I think we can agree that for most of us, the best part of any work day is meal time. Be it a strong cup of coffee and a buttery croissant or veggie packed salad drenched in olive oil and sea salt, or a fresh out of the oven melting chocolate chip cookie, food tastes good. Any office party is instantly elevated when it includes a well stocked buffet line or dessert plate, right? Generally speaking meal times mean break times, a chance to sit back, relax, and shove of our faces. It’s simple recipe for success.Of course what if your job was to eat and write about what you’d just eating. What if your 9 to 5 meant a constantly rotating dining room table that could, at any given time, be piled high with pain au chocolats, fresh ravioli, assorted cheeses, pints of artisan ice cream, or a gazillion jelly beans. What if that special Monday project involved going to a restaurant and ordering one of everything on the lunch menu? And what if you were being held accountable for tasting each and every morsel and delivering an educated opinion about said item?Being a food blogger and food writer comes with its own job-related setbacks. It is a physical feat to stomach more than 6 meals a day (and even that is high for the majority). Being extremely full not only decreases productivity (read: nap time), dulls accurate tasting notes, it can even cause palpable physical pain. And then there’s the whole body image side effect of a job that, to some degree, mandates overeating. It’s hard to feel triumphant about a sweat-inducing workout when you know the rest of your day involves doughnut taste tests and grilled cheese sampling. Some days your stomach is, lets face it, bloated. Nothing feels less sexy than a buddha belly and accompanying gas. And the whole, “ok I overdid it today, I’ll be healthy tomorrow,” becomes tough when the next day requires waking up and food-sampling all over again. I’m not saying I hate what I do, but I’m saying it isn’t always a cake walk (pun-intended)!
Luckily, through the course of my time eating and writing about it I’ve adopted three golden rules that allow for ultimate food sampling enjoyment without the nasty side effects.
“Let’s get physical” I crown the most sage song lyrics in the history of cheesy pop music award to Olivia Newton-John. I start each and every work day with some form of physical activity, be it a brisk walk in the park, a calming yoga class, or a high energy spin session. An active body readies your metabolism and builds up hunger. Plus it never hurts to let go to a few of the calories you will no doubt want to allow back in in the form of a hot fudge sundae or blt sandwich late on in the day. Throughout the day, quick breaks are clutch. I like to jump out for a quick jaunt around the neighborhood or take a desk stretch and tone moment.
Of course I rely on water, water, and more water. Good cold H2O has always been my miracle drug. Honestly nothing keeps a body more regulated than steady hydration. Between bites I constantly drink water. It keeps my body from feeling overly hungry, aids with digestion, and cuts salt, spice, and sugar rather nicely. Plus good skin begins with water.
And my last rule is a rather trite little mantra. Quality not quantity. The majority of my meals during the working day are really just snacks. It only takes one good bite to formulate an opinion. When looking at an entire table full of ice cream, a one bite mandate is more than advisable, it’s imperative. I only go back for seconds if something is somewhat questionable, say I am trying to pinpoint a spice or am comparing two rather similar tasting items. The one bite rule allows for a robust daily sampling that never leaves me overly stuffed or queasy.
And my last tip; when you come across that perfect food specimen, enjoy it to the fullest. Take it all in with every single sense. After All, finding truly great food is the ultimate motivation behind the craziness that is food writing and blogging!