comprehend how grazing could ever work and vice versa. So keeping this information in mind the first question to answer for a food troubled mind is:

What type am I?

Or better: What would be the type of personality which I would be able to adopt?

As for me, I am definitely a grazer. Hence the previous article and hence me thinking that my ways would save the day for everbody else. So let us investigate some of the issues the respective groups are facing:

The accountant food personality
The accountant actually has it quite good. They are the 'take 1 hour of lunchbreak' personalities. Only the time and the portion size has to be determined, probably the one or other emergency strategy for travel or social events needs to be thought through, and life can proceed as usual. Since accountant types lead a rather organised life anyway, for them it is no problem to stick with the schedule and once the body gets used to it, things go like clockwork. Hunger will not occur anymore out of hours, and since they take a dedicated time to break they even will have some recovery time after food intake.

The grazer food personality
The grazer on the other hand is leading a different lifestyle. They either have jobs where they travel a lot, dynamically manage many tasks at the same time, and often they are maiden for everything hence attending to other people's needs. Thus there is no rhythm in the daily tasks around which meal times could be scheduled, and energy consumption varies within the day and between days. Given this lifestyle, hunger kicks in randomly, whenever the depots are empty. The task is to see for healthy food provisions readily availabe as there is no time for preparing a proper meal, or taking a proper break. Additionally a proper meal is too much for the grazer, as it has the capability to trigger sleepyness, a feature not appreciated.

Relationship hiccups
So now we want to imagine the once unhappy food junkie managed to find the matching personality and adopt it. All the rules are set, the adjustments are done, and success shows in a healthier and stronger body. That is when one has to address the matter of social environment: meaning friends, spouses, and family in general.

It will be a successful relationship when they are all of the same species, but they usually aren't. A grazer and an accountant in one househould wanting to stick with the social conventions of having mealtime together depicts a setup that is bound to fail. And here it shows why accountants have it that good: Social convention is accountant oriented. The hard work lies and always will lie with the grazers. They will have to determine certain slots during which they will join their counterpart - e.g. twice a week for dinner - and for the rest of it they will have to go separate ways food wise. If they fail to find an agreement the grazer inevitably will get fat by doing the grazing for hunger plus doing the set meals to please social convention.

Which brings me to another hiccup: I already mentioned that the grazer quite often is taking the role of 'maiden for everything' which more often than not includes the preparation of food provisions for the rest of the office working family. Which basically means that the person who will not take part in the meal is supposed to prepare it. And that is a real nuisance. The only solution I can see is to pre-cook, freeze, and show dad how the microwave works!

Bon Appetit!

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