Introduction: Food and Nonfood
In the movie ““, Lawrence Fishburne’s character tells Keanu Reeves’ character, as the two dig into bowls of beige mush, that the foundation of their futuristic diet is “single-celled proteins [huh?] with a complete profile of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.” Sound familiar? Have you looked into your blender recently?
In this article I will be examining some metaphors of food and eating to see what they can tell us about the “nonfood” that bodybuilders eat. I define “nonfood” somewhat loosely, but generally I take it to mean artificially created and/or highly processed food substances such as protein powders, MRPs, amino acid pills, and anything else that can be purchased from a supplement company. Essentially, nonfood is any substance which has undergone a significant degree of human mediation, and which is consumed for fuel or specific physical goals (e.g. muscle mass gain) instead of gustatory pleasure. Of course the boundaries between food and nonfood are very blurry (as are the boundaries between “foods”, “supplements” and “drugs”). I recognize that this definition is largely for the purpose of argument.
This article is not meant as a critique of nonfood—since I too consume it as part of my training—but rather as an examination of its symbolic potential in relation to how we think about our bodies. [Read more…]