Fave Reads Friday #15 – Devoured

Things I write about from time to time are the food that I eat and the books that I read and occasionally books about about food. Back in March and April when I was traveling a ton for NETA I was able to get some serious reading done. One book I completely destroyed in a single weekend was Devoured: How What We Eat Defines Who We Are by Sophie Egan.


The thing I loved about this book is that it didn’t preach about what was right or wrong in regards to eating. Not only is it HILARIOUS, but it asks you to consider food cultures and their impact on the way you eat. Egan even has a chapter in which she goes on a million different fad diets and fails at all of them. In case you’ve never heard the term “food culture” before, think about just these three words in regards to food:

  • Work
  • Holidays
  • Kids


Just yesterday we had a picnic for the College of Health and Human Services. It was a potluck event with most of the main dishes provided by the food service on campus. This college at our university includes nursing and exercise science….these should be some of the HEALTHIEST eaters on campus, right? The Dean opened the picnic by referencing our opportunity to eat fried chicken. I had brought black bean avocado gluten-free vegan brownies.

As an adjunct I don’t often get the opportunity to eat at work, but I do teach about the Eating Dimension of Wellness. As I graded final projects this week one student wrote that the meal plans on campus were a joke and that the food at one facility was poisonous. I’ve only ever eaten at that one place on campus, so I was surprised by the description.

I wonder how many of us find ourselves in conflict with food at the work place? For me the conflict is my home vs. work. For the most part the people I do work with are eating to serve their lives in a well and sustainable fashion. There are many vegetarians and vegans among my co-workers. This helps me promote the version of eating that I would like to live on a regular basis. It’s a place that’s actually supportive of my eating habits.


Luckily Mother’s Day is not the same as most other holidays….at least at my house. I won’t be bombarded with a pound of chocolate that I have to decide how I want to eat. There won’t be leftovers for weeks to come. There’s no pressure to impress others with culinary skills. And that’s not the only ways in which holidays derail the way you eat.

For some people holiday eating also takes us down because of emotional eating. Whether the eating is celebratory or to deal with family, eating at the holidays always seems to have its own set of rules. Everyone’s quick to make the rules about how much they will or won’t eat and even quicker to throw them out the window.


Why is it that the “kids’ menu” always contains things like hot dogs, macaroni, and chicken nuggets? Why when I go to kids’ parties there’s always juice boxes and two flavors of pizza? I don’t understand why we think that kids cannot eat food like the rest of us. Don’t even get me started on snacks for kids.

My sister is going through kid food issues with her baby. She’s 9 1/2 months old and day care is pushing them to feed her things that my sister is not okay with. This is basically work for my baby niece and again she faces food culture that wants to trap her!

I love the idea of exploring how different places and experiences influence the way you eat. It’s a great practice in mindfulness. Egan also looks at historical aspects of food culture in America including how we became obsessed with Italian food….oddly it’s Pizza Friday for us. I’m curious….

What food cultures are impacting the way you eat?

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