I paused for some self-reflection. Am I part of society’s slow demise into distorted reality? While the answer to that question is really up to my readers, I decided I was not. I generally mix it up on Food with a View. There are some lavish restaurant meals, some are cheap and cheerful. There are some elaborate parties, there are some weeknight family meals. I share real insights into them all, although I do try to make sure the photos are all at least pretty, if not beautiful. It is not all avocado toast sculptures, but I try to make sure they are half-decent. No one likes ugly food photos.
I was, however, prompted to write this week’s post — a glimpse into a how a food blogger actually eats. How we balance bringing our readers perspective on all that is wild and wonderful in the food world, while still maintaining health and well-being in our own lives. Not to mention spare time, sanity, and focus on a host of other goals — other than food — that matter to us and our families.
First, some things that most food bloggers do (including this one) that are probably just like everyone else:
- We have “good days” and “bad days”. I generally try to stay away from labeling food as good or bad, but you get my point. Lately, I have been trying to focus on corralling all the not-so-healthy stuff into one day, also known in the diet world as the “cheat day”. For food bloggers, this also means we have days where we eat thoughtfully prepared, interesting meals, and days we just grab whatever we can find or order takeout.
- We do not love every food in the universe. We have our favorites and things we just don’t eat. Some food bloggers actually make their mark on eliminating entire categories of food (meat, gluten) or focusing on particular food groups (is dessert a food group?).
- We have families that are not necessarily on board with all of our food choices. We sometimes accommodate them, we sometimes don’t. That is probably a subject for a parenting blog.
- We do not have infinite budgets for food. We have to be mindful how often we eat out, and how we spend those dollars. We generally do not like to waste food or money. Most of us do not make money on this food blogging thing (some, like this one, even spend money to do it as a hobby), and are extra conscious of the cost of our side hustle.
There are, however, some things that might be a bit unique to the food experience of food bloggers (including this one). Sure, they may seem unusual, but they might improve the experience of the “normal” eater, and are worth considering.
- We naturally incorporate more meal planning in our regular lives. This is probably because we have to schedule a photo shoot or a restaurant visit, or because we are recipe testing. I generally know what I am going to eat for the entire week, if not two weeks out, including what restaurants I will be visiting.
- We tend to execute a recipe exactly as written the first (or even second or third) time we make it. This allows us to get a feel for how the creator meant for it to taste prior to making modifications. Then we feel free to get creative. If you are learning to cook, this may help you get comfortable with your own technique and sense of ingredients and ratios.
- Many of our meals are surprisingly repetitive. Because we try a lot of new foods and are generally creative in the kitchen or in restaurants, we might be a little boring in other areas of life. Food bloggers might eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day, for example. This has other benefits: less waste in your pantry and grocery shopping, because you use repetitive ingredients; less stress in getting healthy meals together for the family.
- We log what we eat, photographically at least. It is pretty much universally accepted that logging your food intake helps you eat consciously, which is good for any healthy eating goal. We happen to take a lot of pictures of our food, but we also learn how to use technology to make it look as nice as possible. As an aside, we learn that it helps no one, particularly the restaurant you are tagging, to post dimly lit, yellowed photos of their food. Help your local restaurant owner: check in, say a few nice words, and skip the photo. Or better yet, learn how to edit and post it later.
And finally, a few insights on how this particular food blogger eats.
- I’m a little organized. I am only slightly comfortable with being spur of the moment [all my real-life friends are laughing], but I definitely need to know I am eating well. I will go to a new city with no hotel room booked, but I will book a restaurant reservation. I will also call a restaurant to make a reservation five minutes before I arrive. Proper planning is important when it comes to food.
- Gary and I recently started a ketogenic diet (under medical supervision). That may sound really restrictive to some of you, but for us, it is opening up a whole new way of eating and cooking. We are kind of loving it. I really like the Ruled.Me site for information and recipes and Elana’s Pantry for extra creative inspiration. My doctor pointed me to Diet Doctor, and when I want international flare, I head to TwoSleevers.com.
- I keep it simpler than you might think. I’m really into decision minimalism these days, a term made somewhat famous by Steve Jobs and his black turtlenecks. So I am allowing myself the somewhat ironic behavior for a food blogger of eating pretty much the same thing for a lot of my meals, particularly breakfast and lunch on workdays. It’s surprisingly freeing.
- I gave myself permission to admit I don’t like sea urchin. There, I said it. So far it is the only food I have completely ruled out, but full transparency, I have only scratched the surface of the world’s offerings of food. I am quite sure I will find more things I don’t want to eat, and when I do, I admit it and move on.
- I am realistic when it comes to raising junior foodies. My kids are 8 and 6 years old. We focus on two guiding principles: most of what we eat should come from the farm or the garden [that is a quote from my inspiring doctor], and we should be willing to try new things. We guide them to treats that meet the first rule (i.e., ice cream wins over Doritos). I’ll call it a win if they eat the tiniest bite of a new vegetable. And I try not to beat myself up if all if this doesn’t work some days.
So there you have it, a little insight into how a food blogger (and her family) really eats. Some of it is probably just like you, some of it is most certainly a little different. It is all part of this food journey I am on, and all what I intend to share here on Food with a View. Thanks, as always, for being along for the ride.
Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for more of my culinary adventures. And check out my Pinterest boards for both Real Recipes I’m making for weeknight dinner and Inspiration Recipes to up my culinary game.
Want even more insights from real food bloggers? Join me and a group of savvy international meal planning ladies during the entire month of November as we discuss survival strategies for the holiday season. We’ll cover tips to keep you on budget, healthy, and most of all, sane, as we navigate this hectic time of year. Hope to see you in our Facebook group Smart Meals for Busy Cooks.