Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Long meals make (for) short lives."

I'm not sure on the exact wording, but I know it included "long meals" and "short lives". I don't remember if it was "Long meals make short lives" or "Long meals make for short lives."

Both on google turn up cookbooks and stuff on hair.

No picture. Hmm, I could take my laptop and lift the offending napkin holder up to its computer, but the place where I saw it is closed today and they may have removed it.

Basically, they used to insert ads for stuff on campus, especially food, on the sides of a the napkin holders. But now it's all "healthy" BS - stop eating you fattie, get healthy.

The quote is attributed to nobody but "a proverb." No sources!

Anyways, even if I could find said "proverb," I'd still be mad at the fat-shaming and food policing.

But what gets me - and makes me write a blog post about it - is that it makes no damn sense at all, outside of guilting fat students, thin ones, "average ones", and makes us really think about our food.

I like food because it tastes good and fills me up, and sometimes when I eat within 30 minutes of a pain pill, it helps the medication work better. The food also keeps me alive, as it does for everyone. Certain foods don't, depending on allergies or whatever, but we need food for living. Even zombies eat!

Anyway, here are the problems with the "proverb" -

No country or time given, so I assume it was a diet guru who said it.

When  proverbs were written or said, most people did not have access to excess food. It's only recently in human history that all classes can eat to gluttony. (While the relatively rich people of the world starve themselves.) And it's not even true across the world, or the country, or my state, my county, my city - I'm sorry, people have "food insecurity."

And mealtimes have long been considered important for socialization - and not just with the nuclear family. It's a way to schmooze, get free food (as a guest), get to know people, make business/political connections (even back in Roman/Greek times). Mealtimes are important.

"Long" meals are important as well. When my family (after the divorce, when he was still there it was compulsory. If he showed up, we'd all scramble to make it look like we never left the table.) eats at the table, be it at home or at a restaurant, we take longer than when mom makes a pot of delicious mac and cheese and we come and go as we please. We talk about things. That is considered a good thing, especially as your children get older. It's a way to connect and be a family. Of course, it's not the only way, but it's a good routine way, and I think calling it bad is just wrong. And then there's dinner with friends or extended family, the plates are empty, but who cares, we're busy yakking.

Another thing that makes a meal "long" is taking your time, which is often encouraged for a number of reasons, but I'm sure it's been encouraged as a way to lose weight, because everything you do either makes you gain weight and become a bad person or makes you lose weight and become a good one.

The so-called proverb makes no damn sense if you think about it, which I believe we're supposed to do. FAIL

ETA - do check out The Fat Nutritionist website.

ETA2 - I saw it again, and I was totally wrong. "To lengthen your life, shorten your meals." Google turned up nothing, with "to lengthen your life" - except 7 foods to lengthen your life.

ETA3 - looking it up with the quotation marks turned it up, but no source besides "proverb." The first result - not linking to such a hate-filled site, is called
"Weight loss with your food addiction" And it's under "diet" quotes and proverbs, but no damn source, country, or time.

So I was wrong about the quote, they did find it somewhere, but the analysis still stands. It's bullshit.


Anonymous said...

This is really interesting, and I'd love to find out what the actual source of that saying is. I'm betting you're right that it could come from a diet guru of some sort.

I also had the same thoughts you did -- long meals are actually pretty healthy, in that they give you a chance to relax, to engage with your food properly, and to socialize with people. Long meals are awesome.

Thanks for the hat-tip :)

Kaitlyn said...

Thanks for noticing and replying!

If they had other such "proverbs," I'd do more posts taking them down, but lazy. You know. And as a college student, when I'm not lazy, I have class and homework.

I really love your site. My weight has been zooming up for a number of reasons - medication (anti-depressants cause weight gain, but as a "modern" woman, I do worry about my weight sometimes. Vicious cycle for those who aren't comfortable with their body) and inactivity due to pain. Hard to go workout for an hour when it hurts to walk 5 feet. :(

Anyways, I love your site (and others about the same topic) because no matter how little I care, that number on the scale still says "You're a bad person." And seeing other people say no, you're not is helpful. You have no idea. Or you probably do.

And thanks again for commenting. You are an important person which makes it even cooler, but any comment that isn't spam makes me feel special.