National Catholic Register


The Best Way to Eat this Christmas: Carelessly

BY Matthew Warner

| Posted 12/23/11 at 11:25 AM


Who cares if you’re still stuffed from Thanksgiving - time to stuff the pie hole again! Just remember to do so carelessly. Otherwise, it might not be good for your health.

After being trained to always “watch what we eat,” and when most all of us could stand to lose a few pounds, this may sound like careless advice. Well, it is. But it’s just what most of us need.

Being too care-ful about food is what’s made us all obese in the first place. It’s time to care-less. And then eat to our hearts content.

Chesterton had some great insights in regard to drinking that I think apply here perfectly. I took the liberty of modifying his quote to apply to stuffing our faces (read original quote here):

“In so far as [stuffing our faces] is really a sin it is not because [stuffing our faces] is wild, but because [stuffing our faces] is tame; not in so far as it is anarchy, but in so far as it is slavery.

Probably the worst way to [stuff your face] is to [stuff your face] medicinally. Certainly the safest way to [stuff your face] is to [stuff your face] carelessly; that is, without caring much for anything, and especially not caring for the [food]. In such things to be careless is to be sane: for neither [food addicts] nor [health nuts] can be careless about [food].” G. K. Chesterton

It’s not that we eat like anarchists. It’s that we eat like slaves. Most of us are enslaved (addicted) to unhealthy food. Health nuts are enslaved to the measured cup of food.

Both situations care too much for the food.

Here are some more rules from Chesterton for stuffing your face:

“The sound rule in the matter would appear to be like many other sound rules – a paradox. [Stuff your face] because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. Never [stuff your face] when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced [big-mac-eater] in the slum; but [stuff your face] when you would be happy without it, and you will be like the laughing peasant of Italy. Never [stuff your face] because you need it, for this is rational [stuffing of the face], and the way to death and hell. But [stuff your face] because you do not need it, for this is irrational [stuffing of the face], and the ancient health of the world.” – G. K. Chesterton

The virtue of temperance surely is needed. But such temperance is not practiced in the excess of license, nor is it promoted in the restriction of a measured cup. It lives in the fulfillment of the legitimate desires of a healthy, disciplined soul set free to live as it should. Set free to live [and stuff our faces] carelessly.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Celebrate with lots of food…but do so carelessly.