Coffee chat: Our food choices affect others in ways we might not even realise

Yesterday, while I was walking back home from the gym, I saw something that struck me so I decided to write about it hoping that it will make you think too.

As I was walking down the street I saw a blackbird flying past me and landing very quickly on the pavement. I turned around and looked at it feeling a little envious on how quickly and gracefully it can move around, while feeling a little sorry for myself for struggling to even walk properly after the leg day at the gym. But my jealousy didn’t last very long. The bird landed and very quickly grabbed two pieces of chips (crisps) from the floor. Immediately my feelings changed from jealousy to sadness. Beyond my love for animals, I was overwhelmed with feelings of unfairness. Whoever walked past that pavement earlier eating crisps, was not aware of their actions towards others. I don’t need to be a bird expert to know it is not in the nature of that bird to naturally eat crisps.

Don’t get me wrong. We all love a bit of a crisp, chocolate, ice-cream or whatever your poison is. We all have and should have our cheat snacks, meals and deserts every now and again. But let’s be optimistic and assume that the crisps were just a cheat snack, not an ordinary meal (I bet that was someone’s lunch actually) and that we are mindful and disciplined about what we are eating. Good job! That’s hard already. But are we mindful about how our eating affects others?

You might think that your eating habits might affect your children, friends, family, partner and you can be sure they do. What you eat, cook, shop or choose to order at the restaurant has an impact on your company.

After I managed to crawl back home, almost carrying my dead legs, I got ready and went out for a Saturday dinner with my friends. We all made different dinner choices, some healthy some not so much (one person actually ate 1250 kcal in one meal not counting sides or desserts) and quickly it was dessert time. Those Nutella filled donuts were so incredibly hard to say no and it almost took my entire willpower to calmly say “No I don’t want dessert” while secretly drooling over the menu.

I had to remind myself of the purpose, the goal, of why I am training so hard and why the desire for dessert is only but a feeling in that moment. Thankfully, my internal battle and refusal of dessert had an affect on my friend, that had the more than half their daily kcals in one sitting, and decided to say no as well. My third friend however, decided to have dessert. And as karma is a bitch, he had those Nutella filled donuts. Damn! We both sat there looking at the donuts slowly disappear while looking at his pleased face.

Was he aware how we felt? The internal struggle we went through? The feelings of jealously that crossed our mind? The death stares from my other friend? Or that he was responsible that after his choice of dessert my other friend gave in and ordered the same? As I was starting to slowly give in as well a cramp on my leg reminded me that I worked hard in the gym a few hours ago and I wasn’t going to let it go for donuts. I had a little clarity and realised that my body, spirit and respect to myself was more important to me. But we are not always that strong. If this had happened after a difficult day at work for example, I would have probably had those damn donuts.

As much as it is people’s choice to eat and treat their body in any way they want, it is their responsibility to be aware how their actions might affect others. Our choices to eat dessert or crisps can allure others to follow. Sometimes the impact is straight forward on your friend, family or partner sitting next to you but other times it might not be that obvious. Someone might be struggling with their weight, fitness or mood during that day or might even eat what you are having in order to be socially accepted. And other times, it might be people or creatures that do not have a choice or know any better like animals or kids.

Be mindful of the food choices you make not just for you but for others too. Make good choices for you and others and be the inspiration. We are what we eat after all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s