Growing up I learned to qualify food as either healthy or unhealthy, 'good' or 'bad.' When I developed an eating disorder in college, these categories dictated what was okay and not okay to eat. Pasta — and pretty much every other carbohydrate — was not okay. I didn’t think about these categories as a diet. They were just implicit and perpetual rules.
I studied abroad and lived with a host family in my junior year. We regularly ate pasta for dinner — I now associate elbow macaroni with French cuisine. My host parents and brothers were always normal and relaxed about it. I was not. But after a few months of eating pasta and not getting sick or dying, I began to think that maybe pasta wasn’t the problem.
We are constantly told that we need rules to eat by because we can’t trust our bodies, and what we eat should dictate how we feel about ourselves. It took time and effort to get these messages out of my head. Only a few months ago did I start making pasta by myself for dinner just because it’s what I felt like eating.
In retrospect — and with a bit of distance from my eating disorder — I think it’s pretty funny that pasta had so much power. That’s what this cartoon is about. If pasta or any other food stresses you out, I hope this helps.