You Don't Cook — I'm Better Than You

May 21st, 2008 — 8:23am

I’m back now from the Yoga Journal Boston Conference where I co-taught a class with Bo Forbes on yoga, food, and body image. I was amazed that around 80 people showed up. Just goes to show how much people want information and healing on the topic (me too!)

At the end of the class, a woman asked how she can take care of herself around food when a) she doesn’t have time to cook and b) she’s not really that interested in food but knows she needs to eat well to be healthy. Bo said there are those that eat to live (like this woman) and those that live to eat (me). I said something like, go to Whole Foods or some other healthy store, buy prepared foods and enjoy them.

Then another woman in the audience raised her hand and said, “Isn’t it interesting that this generation doesn’t care about food? How dissociated and disconnected people become from cooking and how food is raised?”

I instantly felt tight, and saw other members of the audience visibly stiffen. I looked at Bo, who has many years of yoga teaching under her belt, with pleading eyes, like, “how do we answer this judgmental woman?” Bo took it on and said something like “Isn’t it interesting how much judgment we have about other people’s food choices. Just goes to show you how loaded this topic is for most people.”

Amen sister. The woman who asked this seemed to feel superior to the woman who wants to eat well but doesn’t have time or inclination to cook. I am always interested in observing how our egos shore us up in order to make us feel superior than others. And, I agree totally with Bo: just goes to show how much healing needs to be done in this arena.

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One Response to “You Don't Cook — I'm Better Than You”

  1. Akasha

    I wish I had been at that session! Dayna, I loved your answer to the woman who doesn’t have time to cook and isn’t that interested in food. Like her, I’m a non-cook, and so often I feel inferior, and like a failure as a yogini, as a mother, and as a woman. Although I’ve mad considerable progress in overcoming my “body image” issues, I’m at square one when it comes to my “kitchen image” issue.

    Food is so symbolic of love, and in the yoga community of following a spiritual path, that it’s almost inevitable that those of us who lack the time, energy, and inclination to cook will feel like failures. I’ve been relying on healthy prepared foods (along with fresh fruits and veggies that require no preparation), and feel terribly guilty for that. And I feel inferior because I’m a terrible cook, anyway. I don’t tell many people outside my family that I’m basically a non-cook because I already feel judged enough.

    I really, really admire creative cooks, and cooks who enjoy preparing wonderful meals for their friends and family, for whom preparing a meal is a pure act of love and service. But that’s not me. When I attempt to cook, I get frustrated and stressed, and half the time I botch the recipe and wind up going for takeout anyway.

    You and Bo are so right that there is so much work, and so much healing, to be done in this area. BTW, the woman who made that judgmental comment is conflating two issues: dissociation from how food is raised and cooking it. I’ve enjoyed having a small vegetable garden, so I’m happy to literally get my hands dirty raising food. Cooking it, however, is another matter. Thank you for bringing this into the open, the first step to the healing is talking about it openly and honestly.

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