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The food choice process as experienced by men who live alone Sellaeg, Kari 2003

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THE FOOD CHOICE PROCESS AS EXPERIENCED BY MEN WHO LIVE ALONE by KARI SELLAEG v  \  B.Sc. The University of Oslo, 1999 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Human Nutrition)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December, 2003 © Kari Sellaeg, 2003  Library Authorization  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Name of Author (please print)  Title of Thesis:  ~Tv\6 ,r/Vf  degree:  foop H E N  Date (dd/mm/yyyy)  CV\C.,CA UMo  v-^OfE£>  i AVC  M. Sc .  Department of M\jy\Ati ^vTTtvTK^ The University of British Columbia Vancouver, B C Canada  AS  eA^ee>€^l£D  AUjfvJC  Year:  2o63  Abstract Existing knowledge regarding food-related experiences of people who live alone is limited, as is knowledge about the food-related experiences of men. The purpose of this study was therefore to explore the food choice process of younger men who live alone. Twelve men of Euro-Canadian descent, age 27 -47, each completed a one week food diary and participated in a semi-structured interview, which was tape recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed using qualitative methods and interpretations of findings were guided by an existing theoretical framework. Three inter-related types of food-related decisions emerged as salient for the participants' food habits: a) deciding whether to eat in or out, b) choosing what to eat when eating in, and c) choosing what/where to eat when eating out. Participants categorized choice outcomes for each decision as accommodating/compromising the values of taste, convenience, nutrition, monetary considerations and social values, however the meaning and emphasis placed on each value, and the process of prioritizing between values, differed across types of decisions. The participants' ideals for food habits encompassed: a) the food itself, with ideals of eating fruit and vegetables, consuming meat in moderation, avoiding fast/junk foods, reducing fat intake, avoiding toxins and emphasizing 'natural' foods; b) eating and the food context, with ideals of eating regularly, eating in and commensality; and c) food identity, with ideals of being organized and being conscious. Participants associated living alone with lack of influence on food choices and reduced motivation and time to prepare food at home. The value of convenience was therefore often emphasized, which caused many participants to eat out frequently.  ii  Participants tended to reject traditional hegemonic masculinity by actively embracing the traditionally feminized ideal of being concerned about food habits and viewed engaging in food-related activities as part of being a man. Nutrition researchers and practitioners should be aware that food choice might include several types of decisions. Assessing what these are and the value negotiation process for each might provide more comprehensive understandings of food choice. More effective nutrition education might be provided by assessing and considering how living alone and masculinity influences food habits.  iii  Table of Contents: Abstract  ii  Table of Contents  iv  List of Tables  vii  List of Figures  vii  Chapter 1: Introduction  1  Chapter 2: Literature Review 2.1 The Food Choice Process 2.2 Food Habits of People Who Live Alone 2.2.1 Household Types and the Influence on Food Habits... 2.2.2 One-person Households 2.2.3 Food Habits in One-person Households 2.3 Men's Food-related Experiences 2.3.1 Gender and the Influence on Food Habits 2.3.2 Men's Food Habits 2.4 Food Habits of Men Who Live Alone 2.5 Summary of Literature Review  5 5 10 10 15 16 19 19 23 25 26  Chapter 3: Methodology 3.1 Research Approach 3.2 Inclusion Criteria and Ongoing Sampling Decisions 3.3 Recruitment 3.4 Exclusion 3.5 Sample Size 3.6 Data Collection 3.6.1 The Initial Meeting 3.6.2 The Food Diary 3.6.3 Interviews 3.7 Analysis 3.7.1 Food Diaries 3.7.2 Interview Transcripts 3.8 Enhancing Rigor 3.9 Situating the Researcher  27 27 29 31 32 32 33 33 33 35 37 37 37 40 42  Chapter 4: Results 4.1 The Participants 4.2 Life Course 4.2.1 Childhood 4.2.2 Previous Adult Living Arrangements 4.2.3 Living Alone  44 44 47 47 51 53  iv  4.2.4 Future Expectations 4.2.3 Life Course Stages and Current Food Habits 4.3 Factors Influencing Food Choice 4.3.1 Ideals 4.3.1.1 Food 4.3.1.2 Eating and the food context 4.3.1.3 Food identity 4.3.1.4 Summary - Ideals  •  54 55 55 56 57 62 64 66  4.3.2 Personal Factors  66  4.3.2.1 Preferences 4.3.2.2 Personality 4.3.2.3 Gender 4.3.2.4 Physiological factors and health beliefs  4.3.3 Resources  67 69 71 73  76  4.3.3.1 Time 4.3.3.2 Money 4.3.3.3 Space 4.3.3.4 Food preparation skills  :  4.3.4 The Social Context of Living Alone  76 ..-77 78 78  79  4.3.4.1 No influence on food-related decision-making 4.3.4.2 No one to share food-related activities with  81 82  4.3.5 The Food Context of Vancouver 4.3.6 Summary of Factors Influencing Food Choice 4.4 The Food Choice Process for Specific Food-related Decisions 4.4.1 The Food Context  84 85 85 86  4.4.1.1 Values associated with choosing the food context  4.4.2 Eating In  88  98  4.4.2.1 The participants' eating in habits 4.4.2.3 Values associated with deciding what to prepare and eat when eating in  4.4.3 Eating Out  98 101  107  4.4.3.1 The participants' eating out habits 107 4.4.3.2 Values associated with choosing where and what to eat when eating out 112  4.4.4 Summary - The Food Choice Process for Specific Food-related Decisions Chapter 5: Discussion 5.1 The Food Choice Process 5.2 Food Habit Ideals - Perceptions of Healthy Eating 5.3 Food Habits of People who Live Alone 5.3.1 No One to Influence Food-related Decisions 5.3.2 No One With Whom to Share Food-related Activities 5.3.2.1 Money 5.3.2.2 Time 5.3.2.3 Commensality  V  121 123 123 128 133 135 136 136 137 139  5.4 Men's Food-Related Experiences 1.141 5.4.1 Constructing Masculinity Through Attitudes and Beliefs About the Importance and Meaning of Healthy Eating 142 5.4.2 Constructing Masculinity Through Attitudes Concerning Men's Involvement in Food-related Activities 149 5.5 Limitations 151 Chapter 6: Conclusion and Implications 6.1 Directions for Future Research 6.2 Implications for Practice  153 155 156  References  158  Appendices Appendix A: Recruitment notice Appendix B: Screening form Appendix C: Summary of Participants who were Excluded/Dropped Out Appendix D: Consent Form Appendix E: Protocol for Food Diary, Including Instructions and Examples Appendix F: Generic Interview Guide Appendix G: Interview Guide Used in the Last Interview Appendix H: Code List Appendix I: The Participants' Choice of Food Context for the Main Meal Types as Recorded in Their Food Diaries Appendix J: The Participants' Dinners at Home as Recorded in Their Food Diaries Appendix K: The Participants' Dinners Out as Recorded in Their Food Diaries  165 165 166  VI  167 168 .....170 176 180 189 192 193 195  List of Tables Table 4.1: Participant Profile  45  Table 4.2: Household Structure and Participants' Personal Involvement in Food-related Activities in Their Childhood Home 48 Table 4.3: Choice of Food Context as Recorded in the Participants' Food Diaries  88  Table 4.4: The Participants' Breakfast Habits on Workdays  100  Table 4.5: The Participants' Habits of Bringing Lunch to Work  101  Table 4.6: The Participants' Habits of Going Out for Lunch on Work Days  110  vii  List of Figures Figure 2.1: The Three Areas That Intersect in This Study's Purpose  5  Figure 2.2: A Conceptual Model of the Components in the Food Choice Process  9  Figure 2.3: Lifestyle Model of Dietary Behaviour  12  Figure 4.1: Overview of the Specific Types of Food-related Decisions that Emerged as Most Salient for the Participants 87  viii  Chapter 1: Introduction  Food choice is a multi determinant, context dependent process (Falk, Bisogni & Sobal, 1996) which is influenced and shaped by a variety of intra- and interpersonal factors, as well as factors external to the individual (Furst, Connors, Bisogni, Sobal & Falk, 1996). This thesis focuses on the food choice process as experienced by twelve younger men, living alone in Vancouver. Several concerns pointed me towards this specific area of research. As a student in human nutrition, my main interest has always been related to the underlying reasons for food behaviour, or why people eat the way that they do. This question has been approached by researchers from a wide variety of disciplines, including nutrition (Chapman & Beagan, 2003; Falk, Sobal, Bisogni, Connors & Devine, 2001; Glanz, Basil, Maibach, Goldberg & Snyder, 1998), psychology (Bell, Stewart, Radford & Cairney, 1981; Lindeman & Stark, 1999; Zylan, 1996), sociology and anthropology (Charles & Kerr, 1988; Germov & Williams, 1996). Eating and other food-related activities take up a large portion of our daily lives and therefore are an important part of who we are. Food habits and food-related decision-making function to construct our sociocultural identity and interpersonal relationships, which is why many researchers in fields such as psychology, sociology and anthropology have studied this aspect of human behaviour (Charles & Kerr, 1988; Jensen & Holm, 1998; Lindeman & Sirelius, 2001). For the field of nutrition, the importance of understanding why people eat the way that they do is obvious. In contexts where choice is available, food choice is the underlying process that determines which foods and nutrients enter the human body, and understanding how  l  people make their food-related decisions is therefore essential for nutrition educators and practitioners who are aiming to promote healthy eating. In an early review of research conducted on food habits, I became aware of two factors that appeared to be particularly important in shaping and influencing individual food habits: namely household type and gender. Household structure and composition (the household members' age, gender, relationship and so on) have a core function in lifestyle and it has therefore been suggested that individuals who live in similar household types might share some similarities in food-related experiences which differ in general from that of other household types (Pelto, 1981). Gender differences in food intake and behaviour have been widely documented (Jensen & Holm, 1999; Rozin, Fischler, Imada, Sarubin & Wrezesniewski, 1999), and food habits are recognized as an important area of human behaviour for constructing male and female identities (Jensen & Holm, 1999). The early review of the literature also made me aware of the disproportionate attention that has been given to food habits in certain household types. Previous research has mainly focused on food habits in families, particularly heterosexual, nuclear families with young children (Charles & Kerr, 1988; DeVault, 1991). To broaden our understanding of people's food-related experiences, attention should also be given to other household types. My interest in the food habits of people who live alone primarily emerged from the realization that even though the proportion of Canadians who live alone has increased over the last decades (Statistics Canada, 1982, 2002), there is virtually no information available regarding their food-related experiences. Furthermore, the research conducted in multi-person households clearly indicates that the presence of  2  other household members is crucial in influencing the individual's personal food habits. One-person households are therefore likely to create a unique setting for food-related decision-making and people who live alone might therefore experience food habits that differ in general from food habits of people in multi-person households. This assumption was further supported by various consumer statistics, which indicate that people who live alone spend more money on food and a larger proportion of their weekly food budget on eating out (Statistics Canada, 2003). Studies conducted in other industrialized countries also suggest that people who live alone are more likely to comply to dietary recommendations (Gerrior, Guthrie, Fox, Lutz, Keane & Basiotis, 1995; Groth, Fagt & Broendsted, 2001; Turrell, 1998). The existing information from the various disciplines studying food habits also seems to give a disproportional attention to women's food-related experiences (Jensen & Holm, 1999). Studies focusing on men's food habits and food-related decision-making are rare, and when included they are often reported second hand by women (Roos, Prattala & Koski, 2001). I therefore decided to address this inequity by focusing on men's food-related experiences. My original purpose when I started this project was to explore the food-related work and decision-making of younger men who live alone and I posed the following broad research questions: What food-related work do they do? How do they make their food-related decisions? Given this purpose, and the lack of existing knowledge in these areas, a qualitative research design was the most appropriate approach because the qualitative research process is inductive and uses an open, flexible and evolving design  3  (Rubin & Rubin, 1995). This makes it particularly suitable for exploring a complex topic, such as food habits, based on the participants' own experiences in their natural setting. Throughout the process of data analysis I became increasingly aware of the core role that the food-related decision-making had in the participants' overall food habits and I wanted to further conceptualize their descriptions of the food choice process. I therefore started to compare my own findings with an existing conceptual framework for food choice. Furst et al. (1996) have developed a conceptual framework for food choice which suggests that the individual's life course generates a set of influences which shapes his or her personal system for making food-related decisions. Individuals' personal systems consist of their conscious value negotiations and the strategies they apply to facilitate this value negotiation. I was inspired by this model because it offers a holistic perspective of the complex nature of food choice, by including the individual's internal and external factors, as well as recognizing how the current food choice process is also influenced by past experiences throughout their life course. This thesis will therefore present the food choice process as experienced by younger men who live alone in Vancouver. A brief review of the literature that locates this purpose will first be presented, followed by a description of the methodology applied. The Results chapter is outlined according to the constructs of Furst et al.'s model for food choice, while the themes within each section have been developed inductively from the data. In Chapter 5 I discuss the results as they relate to the three areas: The food choice process, food habits of people who live alone and men's food-related experiences, before concluding and suggesting certain implications that this study might have for future research and practice.  4  Chapter 2: Literature Review  The purpose of this research was to explore the food choice process as experienced by younger men who live alone. An extensive literature search failed to produce any studies which have focused on the food habits of younger men who live alone. This chapter will therefore review the information that was available concerning the three main areas that intersect in this study's purpose, namely the food choice process in general, food habits of people who live alone and men's food-related experiences (see Figure 2.1).  Figure 2.1: The Three Areas That Intersect in This Study's Purpose.  2.1 The Food Choice Process As part of eating and engaging in other food-related activities, such as shopping, eating out and food preparation, a person makes a variety of decisions. These foodrelated decisions, which in the context of this thesis are referred to simply as food choice are therefore a central part of the individual's routinized and more specific food behaviours, or food habits.  5  Food choice has been described as a multi-determinant, context dependent process (Falk et al., 1996), which has implications for several areas of our lives. At the physiological level, food habits determine intake of energy and nutrients and the food choice process is therefore important for nutrition and health (Steptoe, Pollard & Wardle, 1995). Given that we eat and engage in other food-related activities every day, food habits also become an important part of who we are. What and how we choose to eat and engage in other food-related activities therefore functions as a means of constructing and maintaining our sociocultural identity (Fischler, 1988; Lindeman & Sirelius, 2001; Lindeman & Stark, 1999; Jensen & Holm, 1998). In addition, food habits make up a substantial part of our overall consumption. Consumer demands are important for influencing and shaping the broader food industry and the food choice process therefore has economic, political and environmental implications. One conceptualization of the many areas which food habits encompass is offered by Fischler, who describes the human relationship with food as combining at least two dimensions: One dimension runs from the biological (the nutritional function) to the cultural (the symbolic function) while the other moves from the individual (the psychological) to the collective (the social) (Fischler, 1988). The many aspects of human life that food choice encompass have made this process a topic of interest for researchersfroma wide variety of disciplines, including nutrition (Chapman & Beagan, 2003; Falk et al., 2001; Glanz et al., 1998), psychology (Bell et al., 1981; Lindeman & Stark, 1999; Zylan, 1996), sociology and anthropology (Charles & Kerr, 1988; Germov & Williams, 1996). The factors that have been examined in relation to food habits include demographics (Roos, Lahelma, Virtanen, Prattala &  6  Pietinten, 1998; Turrell, 1998) as well as intra- and interpersonal aspects (Charles & Kerr, 1988; Chapman & Beagan, 2003; Furst, Connor, Sobal, Bisogni & Falk, 1998). For example, dietary surveys often compare the dietary intake between people of different age, gender and socioeconomic class (Roos et al., 1998; Turrell, 1998). On the personal level, the meaning people place on food and eating has been given attention by various researchers, both in terms of the reciprocal way in which food and eating serve to construct personal identity (Bisogni, Connors, Devine & Sobal, 2002; Devine, Sobal, Bisogni & Connors, 1999; Fischler, 1988; Lindeman & Sirelius, 2001) as well as social institutions such as the family (Charles & Kerr, 1988). Understanding these aspects of food behaviour also has specific implications for nutrition and health. For example, many studies have shown that people have quite different conceptions of the meaning of •healthy eating' (Chapman & Beagan, 2003; Falk et al., 2001), which in turn might impact the way they receive and comply to dietary recommendations. Although the vantage points are different, researchers from diverse disciplines seem to agree that food habits are influenced and shaped by multiple intra- and interpersonal factors, as well as the individual's broader context. Furst et al. (1996) offers a holistic perspective in their conceptual model of the food choice process, by including the individual's intra- and interpersonal factors and external influences, as well as recognizing how the individual's current food choice process is also influenced by past experiences throughout their life course (Furst et al., 1996). The model was developed based on information gathered from qualitative interviews with 29 peoplefromupstate New York, where the participants were asked in-depth questions about their food-related  7  decision-making. Through qualitative analysis, Furst et al. developed the conceptual framework for food choice as presented in Figure 2.2. The model consists of three major components: Life Course, Influential Components and Personal System. An individual's life course includes all the personal roles and the social, cultural and physical environments which a person has been, is, and anticipates being, exposed to, which include both individual stages as well as cohort effects associated with historical context. The life course generates a set of influential components, including ideals - the beliefs and standards by which people evaluate food choice; personal factors - physiological and psychological traits which shape the boundaries of food choice that a person is willing to make; resources - tangible and intangible factors perceived as available or unavailable, which impact the decisions an individual is able to make; social framework -interpersonal relationships that influence food-related decision-making; and food context - physical/cultural surroundings of the food choice setting. Even though a central theme has been identified for each influence, the components are also somewhat overlapping, and they mutually shape each other by interacting, reinforcing and competing. The components of influence inform and shape the individual's personal system for food choice. By recurrently experiencing making food-related decisions throughout the life course the individual develops a set of values which they apply in the decision-making process. The most salient values identified by Furst et al. were sensory perceptions, monetary considerations, convenience, health and nutrition, managing relationships and quality. Over time the individual also develops certain strategies, which serve to simplify the negotiation of values (Furst et al, 1996). In their conceptual framework, Furst et al. appear to refer to a variety of food-  8  Life course  Choice  Figure 2.2: A Conceptual Model of the Components in the Food Choice Process. From Furst et al., 1996, p. 251.  9  related decisions as "food choice" (Furst et al, 1996). What a person eats is not only determined by the actual food choice made in the given situation, but also on the previous food-related decisions that led him or her to be in that specific choice context. Such foodrelated decisions include deciding whether to prepare food at home or go out for a meal, which restaurants to go to, where to buy groceries etc. The diversity in types of foodrelated decisions brought up in Furst's study might relate to the relatively diverse sample of people who were interviewed. Even though most participants were Caucasian and middle class, they varied with respect to other characteristics, such as age, gender and household composition (Furst et al, 1996). Furst's sample is therefore likely to represent a broad diversity of lifestyles, which means that the food habits, as well as the types of food-related decision-making that the participants regularly engaged in, varied across the sample (Pelto, 1981). While the data collected offer the ideal material for the development of the broader, conceptual framework (Furst et al., 1996), additional research utilizing more homogeneous samples with respect to certain characteristics that are essential in shaping the participants' lifestyle is needed in order to understand how this model applies for each type of food-related decision.  2.2 Food Habits of People Who Live Alone 2.2.1  Household Types and the Influence on Food Habits One factor that appears to be a particularly important influence on the individual's  food habits is the household he or she lives in. Pelto recognizes household structure and composition as the core factor of lifestyle, because it is here that all other factors, such as occupation, education, ethnicity, religion, knowledge and physiological characteristics  10  "are integrated and systematized as individuals and families maintain strategies of coping and decision-making in response to their needs and aspirations" (Pelto, 1981, p.4). The household structure and composition thereby become the core focus within which food habits are constructed (see Figure 2.3). Since no two households will experience the exact same values for all lifestyle factors, there will not be two households that share the exact same lifestyle. However, there is reason to believe that households with similar lifestyle factors also will experience similarity in lifestyle and food habits (Pelto, 1981). The core function that household structure and composition has in lifestyle therefore suggests that individuals who live in similar settings, with respect to number of persons present in their household, as well as the composition (the household members' age, gender, relationship, socioeconomic status, ethnicity and so on), might share some similarities in food-related experiences, which differ in general from that of other household types. The notion that individuals in households with different structure and composition experience general differences in food habits has been supported by studies conducted in various industrialized countries. In a study on supermarket customers in Virginia, people living in larger households were found to have a lower consumption of fruit and vegetables, compared to those who lived in smaller households (Rankin, Winett, Anderson, Bickley, Moore, Leahy, Harris & Gerkin, 1998). A multivariate regression analysis based on data from the 1995 Danish National Dietary Survey indicated a similar trend, in that women who were living in families with children had the lowest intake of fruit and vegetables compared to women who were living either alone or in couples (Groth et al., 2001). The same significant association between household composition  11  Food Production and Distribution System  Food Intake Behavior  Figure 2.3: Lifestyle Model of Dietary Behaviour. From Pelto, 1981, p.  12  and fruit and vegetable intake was, however, not apparent for men. In a study on determinants of healthy food choice in a population-based sample in Australia, people who lived in less complex household structures were found to be more likely to comply to dietary recommendations (Turrell, 1998). Researchers approaching food habits from perspectives other than the assessment of food and nutrient intake have also acknowledged the importance of household structure and composition. Some of these studies have focused on the influence other household members have on the individual's personal food habits. The research has therefore mainly been conducted in multi-person households, and particular attention has been given to heterosexual, nuclear families with young children (Charles & Kerr, 1988; DeVault, 1991), or heterosexual cohabited/married couples (Bove, Sobal & Rauschenbach, 2003; Kemmer, Anderson & Marshall, 1998). These studies indicate that other household members have a significant impact on the individual's food habits in various ways. In earlier studies women have been found to defer to their husbands' food preferences (Charles & Kerr, 1988; Murcott, 1983), while in a later study by Kemmer et al. the direction of influence between the partners did not follow this gender pattern (Kemmer et al., 1998). Both partners here felt that as a result of cohabitation their personal food habits became more organized and that the commensality aspect made the evening meal take on a different meaning as a 'proper meal'. Furthermore, many felt that their food habits had become more healthy after they had started living with their partner, and this perceived change was noted by both male and female participants (Kemmer, et al., 1998).  13  In some of these studies conducted on multi-person households, food habits and preferences have also been found to be a product of negotiation and compromise between family members (Bove et al., 2003; Charles & Kerr, 1988; DeVault, 1991). In some of the earlier studies food-related work and decision-making also became a site for constructing and expressing gender inequality in power (Charles & Kerr, 1986; DeVault, 1991). In their study of 200 women with pre-school children in Northern England, Charles and Kerr found that even though the women had the main responsibility for buying, preparing and serving food, their decisions were highly determined by their husbands' tastes and preferences (Charles & Kerr, 1988). These wives portrayed themselves as food servers, 'refueling' an active male breadwinner to whom they were subordinate and on whom they were economically dependent. The women were thereby responsible for feeding the family, without having authority in the involved decisionmaking (Charles & Kerr, 1986). Later research has not identified issues of power to the same degree as Charles and Kerr, however, individuals entering marriage have been found to merge their personal food systems into a joint spousal food system in a process which often included both convergence and conflict (Bove et al., 2003). Whether resulting in negative experiences, such as conflict (Charles & Kerr, 1988), or positive aspects, such as enhanced enjoyment and perceived healthier eating (Kemmer et al., 1998), the research conducted in multi-person households clearly indicates that the presence of other household members is crucial in influencing the individual's personal food habits. It therefore follows that the absence of other household members must create a unique setting for food habits, and that people who live alone  14  might experience some similarities in their food-related decision-making which differ in general from the food choice processes of people who live in multi-person households.  2.2.2 One-person Households The unique setting for food choice which one-person households provide has been given minimal attention by researchers. This apparent gap in knowledge becomes important to address, as the number of people who choose to live alone appears to be increasing. People who live alone contribute to a substantial proportion of the total Canadian population and this relative number has been steadily increasing over the last couple of decades, from 7.1% in 1981 to 10.1 % in 2001 (Statistic Canada, 1982, 2002). The relative number of people who live alone in British Columbia and Vancouver is similar to the proportion found on the national level, with 10.8 % for both province and metropolitan area (Statistics Canada, 2002). When measured as a proportion of Canadian households instead of as a proportion of the population, one-person households appear even more significant. In 2001, 25.7 % of all Canadian households consisted of people living alone, while in BC and Vancouver, one-person households contributed to 27.3 % and 27.9 %, respectively (Statistics Canada, 2002). Furthermore, the relative proportion of one-person households has also been predicted to increase to 33% by 2016 (Statistics Canada, 1995). The increasing number of people who live alone can partly be explained by the aging population and the fact that many seniors tend to live alone. However, a substantial proportion of younger age groups also live in one-person households. In 2001, 890,635  15  Canadians, 25 to 44 years of age, lived by themselves, which contributed to 9.9 % of the total population in this age range (Statistics Canada, 2002).  2.2.3 Food Habits in One-person Households An extensive literature search did not reveal any qualitative studies focusing on food habits of younger adults who live alone. However, a few quantitative sources provide information which points towards possible differences in food habits between people who live alone and people who live with others. The "Family Food Expenditure" survey is carried out periodically across Canada, and it provides detailed and summary information on food expenditure by household (Statistics Canada, 2003). The data from 2001 show that people who lived alone spent an average of $66 per week on food. This is about 38 % more than the average spent per person across all households in Canada of $48 per week (Statistics Canada, 2003). Differences also appear to exist between one-person households and multi-person households with respect to how the food dollar is spent. Compared to the earlier Food Expenditure Survey from 1996, there seems to be a growing preference for eating out for all Canadian households, in that a higher proportion of weekly food budgets in 2001 was spent on meals out in restaurants, fast food places, take-out, snack bars etc. (Statistics Canada, 1998, 2003). But while the average Canadian household spent 30 % of their weekly food budget on eating out in 2001, people who lived alone spent 35 % (Statistics Canada, 2003). The relative proportion of the food dollar spent in restaurants will vary with the availability of public eating establishments, and eating out is therefore a highly urban phenomenon. Vancouver is no exception in this respect, being the metropolitan  16  area with the highest restaurant spending per capita in Canada (35% of their weekly food budget) (Statistics Canada, 2003). People who live alone in Vancouver are therefore likely to be amongst the Canadians who spend the largest proportion of their weekly food budget on eating out. The "Grocery Attitudes of Canadians" study of 1995 also showed that people who lived alone spent more money on groceries compared to people who lived in multi-person households (Grocery Products Manufacturers of Canada, 1995). The self-reported amount of money spent on groceries per week was 1.5 times higher ($56) for people living in one-person households, compared to the average per capita expenditure of $38 for all households (Grocery Products Manufacturers of Canada, 1995). In addition to the Canadian statistics available on food consumption, quantitative studies conducted in other industrialized countries also indicate that there might be general differences in food habits between people who live alone and people who live with others. Gerrior et al. (1995) compared the dietary quality of people who lived alone and their sex- and age counterparts in multi-person households based on data from the U.S Department of Agriculture's Nationwide Food Consumption Survey (NFCS, 198788). Based on the participants' self-reported food intake for three days, dietary quality was determined by calculating their dietary adequacy indices, DAI, (how well they met the RDAs for 15 essential nutrients) and dietary moderation indices, DMI, (how well they met dietary guidelines for cholesterol and sodium intake, as well as % energy intake of fat and saturated fat). Overall, people who lived alone had lower DAI scores, but significantly better DMI scores than their sex- and age counterparts in multi-person households. This might be related to the significantly lower energy intake reported by  17  subjects who lived alone. Single men, 35-45 years of age, had the lowest DAI scores of all the other age groups of men in both household types, as well as a significantly lower DAI compared to men, 35-45 years of age, who lived in multi-person households. Within each age group, both women and men who were living alone had significantly higher DMI scores compared to their multi-person household counterparts. Even though none of the sex and age groups in either household type met the dietary recommendations for fat and saturated fat intake, the percent energy intake from fat was higher for people who lived in multi-person households. Men and women who were living alone also reported lower intake of sodium and cholesterol (Gerrior et al., 1995). In Turrell's (1998) study of determinants of healthy food choice in a population based sample in Australia, living alone was found to be one of the strongest predictors for choosing foods consistent with dietary guideline recommendations. Turrell proposes that the underlying reason might be that additional household members add to the complexity of food-related decision-making because varying, and often competing tastes and preferences need to be catered to. These multiple demands reduce the ability to purchase foods that follow the dietary guidelines (Turrell, 1998). For people who live alone, the absence of other household members might also result in a higher proportion of meals consumed alone, compared to people who live with others (Gerrior et al., 1995). In an American study investigating social influences on food intake, Castro and Castro (1989) found that meals consumed alone contained fewer calories, as well as proportionally less fat and more carbohydrates, compared to meals that were consumed in the presence of others. Eating alone might therefore be associated with "healthier" eating (Castro & Castro, 1989).  18  The consumer statistics available in Canada, as well as the quantitative studies from other countries, indicate that the food consumption of people who live alone might differ, in general, from the food consumption of people who live in multi-person households. The differences in consumption between one-person households and multiperson households point towards a general difference in the underlying food-related decision-making. It has been suggested that one-person households share common characteristics which may influence dietary behaviour (Gerrior et al., 1995). For example, people who live alone might be unable to take advantage of economies of scale when purchasing groceries, which might result in the higher amount of money spent per capita on food. Living alone also means that food work cannot be shared with anybody else, which limits the total amount of household time available for food-related activities (Gerrior et al., 1995). However, since no studies have examined the food choice process as experienced by people who live alone, the current understanding of the underlying reasons for the apparent consumer differences is limited.  2.3 Men's Food-related Experiences 2.3.1 Gender and the Influence on Food Habits Gender is another factor which is recognized as important in influencing food behaviour. Our behaviour and beliefs can be understood as means of producing and reproducing gender (Courtenay, 2000), and this includes our food-related activities and decision-making. Researchers interested in assessing the population's food and nutrient intake are becoming increasingly aware of gender differences in consumption (Rozin et al., 1999). Furthermore, sociologists and anthropologists have argued that food choices  19  and food-related activities establish and reflect male and female identities and relationships (Jensen & Holm, 1999). Perhaps the most obvious example of gender differences in food habits is how food-related activities themselves have been coded as feminine because they have traditionally been viewed as women's work. In heterosexual, nuclear families, which have been the focus for many previous qualitative studies on food habits, men have been found to be the 'breadwinner' of the household, while women have been responsible for feeding the family (Charles & Kerr, 1988; Murcott, 1983). Over the last few decades important structural changes have occurred in many western societies, causing more women to work outside the home. This might result in changes in the traditional gender ideology as it applies to food work (Kemmer, 2000). Later studies have also found less gender division of food-related labour, and that men's involvement in food-related activities often makes up a substantial part of the overall feeding work of the family (Bove et al., 2003; Kemmer et al., 1998). More attention should therefore be directed towards men's food-related experiences, as failing to do so "undermines men's contribution and reinforces the identity of cooking as a feminine task" (Kemmer, 2000, p. 330). Gender differences are also found with respect to actual dietary intake (Jensen & Holm, 1999). Dietary surveys reveal that women tend to consume fewer calories than men (Jensen & Holm, 1999). While this difference relates to women's relatively smaller body size and hence lower energy requirement, it has also been recognized as a marker of gender, and is therefore likely to be shaped through socialization processes. For example, eating patterns of women are found to be monitored by other adults and 'eating too  20  much' might cause a woman to be subjected to social sanctions (Charles & Kerr, 1988; Counihan, 1992; Germov & Williams, 1996; Zylan, 1996). Furthermore, men tend to eat fewer, but larger meals per day, and are less likely to entirely skip meals, compared to women (Sweeting, Anderson & West, 1994). In Europe, gender differences have been found regarding preferences for specific foods. Compared to women, men derive a significantly greater proportion of their total energy intake from meat, animal products and alcohol, while women obtain a larger proportion of their total energy intake from vegetable products and fruits (Jensen & Holm, 1999). Researchers approaching food habitsfroma sociological perspective have also documented similar gender differences (Bourdieu, 1984; Twigg, 1984). Transculturally, meat seems to function as a symbol of masculinity due to its association with qualities such as strength, power and virility (Twigg, 1984). On the other hand, consumption of sweet foods (cakes, chocolates, etc.) is frequently seen as a marker of femininity (Jensen & Holm, 1999). Many studies from various industrialized countries have found that women have a higher compliance with dietary recommendations than men do (Jensen & Holm, 1999; Statistics Canada, 2001; Sweeting et al., 1994). In Finland, Roos et al. (1998) examined gender as a determinant of food behaviour in relation to the national recommendations for food and nutrient intake, based on a large data set (n=6051). In general, women's food and nutrient intake was more in accordance with Finnish dietary guidelines in that 28% of the women complied with the recommendations for food behaviour, compared to 16% of the men (Roos et al., 1998). A study on determinants of gender differences in dietary behaviour in a population based sample in Australia showed that women were  21  significantly more likely to comply with dietary recommendations (based on self reported food behaviour) than men (Turrell, 1997). In the settings where this gender difference has been observed, researchers have also aimed to understand the underlying reasons for why women eat more healthfully than men. Turrell (1997) found that women's greater compliance with nutritional recommendations was partly due to their greater liking for healthy alternatives, stronger belief in the benefit of meeting dietary guidelines, and better knowledge about food and nutrition. Men and women still differed in their reported food behaviour after these variables were accounted for, suggesting that other factors remain to be identified (Turrell, 1997). Within the context of industrial countries, different attitudes towards food between men and women also appear to be a cross cultural phenomenon (Rozin et al., 1999). In a study comparing data collected in USA, Japan, France and Flemish Belgium, women in all countries reported a greater consumption of foods low in salt and fat, compared to men. Women also tended to give more thought to long term health consequences, worry more about the fat content of foods and place greater importance on the link between diet and health. On the other hand men exhibited higher culinary associations with food than women (Rozin et al., 1999). Oakes and Sloterback (2001) found that women, compared to men, were more likely to categorize foods with low fat contents as healthy, while they were less concerned about nutrient levels. The different attitudes and meanings that women and men appear to place on healthy eating may in turn be related to the different socialization processes to which they are exposed. Perhaps most crucial in this respect is the social construction of the thin female body as ideal and the relatively greater concern that has been well documented  22  amongst women with respect to weight, body shape and appearance (Germov & Williams, 1997). It has also been suggested that women might develop a greater concern for nutrition through their disproportionate responsibility for feeding the family (Rozin et al., 1999). Oakes and Sloterback (2001) found that women rated themselves as more knowledgeable about food and nutrition, paid more attention to nutrition labels and perceived themselves as having healthier eating habits than men, which they suggest might be an inidication that women receive more information about health and nutrition, compared to men. It has also been suggested that in some countries women might be more familiar with dietary guidelines, because they are likely to receive nutritional advice from health professionals during pregnancy and while their children are small (Roos et al., 1998). In summary, sociologists and anthropologists recognize food habits as a central element of our daily lives, socializing processes and culture, and they therefore become an important site for producing and reproducing gender. Furthermore, health-related beliefs and behaviours can also be understood as a means of constructing and demonstrating gender (Courtenay, 2000), in that "the doing of health is a form of doing gender" (Saltonstall, 1993, p. 12). Regardless of the perspective from which the researchers examine food habits, gender appears to be an important factor, which should be taken into consideration in studies of food choice.  2.3.2 Men's Food Habits The existing information from the various disciplines studying food habits seems to give a disproportionate attention to women's food-related experiences. Studies  23  focusing on men's food habits and food-related decision-making are rare, and when included they are often reported second hand by women (Roos, et al., 2001). Existing differences in men and women's health and health behaviour have resulted in an increasing interest in the relationship between masculinity and health (Courtney, 2000). Compared to women, men have a higher mortality rate for all age groups, tend to use primary health care services less and are more likely to delay seeking help in the case of illness (Cameron & Bernardes, 1998). Men are also more likely to engage in health damaging (risk) behaviours, such as smoking, drinking, violence and fast driving. It has been argued that the underlying reasons for these differences might be that men use health beliefs and behaviours to demonstrate dominant hegemonic masculine ideals and reject feminine ideals. Unhealthy beliefs and behaviour might be a means for men to demonstrate idealized forms of masculinity and assume positions of power in a patriarchal system that rewards this accomplishment (Courtney, 2000). Men's gender might therefore impose a disadvantage against adopting and engaging in health promoting behaviours (Cameron & Bernardes, 1998). If this also applies to food habits, then that might be part of the explanation for why many studies have found that men have a lower compliance with dietary recommendations than women (Jensen & Holm, 1999). However, since few studies have focused on men's food-related experiences, little is known about how masculinity interacts with food behaviour. The only information available regarding men's food-related experiences comes from a qualitative study conducted in Finland (Roos et al., 2001), where male carpenters and engineers were interviewed about their food habits (Roos et al., 2001). In contrast to what earlier research has suggested (Jensen & Holm, 1999), neither group of men  24  appeared to place great emphasis on the consumption of meat. In general, the men tended to talk more about their consumption of vegetables arid viewed this as an important part of healthy eating. A slight difference was found between the two occupational groups, in that carpenters were more likely to focus on the need for meat, and engineers' emphasis on vegetables was relatively stronger, indicating how social class also influences attitudes and behaviours relating to food. In congruence with previous studies, most of the men in both groups described their households as conforming to the traditional gender division of labour (Roos et al., 2001).  2.4 Food Habits of Men Who Live Alone While Roos et al.'s study provides useful information regarding men's foodrelated experiences, it mainly focused on men living in multi-person households. With the exception of one participant who lived alone, all the 40 interviewees lived with partners or families (Roos et al., 2001). The scarcity of information available regarding men's food-related experiences is therefore particularly apparent with respect to younger men who live alone. Given that an extensive literature search failed to reveal any studies which have focused on the food habits of younger men who live alone, the information available is limited to the few consumer statistics described in section 2.2.3. When comparing males and females, the findings from the Family Food Expenditure Survey, 2001, indicate that some of the spending characteristics of people who live alone are more pronounced amongst younger men (Statistics Canada, 2003). While the average one-person household had a weekly food expense of $66, younger men (<65) spent as much as $75 per week.  25  Men younger than 65 who were living alone therefore had a 56% higher weekly food expenditure than the average spent per person across all households in Canada of $48 per week. Gender differences also existed with respect to the proportion of the food dollar that was spent on eating out. Younger men (<65) who lived alone spend 40 % of their weekly food budget on eating out, while women in the same age group who live alone only spent 36% (Statistics Canada, 2003).  2.5 Summary of Literature Review The food choice process has implications for many aspects of human life and multiple internal and external factors are recognized as shaping and influencing the individual's food-related decision-making (Furst et al., 1996). This study expands on the existing knowledge regarding food choice by examining how this process is experienced by a group of individuals who share similar characteristics with respect to household type and gender, which are two factors that are recognized as particularly influential for individual food habits. It also provides a glimpse into how food habits might be experienced in the unique social context of living alone, and thereby expands on the existing knowledge from previous studies, which have tended to focus on food habits in heterosexual, nuclear families. Furthermore, this study also addresses the need to obtain a better understanding of men's food-related experiences, as most previous research has focused on food habits from women's perspectives. But most importantly, by exploring the food choice process as experienced by younger men who live alone, attention is given to the food-related experiences of a demographic group which appears to have been neglected in the previous research on food habits.  26  Chapter 3: Methodology  3.1 Research Approach I chose to use an interpretive approach (Schwandt, 2000) and a qualitative research design as the methodological framework for this study. This decision was guided by three important aspects of the study's purpose: First of all, choosing qualitative methods is most appropriate in research where "the concept is "immature" due to a conspicuous lack of theory and previous research"(Morse, 1991, p.120). The purpose of this study is to explore the food-related experiences of younger men who lived alone in an urban setting. However, an extensive literature search failed to produce any information from other studies conducted in this area. I therefore entered the data collection with broad, open-ended research questions, rather than already existing hypotheses. The inductive nature of qualitative research, where the researcher build abstractions, concepts, hypotheses, and theories from the data (Merriam, 1988), instead of testing pre-existing knowledge, is a more effective approach for answering research questions of this nature. Furthermore, in qualitative research, data collection and analysis take place concurrently so preliminary findings will direct the further inquiry, which is particularly useful when little pre-knowledge exists (Rubin & Rubin, 1995). Second, qualitative methods are particularly useful for the type of research problems where "the nature of the phenomena may not be suited to quantitative measures" (Morse, 1991, p.120). The literature indicates that the food choice process is extremely complex in that several internal and external factors interact when people make  27  their food-related decisions (Furst et al., 1996). Examining these processes therefore requires that the methodology applied allows the researcher to obtain an understanding of the complexity, detail and context of the phenomena under study. This requirement can only be met by applying qualitative research methods, where rich, contextual and detailed data are produced, and emphasis is placed on 'holistic' forms of data analysis (Mason, 1996). Lastly, I wanted to explore the food choice process as experienced by the participants themselves. Qualitative research is grounded in what can broadly be described as an 'interpretive' philosophical position in the sense that it is concerned with meaning - how people make sense of their lives, interpret their experiences and how the social world is produced (Mason, 1996). In my study these elements were examined as they applied to food-related experiences through a constructivist approach, which assumes "a relativist ontology (there are multiple realities), a subjectivist epistemology (knower and respondent cocreate understanding), and a naturalistic (in the natural world) set of methodological procedures" (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000, p.21). These same three aspects of the study's purpose also point towards choosing qualitative interviewing as the main method for data collection. Rubin and Rubin (1995) describe qualitative interviewing as "flexible, iterative and continuous" (p.43). The flexible design makes it possible to adapt to new information obtained from the interviewees and explore research areas that were unanticipated. It also allows the researcher to truly hear the meaning of what the interviewees say. The iterative design of qualitative interviewing refers to the basic process where information is gathered, analyzed, winnowed and tested, repeatedly throughout the study. In the early interviews I  28  aimed to obtain a great variety of ideas, themes and explanations, and not to limit the response from participants, by asking broad questions. As the study progressed, the questions focused on what seemed salient based on the preliminary analysis of the earlier participants' responses, ensuring that these themes were followed up and expanded on in the later interviews. The continuous element of the qualitative interview process ensured that the research was kept organized and focused while new topics were being explored (Rubin & Rubin, 1995).  3.2 Inclusion Criteria and Ongoing Sampling Decisions Given that the purpose of this study was to explore the food-related work and decision-making of men who lived alone, all the participants had to be male arid they had to be living in one-person households. For their present habit of living alone to be considered established they had to have been doing so for at least six months prior to participating in the study. However, no criteria were stipulated with respect to whether the participants were single or in a relationship, as long as they did not share their address with anybody. To increase the probability of obtaining a sample of men who had established their personal food habits as independent adults, those younger than 25 years old were excluded. Another reason for choosing this age as the lowest for inclusion was that Statistics Canada indicated that only 4.6% of one-person households had an inhabitant younger than 25 years (Statistics Canada, 2002). In order to obtain a sample of participants who shared a relatively similar background in terms of food history, I originally planned to exclude men older than 45. However, towards the end of the data  29  collection a 47 year old participant was included. I chose to do so because the youngest man in the sample was 27 years old, hence the age range of the sample was still kept within 20 years. In order to be exposed to a relatively similar food context, all participants had to live in Vancouver city. Due to the method of data collection, participants had to feel comfortable expressing themselves in English. In addition to the inclusion criteria, ongoing sampling decisions were made throughout the data collection with respect to other factors, such as ethnicity, employment, more specific age, duration of living alone and types of households previously lived in. Because ethnicity and culture influence and shape peoples' food habits (Pelto, 1981), it was desirable to obtain a sample of participants who shared similar backgrounds with respect to these dimensions. To increase the likelihood of doing so, I aimed to obtain a sample of men who were of Euro-Canadian descent, and who were born and raised in Canada. However, because sharing these characteristics is not always necessary in order to share a relatively similar food culture, I used these criteria as guidelines rather than absolute restrictions. The time spent away from home during a day will influence a person's foodrelated activities, and men who are working full time are therefore likely to experience similarities in food behaviour, which differ in general from men who are unemployed or are working part time. I therefore aimed to obtain a sample of men who all defined themselves as working full time, while allowing for variation with respect to the type of work they engaged in.  30  In the early phase of the data collection, sampling decisions concerning the participants' more specific age ensured that the men were around 30 years old. As the study progressed participants from the upper end of the age range were included,to provide comparison so the themes constructed from the preliminary analysis could be further explored and tested (Rubin & Rubin, 1995). Throughout the data collection, the ongoing sampling decisions ensured that a variety was obtained in the sample with respect to how long the participants had been living alone and the type of households they had previously lived in.  3.3 Recruitment The participants were recruited through purposive sampling methods (Portney & Watkins, 2000), using two main techniques: 1) Notices were posted at various places in Vancouver, such as coffee shops, laundromats, public bulletin boards and so on (Appendix A). The posters provided a brief description of the study and a contact phone number and e-mail address for those who were interested in participating. 2) Participants were also recruited through the method of snowballing, where existing contacts, such as previous participants, were used to get in touch with potential participants (Portney & Watkins, 2000). Potential participants were asked a few screening questions during the first meeting or phone call, to ensure that the inclusion criteria were met and with respect to the ongoing sampling decisions. The information was recorded in screening forms (Appendix B).  31  3.4 Exclusion Based on the inclusion criteria and/or the ongoing sampling decisions, 14 men who either were approached by snowballing or responded to the posters, were excluded from participating in this study. A summary of the reasons for deciding not to include each of them is presented in Appendix C. In most cases potential participants were excluded because they did not work full time (n=10) and two of these men had also moved to Canada as adults. In three cases the potential participants did not actually live alone (one of whom also did not work full time), and one man was too young to meet the lower limit of the inclusion criteria of 25 years. Only one person dropped out of the study. This happened after the initial meeting, before he completed the food diary. His reason for dropping out was that he did not feel that he had enough time available to participate in the study.  3.5 Sample Size Theoretical saturation often guides the number of participants included in a qualitative study, in that no further data collection is needed when the information gathered supports a small number of integrated themes and additional information adds no more ideas or issues (Rubin & Rubin, 1995). However, in a smaller study, such as a Masters project, the resources available must be taken into consideration when determining the sample size. The sample size of twelve participants in this study was determined based on the number of participants in projects of similar designs. Upon collecting from twelve participants the preliminary analysis indicated that the sample size was sufficient to meet the purpose of the study.  32  3.6 Data Collection The twelve men each participated in three steps of data collection: An initial meeting, completion of a one-week food diary and an individual, in-depth interview. Upon completion, each participant received a gift certificate to a restaurant or a CD-store of their choice.  3.6.1 The Initial Meeting When a potential participant met the criteria and agreed to participate in the study, an initial meeting was scheduled. These meetings took place in various locations, such as the participant's home, their work place or in a public place, and were usually quite brief. I gave the participant the pre-made protocol for the food diary, carefully explained how the food diary was to be completed, and answered the participant's questions regarding this and other aspects of the study. The participant was also asked to read and sign the written consent form (Appendix D). Throughout the study I kept field notes where observations and reflections from this initial meeting, as well as from other interactions with the participants, were recorded.  3.6.2 The Food Diary Each of the participants completed a food diary in which he recorded all eating, drinking and food purchasing events that he experienced throughout one week. In addition to providing a brief description of what was consumed, the participants were asked to record when, where and with whom the consumption took place, and the planning, preparation and clean up involved. Furthermore, the participants were  33  encouraged to describe the context of the consumption, feelings experienced, reasons behind decision-making, as well as other things they felt like writing down. A pre-made protocol, where each page was divided into sections for the various aspects of information, facilitated the recording (Appendix E). The protocol included written instructions on how to complete the diary as well as a few examples for clarification. The participants were also encouraged to contact me if any questions arose during the period ofrecording. When completed, I collected the food diary, usually by meeting the participant in person. However, in one case the one-week recording was e-mailed back to me and in another, the participant slipped the completed diary under my door. I carefully reviewed the participant's food diary prior to conducting the interview by reading through it multiple times and organizing the information into tables. The information recorded in the food diary served several purposes: 1) It provided insight to the participant's daily life throughout a week as it revolved around food-related activities. 2) Most of the questions and probes for the following interview were designed based on what the participant had recorded in the food diary. In the interview I asked the participant to expand on a few of the events that he had recorded in the food diary, hence the food diary was an important tool for stimulating recalls. 3) The food diary also provided valuable data in itself.  34  3.6.3 Interviews The interview was scheduled between two to seven days after the participant had completed the food diary. Because the food diary was used to stimulate recalls in the interview, it was important that this week's events were relatively fresh in the participant's memory. At the same time, conducting the interview a few days later allowed me sufficient time to thoroughly review the completed food diary. The interviews were always conducted at a time and place of the participant's own choice, to accommodate his schedule and to make his experience as a participant less demanding and as enjoyable as possible. Two interviews were conducted in my apartment, one took place at the participant's work place while all the other interviews were conducted in the participants' own homes. The interview technique applied is best described as qualitative, in-depth interviewing, where the interviewee is encouraged to speak freely and provide long descriptive answers (Rubin & Rubin, 1995). My interviewing skills were developed by completing two university courses, one in qualitative research methods and another in interviewing skills (Egan, 1994). These courses both included practical interview exercises, followed by feedback from the instructors. The interviews were loosely organized around a semi-structured interview guide, consisting of mostly open-ended questions. Through attentive listening and probing, participants were encouraged to expand on their descriptions. Each interview was divided into three sections: 1) In the beginning of the interview, the participants were asked to describe their previous life course stages, such as their childhood and previous living arrangements  35  as adults, the food habits they had experienced then, as well as how they perceived these food-related experiences to impact their current practices. They were also asked to describe their experience of living alone and how this was believed to influence their food habits. 2) The second, and main part, of the interview was based on the information provided in the participant's food diary. Prior to the interview I had selected four to six of the recorded "events" from the food diary and the participant would be asked to "take me through" these events. The events selected, and the design of the questions and probes, ensured that rich descriptions of the various aspects of the participant's food habits were obtained in the interview. This included descriptions of meal patterns, food preparation, grocery shopping, eating out, eating at work, the social aspect of eating, health and nutrition, and so on. For each type of food-related activity described, the participant would be probed to describe the food-related decisionmaking involved. 3) At the end of the interview the participants were asked a few questions to explore their perceptions of their own identity and the role that food was believed to have in expressing this identity. The questions also sought to obtain an understanding of whether food and food habits were perceived to play a part in the construction of masculinity. Appendix F presents the generic interview guide. However, since the main part of the interview was based on the information recorded in the food diaries, these questions and probes were different for each participant. In addition, the interview guide developed throughout the study, as preliminary analysis provided direction for the further data  36  collection (Rubin & Rubin, 1995). When the early participants brought up aspects that I had not anticipated prior to the interviews, questions and probes were added to the interview guide to ensure that information regarding the same areas was obtained from the following participants. The interview guide used for the last interview is presented in Appendix G. The length of the interviews ranged from 45 to 85 minutes. All interviews were tape- recorded and transcribed verbatim.  3.7 Analysis 3.7.1 Food Diaries As part of reviewing a participant's food diary prior to the interview, I would organize into a table some of the information recorded for each event, such as the type of event, where the consumption took place and the social context of the event. Not only did this provide insight into the food-related activities that each person had engaged in throughout the week, but the information from each table could later be quantified and entered into summarizing tables for the whole sample. The numbers were not subjected to quantitative methods of analysis, but rather functioned to provide an overview, which facilitated the description of the food-related activities for the overall sample.  3.7.2 Interview Transcripts The interview transcripts were coded using the qualitative analysis software program, Atlas ti (Muhr, 1997). Codes were applied so that text-segments containing information about the same topic could be easily retrieved from the entire data set. Each of the food-related activities, such as breakfast, lunch at work, eating out, eating at home,  37  food preparation, grocery shopping, etc. were labeled with different codes. In addition, codes were applied to segments describing the decision-making involved in each foodrelated activity. For example, for segments of text where the participants described eating out in restaurants, codes such as "eating out", "eating out - deciding where to go" and "eating out - deciding what to get" were applied. Codes were also applied to the other topics discussed in the interviews, such as the experience of living alone and perceptions of healthy eating. The early codes were developed after the threefirstinterviews were transcribed. These codes were further developed and constantly redefined throughout the whole phase of data collection. As soon as an interview was transcribed it would be coded and in cases when the existing codes did not fit, adjustments, such as creating new codes or dividing the existing code into sub-codes, were made. These changes were then applied to the entire data set, by re-coding the previously coded transcripts. At the end of the data collection, I listened through all the interviews and reviewed all the food diaries one more time. A substantial memo was written for each participant, summarizing the most • important aspects of his food habits as well as other topics. In light of this information, the transcripts were re-coded one more time. The final list of codes is presented in Appendix H. All quotations labeled by the same code were later printed out and the information from each participant was compared across the sample. Summarizing the text segments into matrixes and writing summarizing memos facilitated this comparison, so that patterns and themes could be developed within and between categories.  38  By taking the interview transcripts through these inductive, analytical steps, and examining the food diaries as described in section 3.7.1,1 obtained a thorough understanding of what was going on in the data and was able to start describing the participants' food-related experiences. In order to further conceptualize and make theoretical sense of the findings (Hamrnersley & Atkinson, 1995), I continued to analyze the data in relation to Furst et al.'s (1996) theoretical framework for the food choice process. From the inductive phase of the analysis it became clear that even though each participant experienced quite unique food habits, they frequently described making a few types of food-related decisions in their everyday lives, which appeared to be similar across the sample. Inspired by Furst's model, I wanted to further examine the choice process as it applied to the types of food-related decisions which appeared to be the most salient for the participants' food habits. I therefore examined each file coded as a specific type of decision, and inductively developed codes to label the values and strategies, that appeared to be the most important. For example, I would carefully read through all the quotations labeled with the code "eating out - deciding where to go", looking for values and strategies applied that seemed salient to the participants when making this specific decision. Once established, the second level codes were applied to the entire file and the resulting text files for each second level code was taken through the similar analytical steps as described earlier, such as developing summarizing matrixes and writing memos. By applying these analytical steps to each of the food-related decisions separately I was able to provide detailed descriptions of the participants' personal system as it applied to each type of food-related decision-making.  39  Throughout the analysis I constantly compared the preliminary findings to the original transcripts and the food diaries to ensure that the descriptions produced were representative of the original data.  3.8 Enhancing Rigor Evaluation of the adequacy of interpretation of qualitative data involves establishing the credibility and transferability of the findings (Lincoln & Guba, 1986). In this study the following strategies were applied to enhance the credibility of the results: •  Prolonged engagement - Collecting data through the food diaries and the interviews resulted in several interactions with each participant both through meetings and phone calls, hence a longer engagement took place with each respondent compared to collecting data solely through interviews (Lincoln & Guba, 1986). Reviewing the food diary prior to the interview and designing the interview guide based on this information resulted in an intensive contact with each participant's data from an early point. Prolonged engagement was also obtained by listening to the tape-recorded interviews and reading the transcripts and the food diaries repeatedly throughout the project, as well as personally conducting all the labor, such as the transcribing of the interviews and the coding and re-coding of data (Lincoln & Guba, 1986).  •  Establishing rapport - The multiple meetings/phone calls that took place with each participant prior to the actual interview facilitated the establishment of rapport. During these interactions the participant and I would get to know each other, which likely increased the participants level of comfort in the role as an interviewee. The university courses mentioned in section 3.6.3 raised my personal awareness regarding  40  the importance of establishing rapport with the informants. When interacting with the participants I ensured that I demonstrated attentive listening skills, by letting the participants guide the conversations and being aware of non-verbal communication cues such as eye contact, posture etc. Member checks - The term "member checks" is often used to refer to testing the final study findings by asking the participants to review these and provide their feedback (Lincoln & Guba, 1986). However, "member checks" can also refer to the continuous, informal testing that takes place throughout the process of data collection (Lincoln & Guba, 1986). In the current study, preliminary findings were constantly tested by asking follow-up questions in the interviews (Lincoln & Guba, 1986). For example, some of the early participants mentioned how they felt that they spent a lot of money on food; the following quotation illustrates how I checked this theme in a later interview: K: [When I ask]: "Well what do you think of your own food habits", the first thing [some participants] say is: "I spend way too much money on food". George: Yeah, I know I'm terrible, but the pleasure that I get from it, makes my life, it's not worth it, to me it's worth, that's what I spend my money on. I don't, I live, I don't have a lot of stuff, I don't, it's not important to me. My relationships and my social well being is more important than saving up to the grand car, you know, it's... But the fact that I have, my job pays all right and stuff too. If my financial situation was different, then maybe I would be more conscious of it.  Triangulation- In qualitative research triangulation refers to the use of multiple means of approaching the research question, such as using several sources of data, including several methods of data collection and having several investigators engaged in the processes of data collection and analysis (Lincoln & Guba, 1986). In this study  41  a certain level of triangulation was achieved by collecting data both through food diaries and through semi-structured interviews. •  Peer debriefing- Throughout the project, I received feedback regarding my interpretations from my supervisor as well as from other graduate students conducting qualitative research in the Human Nutrition program (Lincoln & Guba, 1986). Providing "thick, descriptive data" regarding the participants and the context in  the written thesis enhances the transferability of this study's findings to other settings (Lincoln & Guba, 1986). Such information enables others who may wish to apply the findings elsewhere, by providing a basis on which to judge whether the similarity or degree of fit between the contexts is sufficient.  3.9 Situating the Researcher Researchers working within the qualitative paradigm recognize that knowledge is constructed through an interaction between the researcher and every aspect of the research. The researcher's background and position will therefore influence every step of the process, including the formulation of the initial research question, choice of methods, generation and analysis of data, and interpretation and presentation of findings (Malterud, 2001). No observation is therefore neutral and objectivity is redefined to recognize that knowledge is partial and situated, and to account adequately for the effects of the positioned researcher (Haraway, 1991). While numerous personal characteristics have influenced the design, data generation and interpretation of findings throughout this research project, I believe that it is particularly important for the readers of this thesis to be aware that I am female, I have  42  a Bachelor's degree in Human Nutrition and I was 28-30 years old when I conducted this study. At the time of this project I lived in Vancouver, however, I was born and raised in a rural area of mid Norway and spent most of my adult life in Oslo. I have lived in various household types, including living with roommates, living with male partners and living alone.  43  Chapter 4:  Results  This chapter describes the food choice process as experienced by twelve men who lived alone in Vancouver. As explained in the previous chapter, the theoretical framework for food choice as suggested by Furst et al. (1996) has been used when interpreting the findings and this chapter is therefore outlined according to the model's constructs. The chapter consists of four major sections: First, I briefly introduce the twelve men who participated in this study, followed by a description of their childhood and previous living arrangements as adults and the food habits they experienced in these earlier life stages. I will then explore the factors that were influencing the participants' food choice process, before providing a detailed description of the value negotiation processes that these twelve participants described in relation to a few specific types of food-related decisions.  4.1 The Participants The final sample consisted of twelve Caucasian men, all of whom spoke English as theirfirstlanguage (see Table 4.1). With the exception of Dave , who was born in 1  England and moved to British Columbia at the age of seven, all were born in Canada. The participants' descriptions of their more specific cultural backgrounds were limited, but European countries would sometimes be identified as their families' origin. Most of the participants grew up in various parts of British Columbia, such as the Lower Mainland or  1  A l l names used in this thesis are pseudonyms.  44  Table 4.1: Participant Profile Age Grew up Education p# Name  Occupation  Previous households  Living alone  Design  Roommates  8 years  Health care worker Painter  Roommates  3 years  Roommates Married Roommates Partner Roommates Partner Residence Roommates Residence Roommates Partner Roommates  10 months 8 months 9 months 9 months 3.5 years  1  Andrew 30  BC  2  Ben  31  BC  2 yr. twds a Bach. Deg. Bachelor degree  3  Craig  28  BC  High School  4  Dave  27  Ed  29  4 year fine arts program Bachelor degree  Artist  5  England/ BC BC  6  Frank  28  Ontario  Bachelor degree  Communication  7  George  29  BC  Bachelor degree  TV/film  8  Hugh  40  BC  9  Ian  31  BC  Bachelor degree Professional degree Bachelor degree  Health professional Teacher  10  John  43  Ontario  11  Kevin  47  BC  Business consultant (self employed) Technician  12  Luke  44  Ontario  Business degree College diploma computer program 2 years at technology institute Two bachelor degrees  Sound designer  Technology Consultant  Roommates Roommates  15 years 9 months 6 years  Roommates Married Residence Roommates  7 years 15 years  the Gulf Islands, while three were born and raised in Ontario and had moved to Vancouver as adults. The participants' ages were distributed around two clusters, with eight men being around thirty years of age while the other four were in their forties. With the exception of Craig, all participants had completed some form of post-secondary education. Eight held University degrees from various disciplines, Dave had completed a four-year art program, Andrew held a college diploma in publishing and Kevin had completed two  45  years at a technology institute. Most of the participants who had been to University had completed one Bachelor degree, with the exceptions of Hugh who had completed an additional professional degree and Luke who held two separate Bachelor degrees. All participants defined themselves as full time workers, which in most cases meant being employed in daytime work, Monday through Friday. For some of the men the work hours were less clearly defined, and would vary from week to week. In addition to being part time employed, Dave also worked regularly in his own studio, which resulted in a certain level of variation in the total amount of hours worked per week. John worked from his home office, which allowed for flexible work hours, but he described following a Monday to Friday schedule at the time he participated in this study. Other participants described how their weekly work hours often exceeded "full time". Craig was a painter, and would often work six or seven days per week at the time when he participated in this study, while Ed often went through periods of working overtime when certain deadlines had to be met. I did not ask participants questions about their sexual preference, however, when discussing previous, current or future relationships, all but one referred to being with women. No similar references were made for relationships with other men. The participants lived in various parts of Vancouver, including Kerrisdale, Kitsilano, South Granville Rise, Downtown and East Vancouver. None of them had any dietary constraints due to medical conditions, but Kevin was a raw foodist, which meant that he did not eat foods that had been heat treated above a certain temperature.  46  4.2 Life Course This section summarizes the participants' descriptions of food habits in past life course stages, including their childhood and previous living arrangements as adults. Living alone can also be viewed as a life stage course which all participants currently shared, and their experiences of doing so will therefore also be described, followed by a summary of their anticipation for the future.  4.2.1 Childhood With the exception of Andrew, Dave and Frank, whose parents divorced, all participants described growing up in heterosexual, nuclear families with one or several siblings (see Table 4.2). The participants' descriptions of food choices in their childhood home were generally similar to John's statement: "It was typical Canadian food, you know, meat and potatoes, a little bit of salads, green vegetables. Yeah, a lot of home cooking." Dinners were often described as consisting of meat, potatoes and vegetables while cereal was often mentioned as the breakfast food choice. Ben and Dave's childhood probably provided the strongest deviation from these "typical" food choices, in that they both described eating more alternatives. Almost all participants described eating fairly regular meals at home and that their families rarely ate out. Dinners tended to be sit-down meals for the whole family and several viewed this habit as important for bringing the family members closer together:  47  Table 4.2. Household Structure and Participants' Personal Involvement in Food-related Activities in Their Childhood Home. Name Age Structure of childhood Own involvement in food-related family activities Andrew  30  Ben Craig Dave  31 28 27  Ed  29  Frank  28  George  29  Hugh Ian John Kevin  40 31 43 47  Luke  44  Divorced parents; Spent half the time with each Mother, father, brother Mother, father, siblings Divorced parents: Lived with mother and siblings Mother, father, siblings Divorced parents: Lived with mother, siblings and grandmother Mother, father, brother Mother, father, siblings Mother, father, siblings Mother, father, siblings Mother, father, siblings and grandmother Mother, father and siblings  No data* No data* No data* -Often cook or do other chores -Cook dinner for the family once a week -Cook dinner for the family once a week, including planning the meal -No cooking, but do dishes/set the table -No cooking, only take out garbage - "not very much" -Often cook the family's dinner -"not really too much" -No cooking, but do dishes  *Questions and probes regarding the participants' own involvement in food-related work when growing up were added after the three first interviews.  All our meals were also sit down meals with the family. You know, it was never, we'd rarely eat in front of the TV, it wasn't really allowed. It would kind of be a sit down meal, we'd all kind of sit quiet for a moment of silence before hand, and then just talk. So it was very much like a family time kind of bonding, you know, to keep the family tight. (Ed) All of the participants described their mothers as being responsible for feeding the family. Their fathers' involvement in cooking or other food-related work was rarely mentioned, except for certain meal types, such as Sunday breakfast or barbecuing. Participants tended to view this gender division of food-related work as a natural consequence of their fathers being employed in work away from the household, while their mothers were "stay at home mom[s]". However, a similar difference in responsibilities was also described by those participants who grew up in households  48  where both parents worked outside the home. The participants often seemed to accept the gender division of food-related work in their childhood homes as being quite "fair" and part of the social norms of their parents' generation: .. .our generation, our dads always had one or two meals that they could cook. It was scrambled eggs or something and it's barbecue steak. But my dad did his fair share of cooking as well.. .pancakes on the weekend, mostly weekend type meals I think. Yeah, but most of the nights and school nights, it was always my mum. (George) The participants' own involvement in the food-related work in their childhood home varied across the sample. For some the participation had been limited to noncooking chores, such as setting the table, doing dishes or taking the garbage out. Other participants had from an early age been responsible for planning and cooking the family's dinner once a week (see Table 4.2). In all cases the participants' mothers appeared to be viewed as the key facilitator of their sons' involvement in the family's food-related work. Several of the participants who had been engaged in their family's food work, such as. Frank, described how his mother delegated food-related chores and taught food preparation skills: One of the cool things that my mother used to do, which I hated at the time, but now I thank her for it, is we used to have cooking days, where each kid would cook one day. So we had to decide what we were gonna make on the weekend and then Monday or Sunday she went out to buy all the food for the week. Then, like my night, I think it was Tuesday night, so my job was to make dinner on Tuesday, my other sister was on Wednesday, the other one was Thursdays. So that means three nights in a row, she, she didn't have to worry about making dinner, there was always dinner provided by one of the kids. On the same note, Hugh, who had not been engaged in food-related work when he grew up, appeared to hold his mother responsible for the lack of exposure to such activities: I was usually a garbage-taking-outer more than the dishes, but the actual preparations of meals I was never involved in. And my mother always kept me out of the kitchen. She taught my sisters to cook and bake and that sort of thing,  49  but that wasn't something I got growing up at all. Pancakes, occasionally on Sunday mornings my dad and I would make them, but other than that I didn't do any cooking as a child. Several factors are likely to have contributed to the perceived differences in Frank's and Hugh's mothers' attitudes towards involving their sons in the family's food-related work. Frank grew up with a single mother who worked long hours and the organization of the family's feeding work might therefore have been particularly dependent upon the contribution of all household members. While Hugh grew up with two parents present in the household, his mother also worked away from home. By actively involving his sisters, Hugh's mother's underlying motive for not involving Hugh in the household's food-related activities did not appear to be that she did not need the help, but rather seemed to be a means of imposing traditional gender roles. The different practices in Frank (28 years of age) and Hugh's (40 yr.) childhood homes may partly be related to the changes in gender-related norms and attitudes that took place in the twelve years between their births. Ed (29 yr.) reflected upon the influence of the historical era on his early involvement in food-related activities the following way: I'm a lot more kind of, a child of women of the sixties kind of, you know, who. They probably couldn't find the ideal man in their husband back then, say my mother and father, but they did raise their sons sometimes to be, you know, more of what they wanted from men. Men that were actually sensitive to emotions and stuff like that, can cook, can take care of them selves, can sew if they need to, you know, all those traditional women's roles, quote unquote. I think there is a lot of women in that generation that kind of like equipped their sons with that knowledge, so they wouldn't just be the typical macho guy who doesn't know his way around the kitchen, never learns how to cook or anything like that. Other participants' descriptions of their childhood food habits, however, contradicted the notion that time era determined early involvement in food-related activities. While  50  George (29 yr.) and Ian (31 yr.) had only been assigned minor tasks, John (43 yr.) had regularly cooked the family's dinner from the age of twelve. The extent to which traditional gender roles were imposed on the children could therefore only partly be explained by the historical context and appeared to vary between families. However, other influences beyond the family were also recognized as enforcing food-related gender roles in that Hugh (40 yr.) and Luke (44 yr.) both described how home economics had not been an option for boys when they went to school.  4.2.2 Previous Adult Living Arrangements After moving from their parents' house, all of the participants had experienced other types of living arrangements before they started living alone (Table 4.1). This included living in residences when they first moved out to go to university (Frank, George and Luke) and living with female partners (Craig, Dave, Ed, George and Kevin). Kevin's previous husband-wife household had also included their one son. In addition, all participants had lived with one or several roommates for various periods of time, and most of them had experienced several such shared accommodations. Compared to their childhood experiences, less data concerned the participants' food-related activities in previous adult living situations, and their descriptions mainly focused on the organization of food work. For the participants who had formerly lived with female partners, the organization of the food-related work had varied. In Craig and Kevin's marriages the partners had been taking turns making food for each other, while in Dave's case, they had carried out the planning, preparation and clean up together. Ed described doing most of the cooking  51  in his relationship, while George did not specify how the feeding work had been organized the one year he had lived with a previous girlfriend. In the participants' previous roommate households, the food-related work had rarely been organized together with the other household members. Many participants described settings where "everyone does their own thing" and the household members would only occasionally make dinner for each other or together. On the other hand, some of the men had also experienced regular patterns of eating and preparing food together with their roommates. Differences in the organization of feeding work were not only found between each participant, but also between the different shared accommodations that each participant had lived in. The variations appeared to depend on various factors, such as the household members' individual schedules, the level of friendship between the household members and the size of the household. For some of the participants who had been less involved in food-related work while growing up (George, Ian, Kevin and Luke), the previous living arrangements with roommates were the first time they engaged in such activities. Other participants, such as Ed and John, described this phase of their life course as important for expanding their already existing preparation skills, in that their roommates had taught them how "to cook more food and different types of food". Some participants also described how their previous roommates and/or partners had influenced their actual food choices while living in these households. For example, Dave, Ed and Ian had all grown up in non-vegetarian households, but they all described how living with vegetarian/vegan roommates and/or girlfriends had caused them to go through periods of eating less meat.  52  4.2.3 Living Alone The duration of living alone varied among the participants, from 16 years (Hugh) to eight months (Dave) (see Table 4.1). With the exception of Andrew (31 yr.) who had lived alone for eight years, the longer periods of living alone were typically found among the participants in the higher age cluster. Kevin and Luke described living alone in previous periods; for the rest of the participants this was the first time. Most of the participants reported that they enjoyed living alone. However, many agreed with Andrew that moving by yourself involved a period of adjustment: "It takes a while to get used to, but once you are it's great". The main perceived benefit of living alone, appeared to be the "freedom". As Ben explained: "I like the freedom. I like to have everything the way I want, when I want it. I enjoy that." For many this meant not having to restrict their own behaviour in order to accommodate other household members as well as not having to be concerned with the habits of others. As Dave noted: "I don't have to stumble over anybody else's mess, I can leave my own mess." Other rewarding aspects of living alone included increased "privacy" and "personal time". Even though the overall attitude towards living alone was positive, some of the men also exhibited negative feelings towards not having other household members around. Craig was the participant who appeared to dislike living by himself the most because he did not like being alone in general. Hugh mentioned that he found it lonely at times, and Ian also said that he probably would have felt lonely living alone if it wasn't for his busy schedule which caused him to spend most of his time away from home. Hugh and Kevin were also concerned that living alone resulted in "being set in your ways".  53  When answering the question about how they felt about living alone, the positive attitudes most participants expressed in the immediate response often reflected that they compared their current living arrangement with living with roommates. As John explained: "I don't have to deal with other people's habits, you know, that I'm not in love with." Few parallels were drawn between living alone and living with partners, even though this was a household type that several of the men had experienced previously.  4.2.4 Future Expectations No specific questions were asked to explore the participants' anticipation for their future life course, but personal expectations were still mentioned by some. Given the participants' overall preference for living alone as opposed to living with roommates, shared accommodations did not appear to be a living arrangement that they planned to go back to and some also mentioned that they doubted that they would ever live with roommates again. The only exception was Kevin, who was planning on moving into a "raw house" with some of his friends who also were raw foodists. On the other hand, living with female partners or having families seemed to be the options that several of the men anticipated if any change in their current living situation was to take place. Among the participants who expressed these anticipations, variation existed with respect to how strongly they expected to be living with a partner/family later on. Frank and John seemed quite confident that this would happen, by using terms such as "when I get married" and "that [living alone] will change". Other participants did not appear to have the same taken-for-granted attitude, but would still compare their current  54  food habits to what they thought they would be like if'they lived with a partner/family. Other household types were never used for similar hypothetical comparisons.  4.2.3 Life Course Stages and Current Food Habits Participants mentioned a few examples of how earlier life course stages (childhood and/or previous living arrangements as adults) were perceived to impact the way they ate now. The importance of being introduced to certain foods was recognized by several in this respect. For example, many participants who had lived with vegetarians/vegans believed that they currently ate less meat as a result. Furthermore, personal involvement in food-related activities as children and/or in previous adult living arrangements was also recognized as crucial in building their current skills and confidence. But; in general, participants did not elaborate on how past life course experiences influenced their current food habits and many explicitly stated that they did not believe that previous experiences mattered. Current lifestyle was usually believed to be a much stronger influence. As Andrew noted: "I don't think it [childhood food habits] has had much of an impact on the way I am now. My lifestyle now is so different than what it was when I was a kid."  4.3 Factors Influencing Food Choice Furst et al.'s model identifies five "components of influence" for food choice, including ideals, personal factors, resources, social framework and food context (Furst et al., 1996). When comparing my own findings to these constructs, I found that the influences the participants described in relation to their food-related decision-making also  55  could be organized into five similar areas. This section will therefore summarize the most important themes that emerged within each of the areas.  4.3.1 Ideals When describing their food-related activities the participants often referred to the underlying ideals they held for food and eating, which included their expectations, beliefs and standards for what and how they "should eat" . These standards were not necessarily 2  met in the actual decision-making, but they were still important points of reference to which the participants compared and judged their own practices as "good" or "bad". A relatively high level of agreement was found across the sample with respect to a few interrelated ideals, which appeared to be organized along three dimensions of the participants' food habits: The food itself, eating and the food context, and their food identity. The most important themes that emerged for each level will be described in this section. Theoretically, ideals could have many forms, including symbolic meaning of food, food-related traditions, ethical considerations or other standards for what should be, but for these twelve participants, perceptions of healthy food and healthy eating clearly emerged as the dominating form of their overall ideals. The abundance of data concerning the participants' perceptions of healthy food and healthy eating must be seen in relation to the fact that specific questions were asked in the interviews to generate such information. However, participants also often voluntarily brought up and extensively discussed what healthy eating meant in other parts of the interview, and referred to this  In this section words/sentence fragments that the participants used in their interviews/food diaries are indicated by quotation marks. Words in italics indicate the specific themes that emerged within each.  2  56  form of ideals in their food diaries. When probed for the underlying meaning of terms such as "good'Vbad", "better'V'worse", the participants' answers often reflected that they used these terms interchangeably with the terms "healthy'V'unhealthy".  4.3.1.1 Food The first dimension of the participants' food habits concerned the food itself, and ideals at this level represented their attitudes towards what one "should" eat. The overlap between the participants' perceptions of healthy food and their overall ideals was particularly apparent at this level. When describing the food they perceived to be ideal/healthy, the participants included and emphasized various aspects, such as the food items, nutrients and compounds in food, and food production/preparation methods. A clear consistency did therefore not exist with respect to what the participants thought of as being an overall ideal/healthy diet and the themes that emerged for each aspect will therefore be presented separately.  Food items and food types All of the participants expressed attitudes towards specific food items and/or food types and their perceptions of ideal/non-ideal and healthy/non-healthy seemed to be particularly synonymous for this category. The number of food items/types brought up varied between participants, but a remarkably strong consistency was found with respect to a few of these. All participants, with the exception of George, described vegetables as being "healthy". Specific types of vegetables were not necessarily mentioned, except salad or  57  greens, which was brought up by several of the men. Fruit emerged as the second ideal food item and fruits and vegetables were often mentioned together. With the exception of whole grains, which Dave, Ian and John all described as ideal, no other consistency was found for other items. The participants often seemed to have stronger opinions of which foods they thought of as "unhealthy", "bad" or "not good for you" and junkfood and fast food emerged as particularly salient in this respect. The term junk food usually referred to chocolate and (potato) chips, and was recognized as non-ideal by Craig (only chocolate), Frank, George, Hugh, Ian and John (only chips). In addition, almost all the participants mentioned how they considered fast food to be "bad". Andrew, Craig, Dave, Hugh, Ian and Kevin all considered the readily available buck-a-slice pizza to be an "unhealthy" fast food item, while all participants, with the exception of Craig and John, categorized food from McDonald's as "bad". McDonald's appeared to have an almost symbolic meaning for what was considered to be non-ideal food in that the name itself often was used interchangeably with the term fast food, and it was brought up in various contexts as a negative example. The participants also often failed to mention which items from the McDonald's menu they considered to be "bad", as in this example from Ben's interview: "Something that is not healthy would be like fish and chips or McDonald's..." Other non-ideal items that were mentioned less consistently included hamburgers  and French-fries, instant noodles, macaroni and cheese or Kraft dinner.  58  Nutrients and food components The participants also expressed attitudes towards specific nutrients or other food components and the theme that emerged with the strongest consistency across the sample was the notion offat as being "unhealthy" or "bad" (Andrew, Ben, Dave, Frank, Hugh, Ian and John). Fat was usually discussed in relative proportion to the overall diet, in that a low fat diet was considered "healthy" compared to a high fat diet. In addition, negative attitudes were expressed towards specific foods or meals, which were described as  greasy, oily or rich foods. Nine participants also mentioned that they considered non-nutrient compounds in foods, such as toxins, pesticides, preservatives, hormones and antibiotics, to be non-ideal or "unhealthy". As Dave noted: I think I've got a lot of toxins I mean just from food in general like there is a lot of shit out there, a lot of bad food. And they obviously, a lot of it gets stored in the body, (unclear) toxins. Compared to the "bad" nutrients and food components, the participants gave much less attention to what they perceived as "good" or "healthy". Ben, Ian and John all consideredfiberas an important part of a "healthy" diet, while John and Kevin both believed that a high intake of enzymes was "good for you".  Meat and vegetarianism One food item that many of the participants appeared to hold clear, but often contradicting attitudes towards was meat and whether eating meat was ideal or not. The participants were not asked any specific questions regarding their beliefs about meat  59  consumption, but attitudes towards vegetarianism and the role of meat in an overall "good" diet were still often voluntarily brought up. Even if they consumed meat, several participants (Ben, Dave, Ed and Ian), still believed that it was "healthier" to be vegetarian and emphasized the importance of moderation if meat was included in the diet. As Ben replied when asked what he thought of as healthy eating: "I think it's low fat and higher fiber balanced, more fruits and vegetables than meat, or alternatives". Other participants, such as Luke, did not necessarily believe that vegetarianism was ideal, but still emphasized "less meat" as part of "healthy" eating. George was the only participant who clearly expressed the opposite attitude towards vegetarianism, even though he was sometimes concerned about his perceived high intake of red meat: But I also know a lot of vegetarians and a lot of people that are vegan and they're just, see how sick they are all the time and how people, they're all concerned about their health and they're like the sickest people I know. I don't mean sick but I mean, I don't get sick, I haven't missed a day of work since, cause I've been sick, hardly ever.. Kevin was the only participant who actually avoided meat as well as other animal products. He explained that while he had started eating this way because he believed it was "healthier", he now held strong beliefs towards meat consumption as being "unethical". He was therefore the only participant who associated vegetarianism with other forms of ideals than being "healthy".  Food production and food preparation The processes that food has been exposed to prior to consumption emerged as an aspect of food that was salient for many participants to consider when evaluating a food  60  as ideal or not. This included both the preparation that takes place in the kitchen as well as how the food was produced and processed prior to reaching the consumer. The general opinion across the sample seemed to be that what can be summarized as more "natural" foods would be "healthier" compared to foods that had been exposed to numerous processing and preparation methods. How natural the food had to be in order to be ideal varied between participants, and as a raw foodist, Kevin was clearly the participant who placed the strongest emphasis on this ideal: [There is only one]...let's just say healthy way to eat, well let's say optimum way to eat, and that's raw food. I feel that, and I'm fully convinced, I have no question, that if we prepare food, can it, cook it, add things to it, bag it, all this sort of stuff, we're turning it in to non-food. It's no longer what we need to actually make our body work properly, as good as it can. I think it's as simple as that. I don't look any further than that. You know, here's the machine, here's what it needs. How do I get it? Well this is all the stuff that you need. Well that's what I eat then. Now after that, anything we do to our food, changes it, changes the structure of it. Our body doesn't need it any more, doesn't want it. It actually can be quite toxic, you know. So that's basically what I look at when it comes to food. Even though the other participants all utilized conventional methods when preparing food, raw food and fresh food was still recognized by some as being "healthy". Furthermore, most participants were skeptical towards the production methods that food might have been exposed to prior to reaching the consumer and almost everybody expressed negative attitudes towards the concept ofprocessed foods. Specific examples of food production methods or processed items were rarely mentioned and the participants tended to just use general terms, such as "processed", "pre-made" and "ready-made" foods. As Hugh described: "...just the whole idea of mass produced food that you heat, I just don't really like that idea:" The skepticism towards processed foods was also part of the reason why fast food, and food from McDonald's, was viewed as non-ideal.  61  In contrast, many participants considered organic foods to be "better" than their conventionally produced counter parts. Ben, Craig, Ed, Frank, Ian, John, Kevin and Luke all believed that organic food was "healthier" due to the absence of pesticides and antibiotics/hormones that were associated with conventionally produced vegetables and meat. Some participants also associated organic foods with other forms of ideals. Ed thought organic vegetables tasted more "right" than other vegetables, while John explained how he envisioned that the care that has been put into the organic vegetables by those who grow them would be absorbed into his body and cells. For Ian, choosing organic was part of his broader consumer consciousness: And for me shopping organic, part of it is just supporting that idea about food. Because if we all think it but then just keep buying food that, that's not organic then nothing's gonna change. But if we, if we start to think a little bit more about and then shopping accordingly, then the whole industry is gonna have to change cause it's all about money in the end.  4.3.1.2 Eating and the food context The second dimension of the participants' food habits involved their descriptions of eating or the context of the meal, where ideals were held with respect to how one should eat. At this level, other forms of ideals besides perceptions of healthy eating were given relatively more attention compared to what was the case for the ideals for food items/types.  Meal patterns Participants often mentioned meal patterns when describing how they thought one "should' or "should not" eat and almost everybody perceived eating regularly and having  62  frequent meals as important aspects of.'eating well" or having overall "good food habits". Craig mentioned how he considered his own tendency of "eating on the run" to be "bad", while others, such as Dave and Hugh, described how "just filling the gap" was a non-ideal way of eating. Many expressed negative attitudes towards skipping meals, particularly breakfast.  The food context The food context was often considered in relation to ideal eating, which for these twelve men's daily food habits meant eating food made at home or eating out in public eating establishments. One of the ideals for food habits which emerged with the strongest consistency across the sample was the participants' perceptions of food prepared at home as being "better" than food bought out in public eating establishments, mainly because it was believed to be "healthier". Some mentioned that the choice of public eating establishment as well as the food choice when eating at home would have to be taken into consideration when comparing the two contexts. However, Luke appeared to be the only participant who did not believe that, in general, eating in was "healthier" than eating out. Eating in was associated with "having control over what goes into the food". This meant being able to include the ideal foods and compounds, such as fruits and vegetables, fiber, "right food choices" and "ingredients that are good for me", but more importantly, avoiding the "bad" aspects, such as processed foods, preservatives. The most important benefit associated with homemade food was the avoidance of a high fat intake. Homemade food was also associated with other forms of ideals, such as being cheaper and giving the sufficient quantity and quality of food. Several forms of ideals  63  often contributed to the participants' perceptions of homemade food as being more ideal, as in this quote where Ben explained why he was trying to eat out less frequently: I've come to the point where I'm just sick of crappy food. Like I want good food, and I want to have control over that. I've been going out, for example, I went out for Greek food the other day. It was just loaded in grease. I spent 25 bucks. It tastes okay, but as I did it, it wasn't really worth it. What can I do for 25 bucks at home? You can do a lot. You can get tons of groceries, way better food choices, lots of leftovers that you can reuse for the next meal. I think I was really frustrated that I'd gone through a period of kind of being lazy and eating out.  The social context of the meal Some participants also mentioned ideals concerning the social context of eating, in that eating with others was considered to be the ideal context because the meal then became more of an "event" or an "occasion", as opposed to "just eating". However, compared to the ideal of homemade food, commensality emerged less consistently across the sample. It was more common to discuss the social context in terms of preferences and the meaning of commensality will therefore be described in more detail in section 4.3.2.1.  4.3.1.3 Food identity The third dimension of food habits moves the focus away from food and eating and over to the individual himself. The ideal food identity refers to possessing certain traits, or how the participants thought one should be as it related to food and eating. These ideals were perceived to be important pre-requisites for meeting the ideals associated with the two levels previously described.  64  Being organized The overall term being organized describes what several participants considered to be the ideal way of managing personal food habits. Being organized often implied shopping regularly for groceries and having food available in the kitchen, as well as planning the grocery shopping by writing shopping lists and planning meals in advance. Andrew, Dave and Hugh viewed being organized as an important pre-requisite for eating regularly and avoiding skipping meals, while others, such as Ben, Frank and Kevin mentioned how it was important in order to be able to prepare food and eat at home.  Being conscious Being conscious referred to the attitude one "should have" towards food and eating. This theme emerged consistently, as it was brought up by all the participants, with the exception of Craig and Kevin. The participants would either use the term directly or refer to it indirectly when discussing how they believed that one "should" give food and nutrition consideration. The participants would sometimes refer to specific ways of being conscious, such as being fat conscious, as in this example where Frank explained why he limited his visits to McDonald's: I mean McDonald's is not exactly a health food chain. And so trying to be reasonably, you know, fat conscious and what you put in your mouth conscious, I try to limit how many times I go to McDonald's. Other specific examples included being conscious of balancing meals or being conscious of food safety, such as being aware of Genetically Modified Organisms in foods. However, the meaning of being conscious would usually only be described in more  65  general terms such as "striving to be healthy", "health awareness" or "making reasonable decisions", as opposed to having "a who cares attitude" towards personal food habits. Being conscious was usually viewed as a prerequisite for meeting the previously described ideals as they related to the participants' perceptions of healthy food and healthy eating. In addition, Ian and Kevin both viewed consumer consciousness, in relation to environmental issues, as being part of an ideal food identity.  4.3.1.4 Summary - ideals The participants' ideals for food habits were organized along three dimensions, and for each of these perceptions of healthy eating emerged as the dominant form of the overall ideals. The first dimension concerned the food itself, where ideals were held for specific food items/types (including fruit and vegetables, meat in moderation and avoidance of fast- and junk foods), nutrients/compounds (reduced fat intake and avoidance of toxins) and food production/preparation (emphasis on 'natural' foods). The second level described eating and the food context and salient ideals at this level included eating regularly, eating in and commensality. Being organized and being conscious emerged as the most important aspects of an ideal food identity.  4.3.2  Personal Factors The most important personal factors that influenced and shaped the participants'  food choice process included preferences, personality, gender and physiological factors and health beliefs.  66  4.3.2.1 Preferences The participants' descriptions of their food-related activities often included comments about how certain likes or dislikes influenced their decision-making. Preferences therefore appeared to be important for influencing the participants' food choice process. However, the participants would often give relatively more attention to the other aspects considered when describing their decision-making, by discussing them in more depth and detail. Preferences therefore often appeared to be a basic premise that had to be present in order for any further weighting of the choice outcome could take place, as illustrated in this quote by Ian: "I don't like processed food, so it's not even really a choice, because I wouldn't have bought it in the first place."  Sensory preferences Taste appeared to be the most important component of food preferences. When asked the general question of what they considered when choosing what to eat, "taste", or "what I feel like" was often the first thing that the participants would mention. If taste was not immediately brought up, participants would mention it when probed, indicating that taste sometimes was a taken for granted consideration and therefore did not necessarily come to mind when the general question was posed. This is illustrated in the following quote from Hugh's interview: Okay, some of the aspects that I consider when I'm choosing what to eat are: If I'm preparing it: Quickness of preparation, not a whole heck of a lot of clean up. I am trying to be more aware of kind of the nutritional aspect of what I'm eating. Not in huge ways, but just in, you know, meal by meal choices that I'm making. And if I'm eating out I would say that the aspects of what I'm actually, I'm trying to be aware of, making healthy choices when I can, with the salad instead of fries, kind of idea. Uhm, yeah. [K: Taste?] Hugh: Oh, yeah, taste is always a good thing. Yeah, I mean taste always factors into it, for sure. And some days I feel like  67  something really specific and other days it's just like, okay (unclear) fill my stomach. In addition to taste, Dave, Ed and Kevin also mentioned how they sometimes: would consider the visual aspect in that they preferred to eat colorful food.  Other preferences The participants also described likes and dislikes that concerned other dimensions of their food habits beyond the food itself. The most striking similarity across the sample in this respect was that all the participants mentioned enjoying cooking as an activity. The participants also expressed preferences for certain food contexts. Many described likes/dislikes with respect to specific public eating establishments, such as having a "favourite breakfast place". Some participants also mentioned that they really liked eating out with their friends, and the food diaries and interviews contained many examples of this food context where the participants expressed enjoyment. Strongly associated with this enjoyment, was how many preferred to eat with others. For these twelve men eating at home usually implied eating alone (see also sections 4.3.4 and 4.4.1). Enjoying the commensality aspect of eating with others therefore often appeared to be an important part of the enjoyment of eating out with friends. In contrast, some participants described how they did not like to eat out alone in certain public eating establishments (see also section 4.4.3) and this dislike often became an important factor to consider in certain choice situations.  68  4.3.2.2 Personality In an attempt to explore how personality was understood to influence and shape their personal system for food choice, participants were asked to describe themselves as well as to reflect upon how they expressed their personality through their food habits. In many cases, the participants' responses indicated that they had not given these questions much thought and that they found them hard to answer. When describing themselves, participants would usually give a brief list of personality traits, and their reflection on how these influenced their food habits would usually include only a couple of examples. In most cases, participants would mention how the relationship between their personality and their food habits was something they did not have a clear understanding of and stress that their responses only were suggestions for possible influences: Yeah [thinks he expresses himself through food habits] I think everybody does. (K; Yeah, in what way?) Ian: Uhm, yes, I don't know, that's a hard question, I mean it's hard to put into words. Cause like I said about my friends and ex girlfriends who've been vegetarians, so I think that's something, a part of my personality. That I am attracted to people who are like that. I don't [know] how you even describe that, but. So that would be, when I go out to dinner, I don't wanna go out to dinner with somebody who wants to eat a big steak or, you know, wants to go to, you know, Denny's or something. (Ian) No clear themes emerged across the sample with respect to how personality was perceived to shape and influence the participants food habits, however, a few relationships were repeatedly recognized by several. Being "into food" and "eating nice food" seemed to reflect a certain level of "food style", which both Andrew and Frank perceived themselves to have. Hugh and Ian also brought up how they thought being "food adventurous" reflected their curious and open-minded personalities and the same trait was also understood by John as being the underlying reason for his interest in eating more raw food. Dave, Hugh and Ian also reflected upon how their "food consciousness"  69  was linked to being considerate or thoughtful people. Both Frank and George described themselves as being very social and believed that this was why they frequently ate with other people. Kevin, on the other hand, described himself as "not really outgoing" and somewhat shy and that this often caused him to choose to eat alone. The participants were also asked whether they thought other men expressed themselves through food habits and many, like Ed, believe that this happened: "Well I'd say you can definitely find out a lot about someone through what they eat". To illustrate the impact that personality was believed to have on men's food habits in general, the participants would often bring up examples. Ben and Frank both mentioned that foodrelated decision-making is related to class and that many men will exhibit their income level through their food habits. Frank described how going to fancy restaurants and eating only gourmet food could be a way for men to "show off their wealth, while only eating at McDonald's and "not caring" could be a reflection of "being cheap". Hugh thought that people's resistance to trying new things would be "consistent in their whole life experience", in that "white bred people" would be hesitant to try new foods. Some participants also conceptualized the relationship between personality and food habits as being reciprocal, by believing that what you eat also will impact who you are. John believed that eating foods "with high vibration (= raw, organic food) reflects the way you come across to people". In Kevin's opinion "raw foodists, vegans, vegetarians or whatever, for the most part I think those people are gonna be mellower people". He believed that eating meat makes a person more aggressive, because "you're eating the flesh of a tortured animal that's been raised in misery and pain". Dave agreed on the  70  association between aggression and meat eating and believed that aggressive men ate more meat.  4.3.2.3 Gender The participants were also asked to reflect upon how they believed that their own food habits compared to that of other, similarly situated men (same age, living alone in Vancouver). This question (as well as other parts of the interview) generated a remarkably consistent theme with respect to the participants' perceptions of the singlemale stereotype and what his food habits were like. The bachelor stereotype identified by most participants (all but Craig, George and John) was believed not to meet the ideal food identity of being organized and being conscious. Given that these were considered prerequisites for "healthy" or otherwise "ideal" eating, not possessing these traits was consequently associated with "bad" food habits. The single male stereotype, which Ben described as "the guy with the dirty place and the pizza boxes", was seen as eating out "all the time" and would usually choose fast food-style restaurants. The typical single male was also believed to give food and nutrition minimal consideration, which resulted in unhealthy choices and no "food style". As Andrew described: "You know that food to them [other men] is like slices of pizza and subway and it's like McDonald's and it's just like not just even a consideration for them..." The food habits of this male stereotype were often used by the participants as a point of reference to which they compared their own food habits. When making this comparison the participants would always emphasize how they perceived their own food habits as being "better", mainly because they were more concerned with their food-  71  related decision-making. Describing the single male stereotype's food habits thereby appeared to function as a means by which the participants constructed their own masculine identity as it related to food habits. In addition to not meeting the ideal food identity, the male stereotype was by some participants also perceived as not possessing the necessary resources in terms of food preparation skills. Again, this persona functioned as a point of reference by which the participants compared and judged themselves as "better". Possessing a certain level of food preparation skills therefore appeared to be an important aspect of how the participants perceived their own masculine identity. To further explore the participants' perceptions of gender influences on foodrelated decision-making, they were also asked whether they believed that any general differences existed between the food habits of men who lived alone and women who lived alone. Craig and Ian did not believe so, while John responded that he "could not really comment". However, all the other participants believed that men and women who lived alone would exhibit general differences in their food habits. When comparing the food habits of men and women who lived alone, the participants also tended to use the ideal food identity as a point of reference. Andrew, Dave, Ed, George, Hugh, Kevin and Luke all believed that women were more "conscious" in relation to personal food habits which caused them to have healthier diets than men. Andrew, Ed, George and Frank believed that this difference between genders was a result of women's relatively stronger emphasis on body image, which caused them to be conscious of their food intake from an early age.  72  Andrew, Ben, Dave, Frank and Hugh all believed that women who lived alone generally would be more "organized" around food than men who lived alone, which by some (Andrew, Dave and Hugh) was specified by viewing women as superior planners. Frank and Hugh both believed that differences in upbringing and other forms of socialization were the underlying cause of the perceived gender difference in meeting the ideal food identity of "being organized". Some participants also believed that women were more "organized" because of their higher level of consciousness around food habits. As Andrew explained: Yeah I think that women are much more conscious of their diets than men are, you know, they are much more concerned about getting fat, so they plan around their meals, you know. They plan what they are going to eat. Potential gender differences were also discussed in relation to food preparation skills. However, the general opinion was that men and women did not differ in their abilities to cook or otherwise prepare food. Ed was the only participant who thought that "on average" women were likely to possess better food preparation skills than men, while other participants, such as Ben, Craig and Luke, explicitly stated that they did not think that this was the case.  4.3.2.4 Physiological factors and health beliefs Participants rarely mentioned physiological traits as influencing their food-related decision-making. This may relate to the fact that none of them reported having any chronic physiological conditions, such as extreme food allergy or metabolic diseases, which could have restricted their choices, and many considered themselves to be "healthy" and described how they, in general, "felt good".  73  The anticipated short and long term effect of food intake on "health" and "well being" seemed to be of greater importance in shaping the men's personal system for food choice than their currently existing physiological traits. The participants' specific concerns in this respect varied across the sample and reflected the different underlying beliefs regarding the relationship between dietary intake and health. The extent that health beliefs impacted the participants' actual behaviour also varied, reflecting their different levels of 'health centered-ness'. Some participants placed a relatively stronger emphasis on the value of health when making their food-related decisions, while for others, other values were often of relatively greater importance. In general, the men in the higher end of the age range exhibited a higher level of "health centered-ness" than the younger men did, in that they all described implementing long term changes in their food habits because they believed it would be beneficial to their long term health. After turning 40, Hugh had started exercising regularly and "paying a little bit more attention to what [he] put into [his] body" by eating more fiber and less fat. This change was partly inspired by his father's previous colon cancer diagnosis, but the most important reason was, as Hugh said, to avoid becoming an "obese, middle-aged, couch potato [health professional]". The dietary changes included substituting his previous "junk food" snack items with fruit, always having a side salad with dinner and often choosing "light" products when grocery shopping. One year prior to participating in this study, Luke had changed his meal pattern from eating two large meals a day, to also including breakfast and a morning snack. He  74  believed that this change would lessen his probability of developing diabetes, which was prevalent in his family. In John's case, preventing aging and enhancing vitality was the main perceived benefit from having followed the Fit for Life diet "loosely" for ten years. This involved emphasizing either proteins or carbohydrates in a meal, as well as avoiding milk. Kevin, who had been a raw foodist for two years, probably represented the most radical change in food habits. This dietary change had started as part of his recovery from alcoholism, but Kevin also believed that the increased intake of enzymes in the raw diet would slow down the aging process and prevent the development of chronic diseases. Examples of dietary changes based on the belief about the relationship between diet and long term health were much less abundant amongst the younger participants. Ben described using a fiber supplement due to his concern about coronary heart disease, which was prevalent in his family. Other participants mentioned being concerned about the impact they believed their current food habits might have on their future health, but did not describe altering their behaviour. Body size was recognized as a physiological trait which food habits could influence within a relatively shorter time frame. Overall, weight management did not appear to be a strong influence on the participants' food-related decision-making. Yet, some of the men expressed concerns about weight gain (as in Hugh's example above), and this was often the reason behind their negative attitudes towards high fat foods. The perceived short term physiological effects of food intake appeared to be relatively more important for the food choice process. Many participants mentioned how the way eating certain foods "make[s] you feel" impacted their decisions, as in this quote,  75  where Ian described why he rarely ate at McDonald's: "...for the most part I feel terrible afterwards. So why should I go and eat food that makes me feel worse than I did when I, before I started?"  4.3.3 Resources For the twelve men who participated in this study, time, money and food preparation skills emerged as the resources that had the strongest influence on their foodrelated decision-making.  4.3.3.1 Time Time clearly emerged as the most important resource for shaping participants' personal system for food-related decision-making. Many of the participants expressed perceived limitations with respect to time, and "being busy", was often mentioned as the predominant reason for making certain decisions around food. All participants defined themselves as full time workers, and some recognized long work hours as contributing to their hectic schedule. In addition, many described spending substantial parts of their spare time engaged in activities away from their homes. As Craig explained: I don't spend very much time here [at home]. I'm always out doing something. If I'm not at work I'm usually with Jennifer [his girl friend] or out seeing a friend. I don't spend a whole lot of time at home. The participants who spent quite a lot of time away from home were left with less time available for food-related activities at home. Food-related decisions were often made to accommodate this, such as making something "quick and easy" or going out for food.  76  4.3.3.2 Money I did not ask any participants questions about their income or other factors influencing theirfinancialsituation, but they all had full time jobs and could afford to live in apartments on their own. It is therefore reasonable to believe that they were in a financial situation that did not threaten their food security. Not surprisingly, although monetary considerations still emerged as salient to consider in certain choice situations, they did not appear to place any severe restrictions on participants' overall food habits. The relative importance of monetary considerations did vary somewhat across the sample. Craig and John both described themselves as being on limited budgets when they participated in the study and recognized this as impacting their food habits. As Craig described: "Lack of funds and busier schedule has broken down to what I eat today." Other participants did not describe experiencing limited access to financial resources to the same extent as Craig and John did, and they were therefore not forced to place as much emphasis on monetary considerations when making a food-related decision. Many described themselves as spending a lot of money on food, but they also acknowledged that they were in a financial position where they could afford to do so. As George noted: "My job pays all right and stuff too. If my financial situation was different then maybe I would be more conscious of it [the amount of money he spends on food]." In short, the importance of monetary considerations varied between participants and the emphasis that each of them placed on this value in food choice situations appeared to be indirectly proportional to their perceived access to finances. Furthermore, the emphasis placed on monetary considerations also varied between the different choice  77  situations. Overall, money appeared to be less important than time in shaping the participants' food-related decision-making.  4.3.3.3 Space The majority of men who participated in this study lived in small bachelor apartments, but all appeared to have kitchens that were sufficiently equipped for storage and preparation of food. On the other hand, not all of them had a dining table, so some would therefore sit on their couch when they ate. George and Ian described how not having a proper table to dine at prevented them from cooking more elaborate meals and inviting people over for food. The limited space available in their apartments therefore made socializing over a homemade meal difficult.  4.3.3.4 Food preparation skills Even though the data contained examples where participants described not knowing how to make a certain dish and therefore choosing other options, this only represented a few specific instances. Overall the participants perceived themselves as holding sufficient skills with respect to food preparation and most of them described themselves as being "good cooks". The amount and type of preparation involved in.the meals the participants made varied, indicating that "being a good cook" might have had a somewhat different meaning across the sample. However, none of the participants recognized limited preparation skills as a factor that strongly impacted their food-related decision-making, and as mentioned in section 4.3.2.1 all of them enjoyed cooking as an activity.  78  As described in section 4.3.2.3, having a certain level of food preparation skill also appeared to be an important part of how some participants perceived their own masculine identity in that "being able to cook" and "fend for your self distinguished them from the male stereotype. The lack of ability to prepare food associated with the stereotypical man often evoked feelings of disrespect and pity, as illustrated in Ed's comment below: And I still know people, guys my age, who are thirty and they've been living alone for like ten years and they.just can't cook. It's like pathetic. I mean if anything, you gotta learn how to cook a little something. Ben, Craig and Ed also believed that possession of cooking skills could function as a means of impressing women: .. .cooking seems to be something that is becoming a lot more known for guys that are single. It's something that guys are more picking up, because they are realizing that: "Hey, you know what? If I cook a really good meal for a girl, they will try to date you. I've got (unclear) points there." It's, it's more of a: "Hm, if I learn how to cook I would be impressive, wouldn't I?" (Craig)  4.3.4  The Social Context of Living Alone The participants often provided rich and detailed descriptions of how they  perceived living alone impacted their food habits. In some situations living in a oneperson household was perceived to have certain positive effects on food habits, which primarily related to the freedom associated with one-person households as described in section 4.2.5. For example, Luke explained how living alone gave him a sense of "control" over his food habits, while several of the men who previously had lived with partners recognized that they had fewer limitations in their food choices, now that they  79  did not have to take the taste and preferences of another person into consideration. As a raw foodist Kevin seemed to be particularly appreciative of this lack of influence: ...if another person was sharing your accommodation, uh, you've got that much more of a chance of deviating from where you wanna be. So that would be an advantage. So living alone allows me to, to probably eat raw easier, than if I lived with someone else. But mostly, participants described how they believed that living alone had a negative effect on their eating habits. The absence of other household members was by many viewed as imposing certain barriers, which prevented them from meeting their ideals for food habits. Many mentioned how it caused them to be less organized or less concerned with their food habits, which was believed to result in less "healthy" eating. The perceived magnitude of this impact varied; some participants explicitly stated that they thought living alone made their food habits "way worse", while others were more moderate in their evaluations. John and Kevin did not think that living alone made their food habits less healthy, but mentioned how it prevented them from meeting other ideals, such as commensality. When judging their current food habits as "worse", participants would usually use their previous experiences, or future anticipations, of living with a female partner or in a family as their point of reference. The roommate household type was considerably less often used as a standard for comparison, and when referred to, the difference in current practices and previous experiences/future expectations appeared to be less prominent. On the other hand, many associated partner/family-households with food habits that were much "better" than their current practices, and these types of multi-person households therefore appeared to be viewed as the ideal context for healthy, or otherwise ideal, eating.  80  The two main ways in which the absence of other household members was perceived to result in "worse" food habits was lack of influence on food-related decisions and not having any one to share food-related activities with.  4.3.4.1 No influence on food-related decision-making Even if the "freedom" that living alone imposed on food-related decision-making was something that was enjoyed in certain situations, it was also associated with making the "wrong" decisions. Ben described how he saw living alone as being a "trade off in that he enjoyed the full freedom to manage his food habits however he wanted and not having to take any one else into consideration, but at the same time he believed that this non-restriction caused him to have a less ideal diet. This notion was supported by many other participants, and the underlying belief seemed to be that living with another person would cause them to be more "organized" and "conscious" around their food habits. As Dave explained: Well, if it [living alone] does affect it [food habits] for the worse I think. You're not quite so concerned about daily diets, like daily intake of certain, or particular foods. I'm often just trying to fill the gap and often just eat fast food because I don't have very much time. The absence of other household members seemed to result in lack of motivation to be "organized" and "conscious" because there was no one else "to care for" or to feel "responsible" for. Several of the participants mentioned how this also made them care less for themselves and engage in behaviours perceived as non-ideal. As Hugh described: I think my food habits would probably be better if I didn't live alone. [K: Oh, yeah?] Hugh: Yeah, and that would be because there would be some sense of responsibility for meals for other people. For me I can really, you know, if I'm busy just kind of skip a meal and kind of snack a little bit later or whatever. And I  81  think if I didn't live alone that would happen less frequently than it does. My food habits are probably less regimented, because I do live alone. Some participants also believed that the "care" and "responsibility" associated with multi-person households worked the other way around, in that other household members would exert control by encouraging them to make healthy food choices and discourage unhealthy choices. Graig, who had started living alone ten months earlier, after his marriage ended, expressed this notion the following way: It [living alone] makes them [food habits] worse than they were before. [K: Oh yeah? In what way?] Craig: Because I'm only, I don't have some one nagging, so to speak nagging at me just to eat more or to eat something better. I don't have someone sitting beside me going: " Oh maybe we should make a nice dinner or whatever else". It's because I'm alone, I don't have anybody to tell me that I can't have what I'm eating. So I'll eat whatever is gonna suit me at the time. [K: So you think it is worse?] Craig: Oh it's way worse.  4.3.4.2 No one to share food-related activities with The participants also often mentioned how the lack of other household members resulted in less inspiration and motivation to prepare food "just" for themselves. Although, theoretically, it would be possible for people who live in one-person households to plan, prepare and/or consume in-home meals with other people, the food diaries and the interviews indicated that, in general, this only happened occasionally for these twelve men. Cooking food and eating at home was something the participants usually did alone, which they often described as "no fun". This lack of motivation appeared to be an important contributing factor for why so many participants, even though they claimed to hold sufficient food preparation skills and enjoy cooking, frequently chose to either eat out or make "something quick and easy" at home. George, who was one of the participants who did the least cooking at home, explained how the  82  reduced enjoyment of food preparation in a one-person household was an important . underlying reason for his habits: I don't enjoy cooking, I don't get an actual joy out of, if I make a great, you know, piece of chicken, I don't get. Yeah, it's nice, but I don't get pleasure out of it, out of cooking for myself. Like the food, that's not where the pleasure of cooking comes from, it's not the, I don't know. It's preparing something for somebody else or for other people that I think, that's where my cooking pleasure, so no, I don't [cook just for himself]. Some participants also explained how eating out functioned as an important means of socializing and maintaining their relationships. As Ed described from when he first started living alone: ...I would be restless, kind of not happy to just be here alone sometimes. I'd come home from work and I'd just wanna go out, you know, maybe be social and that might include going out for dinner and stuff. The participants who made food at home on a more regular basis also acknowledged how the absence of other people caused them to feel less motivated and that they therefore chose foods what were quicker and easier to make as opposed to if they were cooking with, or for, others. John ate most of his meals at home and described the perceived impact of living alone on personal food habits the following way: Well probably one thing would be limited variety and also limited, more limited in terms of becoming extravagant and putting together a big, luxurious meal. That I'm not enjoying, that I'm not doing for myself. Like meals tend to be very practical, quick to do and nutritious as opposed to savoring and having a long extravagant meal. [K: And why do you think that is that you don't do that just for yourself, or?] John: Practical terms and also (pause), yeah, there's just one of me. It's making the choices that I'd rather do something else with that time. The specific reason why preparing elaborate food for just one person often was perceived to be pointless was often unclear, as in this quote, were Kevin described his previous food-related experiences:  83  When I was actually preparing food and cooking food, sometimes I sit there eating this meal of pork chops, potatoes, vegetable, with gravy, and I'd be thinking, you know: "Why am I doing this? Is this really necessary?" Kevin's quote does not specify whether it was the time spent, the effort, or the lack of commensality that created the sensation of "waste". But it was clear from his further explanations that the reduced food work associated with "going raw" was an aspect of this diet that particularly made sense to him given that he was living alone. Preparing food for one was often perceived to be more difficult than making food for several people. As Dave noted: "...cooking, for one person it's pretty hard to, like, literally just cook small, small amounts". Cooking for one would often result in making too much food and many had issues with throwing food away. The same problem was also described by some of the participants in relation to grocery shopping for one. As Andrew explained: It's really hard to, you know, shopping for one and stuff. Cause everything you buy, is, tends to be, you know, too much. You buy a loaf of bread, you know, you have to eat it so quickly that it's like you're stuffing yourself, or you're just going to throw it away or, you know. You just end up wasting so much food.  4.3.5 The Food Context of Vancouver While the participants' perceptions of their food context was not explicitly explored in the interviews, it is important to acknowledge a few aspects which characterize the 'foodscape' of Vancouver and hence influence the food habits of the people who live there. Vancouver offers a high variety of public eating establishments. This includes numerous restaurants and cafe's beyond the regular fast food places, which can be described as reasonably priced. Eating out is therefore considered affordable by many of  84  the city's inhabitants and enjoyed on a regular basis. As Ian commented: "..just eating out. Like Vancouver, it's so cheap...". Vancouver's demographic make up is highly multi-cultural, and this is reflected in the great variety of cuisines from all over the world offered in the restaurants and cafes. The more 'typical North-American' dishes, food types and restaurant chains are also available, as well as the more specific 'West Coast' foods.  4.3.6 Summary of Factors Influencing Food Choice The previous sections have presented the influential factors that seemed to be most important in shaping the participants' food-related decision-making, including their ideals for food habits, the personal factors, the resources available, the social context of living alone and their geographical location. In the rest of this chapter I describe the values that emerged from these influential factors in relation to a few specific types of food-related decisions.  4.4 The Food Choice Process for Specific Food-Related Decisions In this section I describe a few specific types of food-related decisions which appeared to be particularly important for the participants' food habits, including an overview of the choices made, and the values and value negotiations that emerged as salient from the participants' descriptions of making these decisions. A great variety was found with respect to the participants' food habits. Each man had his own way of organizing his food-related activities as well as his personal taste and preferences with respect to what, and how, to eat. But even though participants  85  experienced food habits that were unique for each of them, a few similar types of foodrelated decisions were repeatedly brought up in the food diaries and interviews and therefore appeared to be particularly important for the food habits of these twelve men. The three main decisions included: a) Choosing the 'food context', or deciding whether to eat in or out; b) Deciding what to eat when eating in: c) Deciding what/where to eat when eating out, as illustrated in figure 4.1. It is important to note that the decisions were partly interrelated, and did not necessarily occur in a step-wise manner, as the choice outcome of a) determined whether decision b) or c) was to be made, and the outcomes associated with b) and c) could be taken into consideration when making decision a). Nevertheless, patterns of values and value negotiations clearly emerged for each type of decision.  4.4.1 The Food Context The main food contexts that the participants chose between was 'eating in' or 'eating out'. 'Eating in' refers to all meals and snacks that were prepared and consumed at home as well as prepared at home and brought for consumption elsewhere (e.g. bringing lunch for work). 'Eating out' is defined as all meals/snacks that were bought out in public eating establishments, including take-out and delivery, as well as events that took place in public places/at work where the participants did not pay for the food (e.g. food provided by work place). 'Being a guest', or being invited over to other people's house for food, represented a third context. It differed from both 'eating in' (because the food-related work was carried out by others than the participants) and 'eating out' (because the food was not paid for) and was unique because it could not be chosen unless  86  Figure 4.1: Overview of the Specific Types of Food-related Decisions that Emerged as Most Salient for the Participants.  the offer had been made. 'Being a guest' did not contribute to a large proportion of the participants' eating events and is therefore omitted in the further analysis. Table 4.3 summarizes the participants' choices with respect to the food context as recorded in their food diaries. A more detailed overview of the food context for the specific meal types is presented in Appendix I. It should be noted that Appendix I only includes the events in the food diaries that the participants themselves had labeled as "breakfast", "brunch", "lunch" and "dinner". While the interviews confirmed that skipping of meals did occur, this does not necessarily mean that the participants went entirely without food. The events in the food diaries were in some cases given other definitions, for example, an evening eating event might have been labeled "snack" as opposed to "dinner". The discrepancy between number of days recorded and the number  87  Table 4.3: Choice of Food Contexts as Recorded in the Participants' Food Diaries. # Days* Total #** Eating in Eating out Being a guest Eating Events n ( % ) * * * n (%)*** n (%)*** recorded Participant 0(0) 13 (72) 5(28) 18 6.5 Andrew 2(7) 12 (43) 14**** (50) 28 8 Ben 15(79) 2(11) 19 6.25 2(11) Craig 3(17) 15 (83) 0(0) 18 7.25 Dave 11 (46) 12 (50) 1(4) 24 8 Ed 2(6) 13 (42) 16 (52) 31 7 Frank 16 (76) 4(19) 1(5) 21 7 George 0(0) 10(42) 14 (58) 24 7 Hugh 1(4) 14(58) 9 (38) 24 7.25 Ian 0(0) 3(10) 27(90) 30 6.5 John 0(0) 1(2) 40 (98) 41 7 Kevin 9(38) 13 (54) 2 (8) 24 7 Luke * Some of the participants did not complete a food diary for exactly seven full days. 0.5 means half day, while .25 means one meal. (In Craig and Dave's case .25 refers to a breakfast, while for Ian this means a dinner.) **The number presented in the columns "total in" and "total out" only includes what is defined as "eating events", which refers to all events were eating took place, from larger meals to small snacks. Grocery shopping and events where only beverages, such as coffee, beer and pop were consumed are excluded. ***The percentages are rounded up to the nearest whole number. ****Four of these events actually took place at Ben's girlfriend's house. These events are categorized as "eating in" because Ben conducted the planning and preparations.  of each type of meals might also reflect that participants forgot to record some of the events.  4.4.1.1 Values associated with choosing the food context The four values that emerged as the most salient for the participants to consider , when choosing whether to eat in or to eat out were convenience, social values, monetary considerations and health and nutrition. The participants also often mentioned taste and other preferences, such as enjoying eating out, but these rarely appeared to be considered as a value in itself. Taste/preferences would usually be mentioned in relation to one or several of the four other aspect(s) considered, and served to either increase or reduce the relative weighting of these.  88  Convenience/time When describing their decision-making with respect to choice of food context, the participants often mentioned the value of convenience and that eating out was the more convenient option, primarily because it saved time. As Andrew explained: [I]t comes down to me not shopping. So I get to this point where it's like: "Oh man I'm starving, I got to go get something to eat". Now it's either I'm gonna go.... When I get to that point I have a decision to make. Either I'm gonna go to the grocery store, which is gonna take, you know, 45 min, come back and then another 45 min to make my food. There is an hour and half. Or I'm gonna go and quickly grab something, right. And it's, you know, I usually make the most convenient decision, right, which is to just go out and get something. The importance of saving time seemed to vary both across the sample, as well as between different situations, according to the perceived availability of this resource. As in this quote from Ed's interview, aiming for convenience was sometimes not even perceived to be a choice, because the time-limiting circumstances made the participants feel that they had to do so: I find I probably cook less when I'm living alone. Partially because of the work I'm in right now is very intensive and I work long hours and it's hard to get back in time for a meal when I'm exhausted and I don't really wanna put a big effort into it. I wish I had more time at home, definitely, I would be cooking more. Variations in work intensity were associated with the differences in time available and many of the participants described going through periods of working long hours when they were more likely to eat out. These variations occurred over longer time stretches, . such as months or weeks, or from day to day, as in Ian's case where he ate dinner out on the days when he had an evening class: "I eat out a lot out of necessity of not being able to be here [at home]".  89  But even in situations where sufficient time for preparing food at home was perceived to be available, many participants would still prefer the more convenient option because they prioritized spending their time differently. As Ben noted: I find that the big healthy meal preparation at home get, you sort of have to put time aside for that and make that a priority. And I think sometimes I don't really see this a very high priority. In addition to time preservation, eating out was also associated with being convenient in terms of avoiding preparation and clean up. The participants often described how they chose to eat out because they were "lazy" or did not feel that they had the sufficient energy to cook at home. It was often unclear whether it was the preservation of time or labour that made eating out seem more convenient, as indicated in this quote by Frank: I don't know why we're eating out more, I guess it's just cause it's easy, you know. [K: Been more busy or?] Frank: Yeah, I guess, or I don't know. It just seems like I have less time but I'm not necessarily doing anything more. It just seems easier to go out than to cook. Several participants also mentioned that their emphasis on convenience when choosing the food context also was related to the obstacles associated with cooking for one (see also section 4.3.4.2). As Ian explained: []mostly I eat out a lot more [now that he lives alone]. [K: Yeah?] Ian: It's just not so fun to cook for yourself. [K: No?] Ian: You know, and amount. It's hard to cook smaller amounts.  Social value Participants also often chose to eat out to meet their needs to socialize. Eating with others was associated with enjoyment and the social value was often enhanced by the participants' preference, as in this example from George's interview: "That's one of  90  the biggest joys is going out with my friends to eat". In addition, some participants also expressed a certain sense of obligation to eat out with others, because they wanted to maintain their social relationships, as in this quote where Luke described how he would change his original plans of eating at home if people invited him to come out for dinner: Because my sort of philosophy, I'm not, with my friends it's generally when people call em and wanna do something... [K: Yeah?] Luke: ..I will do it with them. I don't, I find you don't, if you start turning people down on things too often, they stop calling. It's just, that's just the way it is and I value my friends. And I get enough time by myself without them, you know. Because eating out was viewed as the more convenient option, it also provided participants with more time left to socialize with their friends. Many mentioned that their social life went through phases, which caused them to eat out more or less frequently.  Health and nutrition The value of health and nutrition was often discussed in relation to the choice of food context. In general, homemade food was perceived to be "healthier" than food bought out in public eating establishments (see also section 4.3.1.2), however, variation was also recognized in relation to the specific choice situations, in that some participants pointed out that when making this comparison, where one went out to eat, as well as what kind offood was prepared at home needed to be taken into consideration. As Kevin described: But making food at home, yeah, I think you could do much better than going out, depending on where you go of course. Like of course, if you go to the real fast food places it's, that's a kind of a given. But, you know, the way I look at it, preparing food at home, is that you make the right choices when you're shopping and then if you have the food at home you will make the right choices when you're eating. But if you go shopping and you buy junk then you're gonna eat junk at home. So then you're better off going out.  91  Eating in was particularly viewed as the healthier context when compared to eating out in fast food restaurants, and several of the men explained how they felt more inclined to "trust" small scale restaurants. Other participants, such as Ed, expressed a more general distrust towards public eating establishments and seemed to think that eating in always was "better": So it's just, yeah, a matter of having enough food to eat and just knowing that it's, I made it, I know what's in it, I know it's containing these ingredients which are good for me. Where as it's kind of a gamble, you know, when you go out and eat for lunch, you know there is no, what kind of ingredients are they using, how much of it's like processed food, you know, stuff like that. When considering the specific food context situation participants tended to focus only on the choice of restaurant. Kevin's quote above was one of the few examples where the potential variation in the "healthiness" of food homemade was included in the comparison. For example, Hugh was the only participant who explicitly mentioned how food prepared at home also might be "processed": I think there has been a huge movement away from preparing food at home. And even food that is prepared at home now is, you know, three quarters prepared to begin with.  Monetary considerations Comparing the cost of eating out versus eating in was another aspect considered when choosing the food context, which usually favoured eating in. Even though many participants pointed out how Vancouver offers a variety of reasonably priced eating establishments, Andrew was the only one who explicitly stated that he thought it was cheaper to eat out.  92  The relative weighing of monetary considerations when choosing the food context varied with the participants' perceived financial situation. Craig and John both explained that they had been eating out less lately due to their limited budgets, while Ed had just received some extra money before he started the food diary, which caused him to eat out more than he normally would. Most participants did not discuss their perceived financial situation in relation to choosing the food context. However, cost was still a value that was consider when choosing whether to eat in or out. This appeared to be particularly important for meals that took place within participants' work hours, such as the lunch meal. As Frank explained: I'm pretty focused on making sure I always, if I'm eating something like I always make sure I have leftovers for lunch the next day, because I just can't, I don't like buying lunch everyday cause I figure it's just a big drain on the wallet... Like I don't mind, I like going out for lunch like once a week, maybe twice, but never more than that. So, yeah, I always bring lunch and I always plan to do that.  Negotiating values The participants' descriptions of choosing the food context indicated that they all tended to categorize the two possible choice outcomes of eating in or eating out as accommodating or compromising the four values described (convenience, social value, health/nutrition and monetary considerations). Even though variations existed between participants and specific choice situations, as well as over time, a remarkably strong consistency was found with respect to which values were associated with each of the two food contexts, in that eating out usually was perceived as more convenient and  93  accommodating the social value, while eating in was believed to be healthier and cheaper. Given the dichotomous nature of this decision, as well as the relatively stable association between the values and the two choice outcomes, choosing the food context not only implied accommodating two of the values, it also meant (at least to some extent) compromising the other two. The value(s) that emerged as most important in the given situation would determine the outcome of the decision and it therefore became important to prioritize values when choosing the food context. Participants tended to consider several of the four values (convenience, social value, health/nutrition and monetary considerations) simultaneously when choosing the food context (eating in or eating out) and would usually include both values that their choice accommodated. This is illustrated in the quote below where Ed explains why he had been eating out more often than usual in the week he recorded the food diary: I'd just come in with some more money so I had some more finances. And work was pretty hectic, so I found that for that week I was eating out quite a bit. There was a couple of birthday dinners, I was eating out at lunch at work. And, you know, when I do have money I'm really good, or bad at spending it, so (laughs). I found that this week was particularly bad for eating out for me, I did it quite a bit. You know, which is nice but it wouldn't really reflect how I eat at home as much. Ed's quote also illustrates how the prioritization of values was context dependent and varied over time. Within the specific context of that week, the value of convenience became particularly important to Ed due to a hectic work schedule, social relationships were highlighted, and monetary considerations were less important due to the recent improved financial situation. These relative weightings caused Ed to choose what he perceived to be the less ideal food context.  94  The participants' general habits with respect to choice of food context also reflected how some of them prioritized certain values in a more consistent manner than others did. Those who tended to consistently chose one food context over the other (see table 4.3), appeared to have a relatively stable ranking of values. Although they might also consider the values that their choices did not accommodate, the food context they chose met the value(s) that were the most important to them and that these priorities were relatively consistent over time. Being a raw foodist, Kevin prepared almost all his food at home. He had chosen to follow this diet because he believed that it was healthier, hence his habits of eating in reflected his emphasis on the value of health and nutrition when choosing the food context. In addition, he also described himself as not having a strong need to socialize, which perhaps made it easier for him to choose what he perceived to be healthier. John also ate most of his meals at home, and while he too was concerned about eating healthy, his main reason for eating in seemed to be monetary considerations. George's habits with respect to choice of food context were located at the other end of the continuum, in that he frequently ate out. In contrast to Kevin, George described himself as being very social and believed that this was an important influence on his food habits: I have a lot of friends and, yeah, I spend a lot of time with my friends I believe. I really do cherish my friendships and my social, it's a (unclear) part of who I am, I think, so I think food does play a part, a big part of that. [K: [I]n that you meet people for food and...] George: Yeah, yeah. That's how I maintain those relationships. When describing his food-related activities, George tended to place less emphasis on healthy food and healthy eating, compared to most of the other participants. His lower  95  'health centered-ness' might have made it easier for George to meet the social value that was so important to him. Furthermore, George also described how he did not mind the increased expense associated with eating out frequently, but unlike John, he did not perceive the same limitation in access to this resource: Yeah, I know I'm terrible [at spending money], but the pleasure that I get from it, makes my life, to me it's worth, that's what I spend my money on. I don't have a lot of stuff, it's not important to me. My relationships and my social well being is more important than saving up [for] the grand car, you know. But the fact that my job pays all right and stuff, too. If my financial situation was different, then maybe I would be more conscious of it [the money he spends on eating out], but I don't know. Even if a participant's choice of food context reflected which value(s) were prioritized as being most important in the given choice situation, this is not to say that the values associated with the other alternative were not taken into consideration. The data contained many examples where the participants described inner conflicts between values when making this decision. This appeared to happen more often for those participants whose food context habits were located between the two extremes. For these men, the values associated with each food context might have been more of equal importance compared to what was the case for the participants who tended to choose one of the options in a more consistent manner. Thus, it would vary from situation to situation which value(s) they chose to accommodate. Dave, who seemed to eat most of his meals out, explained that his habits recently had changed due to various factors, including being busier: "I would say in the last four months my eating habits have been changed to less cooking in, at home, and more eating out." Unlike George, Dave expressed detailed opinions of what healthy food and healthy eating meant and like most other participants  96  he perceived eating in to be the ideal food context. His recent change in habits therefore implied a "trade off of values, which caused a certain sense of guilt: [Healthy eating is]... just eating more regularly and a regular diet that didn't consist of like fast food, basically. Now, I mean I hate to say it, but I eat quite a lot of fast food. Not that I like it, but it's just more convenient. The notion of value conflict was also expressed by several of the other participants whose food context habits were located between the two extremes, and it was particularly the "trade off between convenience and other values that was given attention. Ed described how his hectic work schedule meant that he often chose to eat out for convenience even though: "I would like to see myself cook at home more and eat at home more, for both financial reasons and health reasons." Ed related this value conflict to the broader context the following way: I just think it's sad these days cause in this high tech world that everyone's living in, really fast pace, everyone's working all the time. You know, technology was supposed to create more time for us, to have more leisure time and enjoy life more. But it's done the exact opposite, where people work like crazy amounts of hours. And it's not that they don't want to eat healthy and cook at home and be, have a healthy, nutritious lifestyle, it's just that time isn't always permitting. Cause it does take time to do the shopping, come home, make a meal and like I said when you're at work all the time, then I'm more likely to just go and grab a dinner.  Summary: Choosing the food context Eating in and eating out emerged as the two main food contexts in these twelve participants' daily food habits, and choosing the food context was often discussed as a separate food-related decision. Making this choice was associated with four values, including convenience, social value, health and nutrition and monetary considerations. Taste/preferences functioned to enhance or diminish each of these, but did not appear to  97  be considered as a separate value. The four values were relatively consistently associated with each of the two food contexts, in that eating out usually was perceived to be the more convenient option which also met the social value, while eating in was believed to be healthier and cheaper. Prioritizing values was important because choosing one food context over the other also meant compromising (at least to some extent) the values that this context did not meet. The participants who consistently tended to choose one food context over the other appeared to have a more stable inner ranking of these four values, compared to the participants whose food context habits were located between the two extremes. The latter group was also more likely to describe inner conflicts in relation to this food-related decision.  4.4.2 Eating In This section will first provide an overview of the participants' food choice practices when eating in with respect to the different meal types, followed by a description of the values identified from their descriptions of making this decision.  4.4.2.1 The participants' eating in habits The main meals where participants chose to eat in, included breakfast on workdays, lunch at work, and dinners.  98  Breakfast on work days Most participants usually started work early in the morning and they all tended to have relatively regular food routines at this time of the day. Table 4.4 summarizes the participants' workday breakfast habits. Only five participants regularly ate breakfast in on work days. Food choices for the breakfast meal tended to be similar over time, with cereal and milk or toast being most typical. However, Kevin would usually have a fruit smoothie and Luke ate a mix of fruit, berries, vegetables, nuts, granola and bread. John's breakfast habits were also somewhat different from the other participants, in that he tended to have more variation in his choices, including hot or cold cereal, eggs or pancakes.  Lunch at work All participants defined themselves as full time workers and food consumption during work hours therefore became an important part of their overall food habits. The participants' work lunch habits are summarized in Table 4.5. Participants varied with regards to how often they brought food from home to have for lunch. Kevin was the only participant who said he always brought his lunch. Hugh usually brought a lunch from home, but would occasionally buy take out food to bring to his office. John worked at home and he could therefore prepare his lunch meal right before eating it. Ben, Ed, Frank and Luke's habits varied from day to day, in that they sometimes would bring lunch and other times choose to eat out. (The other five men usually ate their lunch out; their habits will therefore be described in section 4.4.3.1.) Food choices varied, but each participant seemed to have fairly set habits. Ed, Frank and  99  Table 4.4: The Participants' Breakfast Habits on Workdays. Food context Participant In Skips Out Food choices when in Andrew Ben Craig Dave Ed Frank George Hugh Ian John**  No Often Sometimes No Sometimes* Often* No Rarelv No Usually  Sometimes Sometimes Often Sometimes No Sometimes Usually No I suallv Rarely  Kevin Luke  Usually* Usually  No No  Often About 1/3 Sometimes j Often nilen No No Usually No No No Rarely  N \ Cereal and milk | Toast i N/A Toast, fruit, cereal Cereal, milk N/A Cereal, milk N/A " " ,. • Various: Cereal, yogurt, fruit or eggs, pancakes Fruit smoothie Fruit, vegetables, berries nuts, granola, bread  *Ed, Frank and Kevin described bringing the food from home and eating it at work. Ed would also sometimes have breakfast at work, where he and his coworkers supplied their kitchen with food. **John works in his home office.  Kevin usually had leftovers from yesterday's dinner; Ben, Luke and John tended to bring a sandwich, while Hugh usually brought a ready made frozen burrito from his freezer.  Dinners Dinner was the third meal type where eating in frequently occurred. The participants' dinners in as recorded in their food diaries are presented in Appendix J. It should be noted that this appendix only includes the meals that took place at home (see appendix K for dinners out) and that evening meals that participants did not define as "dinner" are not included in either Appendix J or Appendix K. Participants might still have eaten food in the evening but defined these events as "snacks" etc. The possibility that some dinners were not recorded should also be considered when interpreting these tables.  100  Table 4.5: The Participants' Habits of Bringing Lunch to Work Food choices when Participant Food context bringing lunch Out In No  Andrew Ben  _Often Rarely Rarely  Dave  Ed Frank  Ian  .J_N/A_  Almost alwavs  i N.'A  Often 1-2 times per week  L'suall) "No"  Alwavs Sometimes Alwavs  _ i  Almost always Always Usually  John Kevin Luke  Almost always  Often Usually  George  Hugh  N A Sandwich lcfto\ers  Mways (Mien  Usually leftovers Usually leftovers N/A- r  Rarely No 1 time per week  Frozen burrito and fruit N/A Sandwich Leftovers, fruit Sandwich  The specific food choices for dinners in varied, however, certain types of dishes were frequently chosen. This included pasta (Andrew, Craig, Ed, George, Hugh and Ian), stir-fries (Ben, Ed) as well as meals consisting of staple, protein and vegetable(s) (Ben, Hugh, John and Luke). The interviews further confirmed that the meal types recorded in the food diaries usually were quite representative of what the participants tended to make for dinner.  4.4.2.3 Values associated with deciding what to prepare and eat when eating in The three main values that emerged from the participants' descriptions of choosing what to prepare and eat when eating in included taste/preferences, convenience and health and well-being. In contrast to choosing the food context, monetary considerations were rarely referred to in relation to choosing what to eat at home. Only a few of the participants described considering the cost of food in relation to eating in (John, Kevin), while others explicitly stated that they did not care about the cost of groceries (Ben, Hugh, Ian). For  101  some participants, the emphasis on monetary considerations varied depending on their financial situation (Ed), or the different food items that they purchased (Luke). Because of the apparent lack of salience of monetary considerations, they will not be discussed further in this section.  Taste/preferences Taste (or other preferences) clearly emerged as a separate value when the participants described how they chose what to eat when eating in. The descriptions of this value were usually brief, such as "like", "wanted" or "didn't feel like", but it still appeared to be very important because it was frequently mentioned. Taste was also often mentioned (and discussed in more detail) when the participants retrospectively described the overall experience of an eating-in event. Taste considerations were mostly based on previous experiences. Each participant seemed to have a repertoire of foods that he knew he liked and therefore safely could choose from. Many described frequently choosing the same foods and seemed to have certain habits for what they would prepare and eat at home, which was (at least partly) dependent on what they knew they liked. As Ian explained: "...I have certain foods that I like and that I tend to cook for myself. Participants also considered variation within this repertoire important, which meant short-term variations, as well as making something they knew they liked because it had been a long time since they last ate it. The data also contained a few examples where the participants prepared foods for themselves that they had never made before. "Wanting to try something new" appeared to be another way of enhancing variation by aiming to extend the repertoire of options.  102  When deciding to try something new, the participants often described anticipating that the food would taste good based on the way it looked or other people's recommendations. When considering the value of taste in relation to deciding what to prepare and eat at home, the participants mainly seemed to focus on the flavours of foods, but preferences concerning other properties of the food would also sometimes be mentioned. This included other sensory aspects, such as liking colorful foods (Kevin), preferring something hot for lunch (Ben), liking the crunchiness of cereal (John), or enjoying the actual preparation of certain food items.  Convenience Even though the relative importance varied between participants and contexts, convenience appeared to be quite salient for the food-related decision-making when eating in, because it was brought up by all the participants, as well as in relation to a variety of settings. The main aspect of convenience considered for this food-related decision was saving time. As Luke described: It's [meals at home], you know, it's just eating. It's just basically designed to be, to be spending as short a time and as little clean up and as little preparation as possible. Many participants described having developed certain routines to make their food work more efficient. For example, the food choices for breakfast on workdays were clearly accommodating the value of convenience, when time usually was very limited because many prioritized sleeping as long as possible. Some participants also described eating their breakfast at work in order to save time. Frank and Kevin usually brought their breakfast with them (a time saving strategy which Ed also sometimes used), George  103  always ate the cereal provided in his office, while Craig frequently bought breakfast in the cafeteria. "Being rushed" in the morning was also the main reason why so many participants tended to skip breakfast. Bringing leftovers was a time saving strategy applied by some participants in relation to work lunch, which in turn could impact the decision-making in relation to the dinners in. As Frank explained: "...if I'm eating something like I always make sure I have leftovers for lunch the next day..." Given the limited time in the morning, Ben and Kevin described preparing lunch the previous evening, while Luke had taken this one step further, by applying a "production line" method where he would make up sandwiches for four days at the time. Wanting to make something "quick and easy" was also often described as the underlying reason for choosing what to have for dinners when eating in. The time and labour involved in preparing dinner meals did, in general, appear to be fairly limited. When time spent on preparation was recorded in the food diaries, or discussed in the interviews, it would often be around 15 minutes and rarely extend to one hour. Furthermore, the sauces, dressings and so on included in Appendix J, were usually bought ready made, and only Ed and Kevin seemed to routinely make these from scratch. The emphasis on convenience in relation to dinner in could have been explained by the fact that the participants all were full time workers and many described how they were "feeling tired" after work. However, no general difference in the food choices or preparation involved were apparent between dinners on the days when the participants worked and their days off. Other influences therefore seemed to be of more importance in causing the emphasis on convenience. In this respect, many participants mentioned the  104  reduced motivation associated with cooking "just" for one (see also 4.3.4.2). As Craig explained: I'm an awesome cook, but I don't cook for myself. I like cooking when I have company over, or if I have got someone to cook for. Just to cook for myself isn't fun. [K: Why not?] Craig: I don't know. Like I mean I've actually done, I've cooked myself dinners....[] But it's just a hassle, I never eat it, unless I have somebody coming over. If I'm just cooking for myself it's just something quick and easy that I can clean up and that's it. The participants' descriptions of planning and preparing dinner for guests also indicated that more time and effort were spent given this social context. Some of the participants also described having certain routines which aimed to overcome the obstacles associated with cooking for one as described in section 4.3.4.2. For example, the use of leftovers for the following day's lunch was also a way of using the extra food and avoiding the "waste" which many experienced as a problem. Several participants also described buying meat and dividing it into single serving sizes before freezing it, so that what was needed for one portion could be thawed at the time.  Health and well-being The value of "health and well-being" refers to the participants' perceptions of healthy food and healthy eating as described in section 4.3.1, as well as the more immediate physical feelings they anticipated achieving by consuming certain foods as described in section 4.3.2.4. Overall, the value of health and well-being appeared to be given less emphasis than taste and convenience and its relative importance clearly varied between participants. For John and Kevin, health/nutrition was a very important value. Ben, Hugh and Ian frequently mentioned health/nutrition, but appeared to give this value relatively  105  less emphasis. Craig, Dave and George rarely mentioned health in relation to this type of decision-making, however, it should be noted that they were among the participants who frequently ate out. The aspects of healthy eating mentioned in relation to this decision varied from wanting to include or avoid specific nutrients and food compounds, to just "wanting something healthy". A relatively equal importance was also given to the well-being aspect of this value. For example, "wanting something hearty/filling" or "wanting something light" was often described as the underlying reason for choosing certain foods when eating in and the participants' perceived physical state at the time when the decision was made was therefore an important influencing factor. This is illustrated in this example from Ian's interview: So because I was feeling a little run down I felt that that's what I needed. Like I needed, because I'd been sort of picking on things for a couple of days, so I felt like I needed a big, sort of almost heavy meal that I got energy from.  Negotiating values Compared to choosing the food context, deciding what to prepare and eat at home presented the participants with a much broader spectrum of potential choice outcomes.. Participants still categorized their options as meeting the values to various degrees and prioritized between them. However, conflict between values was not described in relation to this type of food-related decision. In most cases the choice accommodated one, two or even all three of the values. This is not to say that the choice outcome always met all these three values to the same degree. For example, choosing something that was considered to be "very convenient" sometimes meant giving up something that was  106  perceived to be "very healthy". However, given that eating in still was considered to be healthier than eating out, no decision made at home appeared to be understood to completely contradict the value of health. The choice would therefore "somewhat" meet the value of health at the same time as it was "very convenient". Values therefore rarely seem to contradict each other, and the prioritizing meant deciding which value(s) most needed accommodation, without entirely compromising the other(s).  4.4.3 Eating Out This section will first provide an overview of the participants' habits with respect to choice of eating establishments as well as food choices when eating out, followed by a description of the values that emerged in relation to these food-related decisions.  4.4.3.1 The participants' eating out habits The main meal-types for which participants chose to eat out included breakfasts, lunch at work and dinners.  Breakfasts Ian was the only participant who described routinely buying his breakfast on the days when he worked by picking up a coffee and a pastry/sandwich on the way and eating it when he got to his work place. Craig would often buy breakfast in the cafeteria at work, while George's work place provided breakfast food in the office and he would always have a bowl of cereal there. Other participants (Andrew, Ben, Dave, Frank and occasionally John) had also recorded eating breakfast out on workdays in their food  107  diaries, but for them this appeared to be an exception rather than the rule. Andrew would sometimes use an option similar to Ian's, while Ben, Dave and Frank all had recorded one event where they went to McDonald's on their way to work. On the other hand, many participants described frequently going out for breakfast on their days off. With the exception of Craig, John and Kevin, all of the other participants ate breakfast out on either Saturday or Sunday (or sometimes both) almost every week and several mentioned that this was one of their favorite types of eating events. The participants' habits of eating breakfast out on the weekend appeared to be related to their broader food context. As Ian noted: "It's quite a common thing to do, obviously in Vancouver. It's a good Vancouver tradition, so I do do that." When going out for breakfast on the weekend, the participants usually went to casual cafes and diners and most of them tended to have only a few establishments that they would choose between. As Hugh described: "Very often on the weekends, either Saturday or Sunday, I go out for breakfast with some friends, and we have kind of a few restaurants that we typically go to." The choice of food was also fairly consistent in that most participants tended to have North American style breakfasts (eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast) or omelets.  Lunch at work Eating work lunch out appeared to be relatively common across the sample and John and Kevin were the only participants who rarely, or never, seemed to do so. Andrew, Craig, Dave, George and Ian seemed to almost always eat lunch out, while Ben,  108  Ed, Frank, Hugh and Luke varied with regards to how often they would eat out for this meal. As presented in Table 4.6, the types of eating establishments the participants chose to go to for lunch varied, and included take out places (Andrew, Dave, Ed, Hugh, Luke), diners/cafeterias/restaurants where they would either sit down to eat (Andrew, Ben, Ed, Frank, George, Luke), or bring the food back to work (Ian), as well as cafeterias provided by the work place itself (Craig, Luke). Many described having regular places that they would go to, and these habits seemed to be more set for those who ate out more frequently. The food choices for lunch meals purchased out varied across the sample, but each participant described fairly set habits for what (or what kind of foods) he usually ate. Sandwich (and soup) seemed to be a common choice by several, as well as various Asian foods.  Dinners out Compared to the meal types already described, eating out for dinner was much more common across the sample. During the week of recording the food diary most of the participants (with the exception of John and Kevin) had eaten dinner out at least three times (including both work days and days off). This might not necessarily be representative of what usually took place, but Ed and Luke were the only ones who explicitly stated that they usually ate dinner out less frequently. The participants' dinners out as recorded in their food diaries are presented in Appendix K. Participants' choices of restaurants and foods were much more diverse when  109  Tahlp 4.6: The ParticiDants' Habits of Going Out for Lunch on Work Days. Food choices Social Where? Name context Andrew  Always  Ben  Often  Craig Dave  Almost always Almost always  Ed  Often  Frank  1-2 times per week  George  Always  Hugh Ian  Sometimes Always  John* Kevin  Rarelv No 1 time per week  Luke  Cafes and delis close to work place Various places; Malls, cafeteria (depends on where he is) Cafeteria at work Various independent fast food places close to work place Various places close to work place Various Asian places close to work place A few diners/cafes close to work place Delis (take out) Cafeteria across the street  Cafeteria at work, Chinese restaurant across the street, deli (take out)  Sandwiches  Alone  Various: Sandwiches, combo meals Various entrees Slice of pizza, donnair Japanese food, burritos Sushi, Dim Sum, Thai food, Greek food Sandwich and soup Sandwich Soup and sandwich  Alone  Sandwiches, various entrees, Chinese food  Coworkers Alone/ coworkers Coworkers Coworkers  Alone/ coworkers Coworkers \ \ N/A Coworkers  *John worked in his home office.  eating out for dinner, compared to the other meal types, and included foods from all over the world, with perhaps an emphasis on Asian, as well as North American, cuisines. The kinds of eating establishments frequented were usually more casual cafes, diners and restaurants, but fast food places, such as buck-a-slice pizza places and the larger chains were also used. Most participants would also use take out or delivery food every now and then, but this did not represent a large proportion of their total eating out events.  110  .  Social contexts when eating out The majority of the participants' eating out events happened in the company of other people, and going out to eat with others was something many enjoyed and viewed as an important part of their social life (see also section 4.3.2.1 and 4.4.1.1). Most participants seemed to have a relatively small number of individuals with whom they would repeatedly go out to eat, including coworkers for work lunches and close friends and partners (for those participants who were in relationships) for dinners and weekend breakfasts. In general, it was much less common for participants to eat out alone. Eating out alone was viewed as quite a different experience than eating out with others, and as will be described in section 4.4.3.2, depending on the social context, participants often emphasized different values when making their decisions in relation to eating out. As Luke explained: Well, it's just different. You know, I mean, when I go out with my friends I go out to enjoy the company and enjoy the food. When I'm by myself it's, I'm really more looking for convenience. Several participants explicitly mentioned how they usually would not eat out alone (Craig, Dave, Ed, Frank, Hugh, Luke) and some of them associated eating out alone with a certain level of awkwardness. As Hugh-explained: "I just tend not to be all that comfortable now, going out by myself." Some also considered eating out to be a social event, which made them less likely to go out alone. As Ed noted: I don't know [why he does not eat out alone], it's just that usually if I'm gonna be going out to eat, it's with some, seems to be part of that social relationship, you know.  Ill  The importance of socializing with others when eating out seemed to vary with the different meal types. Typically, socializing seemed less significant at the times of the day when time was perceived to be limited, such as breakfast and lunch on workdays. As Dave noted: I don't like going out to a restaurant alone and eating alone. [K: No? Why not?] Dave: Well I've never tried that before. I mean I'm not, I mean I've had breakfast alone, but that's just kind of like getting your (unclear) fast in the morning, it doesn't have to be with anybody really. Not, not that dinner does too. Maybe I just feel like it should be more social. Andrew, George and Ian were the only participants who regularly ate out alone in table service restaurants; they all exhibited a relative high comfort level with this specific food context. All three explained how they preferred to eat out alone in certain situations, such as when Ian ate dinner out by himself between his daytime job and his evening classes: "And again in a day where I'm actually in front of class for nine hours, I love the forty minutes to myself.  4.4.3.4 Values associated with choosing where and what to eat when eating out Compared to eating in, a larger number of values were usually included in the decision-making when eating out, because eating out meant deciding not only what to eat, but also where to go. This might be viewed as two separate decisions, but since one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing where to go was what food the establishment offered, the decisions were highly interrelated and values associated with both the food and the place were simultaneously considered. These included taste, preferences, monetary considerations, health and maintaining social relationships.  112  Taste Taste emerged as one of the most important values considered in decisions relating to eating out. Again, the mentions of this value were usually kept quite brief, such as "like", "wanted" and "what I feel like". The term "good food" was often mentioned, but as George acknowledged when describing what made him choose where to go, the underlying meaning of this concept was not entirely clear: ...the food has to be good. It doesn't have to be, it has to be good quality food, I don't know, that's getting into philosophical questions about what good is and what quality is.. Others (Andrew and John) also mentioned "quality" as part of "good food", but in general "good food" seemed to refer to what the participants considered to taste good. Taste preferences when eating out were often discussed in relation to types of food, which usually meant the ethnic origin of the specific cuisine. Other times the decision-making was directed by wanting a specific food item. Taste was mainly based on the participants' previous experiences, and similar to when eating in, they often seemed to have a repertoire of options for eating out from which they could safely choose. In many cases this resulted in fairly set habits for eating out and many participants repeatedly ate at the same restaurants (and often even got the same food), and having such habits seemed for many to be a way of avoiding disappointment by "knowing what you'll get". In addition, the data also contained a few examples where the participants chose dishes that they had never eaten before at their "regular" restaurants or went to eating establishments where they had not been earlier. Trying "new" options were usually inspired by recommendations from friends or  113  coworkers, or based on other sensory perceptions of the food, such as "looking appetizing", or "smelling good".  Other preferences The participants also described having preferences for certain eating establishments which were associated with aspects other than the food itself. When describing why they chose a certain restaurant, they often mentioned how they "enjoyed" eating there, or considered it to be a "nice", or "good", place.. The underlying meaning of a "good restaurant" varied both between participants and situations, but consistency was found with respect to a few restaurant-related criteria. Most participants seemed to prefer "casual" restaurants, cafes and diners, over more formal eating establishments. Many still considered the "environment" or the "atmosphere" of the place, which sometimes included factors such as "lighting", "music" and "decor", or features such as having a patio or a good view. Many valued being "familiar" with a restaurant, both in relation to the menu and the place itself, such as "knowing the staff, and this seemed to be an important reason why many tended to go to the same places repeatedly. Given the awkwardness that was associated with eating out alone, many participants described how they emphasized different criteria for a "good restaurant" depending on the social context. As Ben explained: Some places are set up so it's okay to be on your own and eating. So like McDonald's is no problem, right, where as if you go to a fancy restaurant and sit by yourself it's not cool. So there is all these different types of places and depends on what they're serving, what time of day it is and all this kind of thing. This Chinese food place for example, everyone just sits around this table on stools, they'll talk to each other, they'll watch TV. It's very casual for single people to go  114  in there. The breakfast place, I don't know, I think you could though, the one right here, that I would probably go to. But again, I would probably want a newspaper. I think that's a big part of it, when you are eating out, some restaurants is not as conducive to reading, maybe. The importance of a "casual" atmosphere, being familiar with the place and being able to read when eating out alone were also mentioned by several other participants. Some also mentioned how they would choose places where the service was quick, or get their food as take out if they were by themselves (Craig, Dave, Ed, Hugh, Luke).  Convenience Similar to the food-related decisions described earlier, convenience also emerged as an important value in relation to eating out, and the most important aspect of convenience in this context also seemed to be to save time. This usually meant choosing conveniently located restaurants and this aspect often appeared to be essential for the place to even be considered by the participants. A convenient location was particularly important in situations where time was perceived to be limited, such as when eating out during lunch break. The participants would then usually choose places that they could walk to. A close location was also somewhat important when eating out at other times of the day, but varied with other factors such as where the participants lived and the social context. In addition, some participants also described going to eating establishments which they considered to be "quick", particularly when eating out during work hours, or, as mentioned earlier, when eating out alone. As Andrew described: "So when I'm alone I just, I grab something that is fast, I'll go for sushi at a sushi bar and just get something, you know, quick food."  115  Monetary considerations While money did not appear to be a limiting resource in shaping these twelve men's food-related activities, cost was still frequently discussed in relation to eating out. The participants did not seem to only focus on the price in itself, but rather what they expected to get for that price, or as John put it: "the value for the money". Getting "good food" was important in this respect, and the value of taste was often mentioned together with monetary considerations. In addition, monetary considerations often included an evaluation of the quantity served, as in this quote from Ed's interview: I've hung out with my richer friends enough to know that, you know, it's really easy to get ripped [off] when you're going out to eat, you know, and it's like you go and spend fifteen, twenty dollars on an entree and you're still hungry it's just ridiculous. So that stuff plays a concern when I decide to go out somewhere. And I kind of have it down now where I know certain places where I like to go and where I'm gonna actually get a substantial amount of food. Getting the sufficient quantity of food appeared to be quite important for most participants when they ate out, and many described repeatedly going back to restaurants where the portions were "filling". The data also contained examples where quality of food to a certain extent was traded for quantity, as in this quote where Ed described a restaurant he often went to with his friends: "It's not particularly amazing quality, but it's, it's not bad and it's cheap and it's a large quantity of food, so I kind of like that." In general, monetary considerations did not appear to have a strong influence in and of themselves and were usually mentioned together with other values, where aspects such as taste and convenience seemed to have a relatively stronger impact on the decision-making. This did, however, vary between participants and appeared (at least partly) to be dependent on each person's perceived access to money as a resource. Other factors, such as social context and meal type also altered the relative importance of cost.  116  For example, many participants tended to place more emphasis on price when they ate out alone than if they were going out with friends, and/ or were less inclined to spend a lot of money on the time-restricted work lunch compared to spare-time meals.  Health and nutrition Eating out was, in general, considered less healthy than eating in, and the value of health and nutrition therefore appeared to be more important when choosing the food context. A few examples still existed where participants aimed to manage healthy eating within the "unhealthy" context of eating out. The value of health/nutrition was usually considered in relation to the choice of eating establishment. Restaurants were sometimes classified as more or less healthy and this was particularly apparent in relation to the perception of fast food restaurants as being unhealthy. Overall, this classification only appeared to be important for a few participants and/or in specific choice situations. For example, Ian described how he aimed to eat healthfully, even though he frequently ate out, by choosing certain eating establishments: "I think if you specifically pick where you're gonna eat based on health then you can eat as healthily outside the (unclear)." Making certain choices from the menu was also a way of managing healthy eating when eating out. Hugh, who had been making dietary changes to reduce his fat intake and increase his intake of fiber, described how these changes also impacted his decisionmaking when eating out: "I've gotten into the habit of ordering a side salad rather than fries when I order hamburgers to reduce my fat intake." Ed provided a less specific description of how he aimed to eat healthfully when eating out: "....I won't eat total crap,  if I'm going out to eat." In Andrew's case, being on a reduced fat diet meant making different decisions both in terms of where to go and what to order when eating out: [my friend and I] made up a contract that we both have signed so that for one month we can't eat at certain restaurants, certain foods from certain restaurants that we know are really, really fattening. Like pizza from Martini's is out, fried food is out, Greek food from Maria's is out for a month. We can only have three beers a week. And no junk food, which I don't eat much of any ways... Besides these examples, health and nutrition did not appear to be an important value for determining the participants' decisions in relation to eating out.  Maintaining social relationships Given that most of the participants' eating out events took place with other people, choosing where to go often imposed a different choice context than what was usually the case in these twelve men's food habits, in that the decision had to be made with others. Deciding where to go as a group usually appeared to be a relatively easy process. In most situations participants described themselves as "flexible" and willing to accommodate what the other members of the group wanted. In the eating out events described in the food diaries and the interviews, a restaurant was often suggested by the other person(s) and the participants would agree without any objections. As Dave explained: I'm usually easy, like at the point where I rather, I mean, if I'm really, if I really wanna go somewhere, I'll let them know, but if I'm easy it doesn't really matter, like as long everyone's happy.  118  Some participants (Andrew, Ben, Ed) also described how reaching a consensus sometimes involved a certain level of "deliberating", "compromising" and "debating". As Ed explained: .. .it's definitely a debating process to decide where we wanna. Especially if you're dealing with someone like Andrew (participant in this study) - your food critic. But, yeah, that's another thing, you have to decide, right, on where to go. It's so funny living in Vancouver, cause there is just so many restaurants that it could take you, you know, it's like trying to decide what movie to rent, it's just like: "What do you feel like, where can we go, blah, blah, blah." You know, it's just really hard to decide sometimes. Yeah, so it's a matter of what I feel like and also coming to common ground with whom I'm going out with to eat. Certain strategies to facilitate the decision-making process were also described. George and Luke had eating out "traditions" with their friends, where they would meet once a week at a certain cafe. Where to go was then already decided, and all that was needed was a quick confirmation call/e-mail. Others, such as Andrew and Hugh, had a "list" of places where their groups tended to go and the decision-making was then reduced to negotiating among these alternatives. The importance of maintaining social relationships when making decisions in relation to eating out seemed to relate to how eating out with friends (and others) functioned as an important way to socialize. As Dave noted: ".. .is more a social event too, right, it's not only the food".  Negotiating values Even though a larger number of values emerged as salient for the decision-making when eating out, the choice process was similar to eating in, in that participants categorized their options according to values and prioritized among these values.  119  Furthermore, several values were often simultaneously consider when making the decision. The multiple values considered were often in congruence, in that the choice outcome accommodated several of them. Taste appeared to be the most important value considered in relation to eating out, but would often be accompanied by other values such as convenience and/or monetary considerations and/or health and nutrition. As in this quote where Luke described why he often went to a certain breakfast place: "It's good, basic food, cheap and fast." Based on the participants' food diaries, taste and convenience appeared to be the most common combination of congruent values in the eating out related decision-making. As the second most important value, convenience would in some cases be mentioned without taste, either by itself or together with monetary considerations and/or health. Unlike eating in, the participants' descriptions of making decisions in relation to eating out also contained some examples where the values considered were conflicting. This occurred when the choice outcome accommodated one (or several) values, while compromising others. The decision was then made according the value(s) that was the most important to the participant in that moment. Various contradictions between values were described, but decisions made to accommodate the value of taste and/or convenience, at the expense of health and nutrition, accounted for a relative substantial part of the conflicts. This is shown in the following comment Dave wrote in his food diary in relation to an event where he got take out from McDonald's for dinner: "Usually stay away from fast food but I can't resist sometimes when I'm pressed for time or am feeling lazy". This specific value conflict  120  usually occurred in relation to eating fast food, and some participants would then include expressions of regret, shame or guilt. Maintaining social relations would also sometimes be in conflict with other values when decisions were made when eating out with others. In order to reach a consensus and avoid conflict in the group many participants chose to accommodate the social value over others, which sometimes meant letting the decision be guided by priorities of other members of the group, rather than their own.  4.4.4 Summary - The Food Choice Process for Specific Food-Related Decisions Three main food-related decisions were repeatedly brought up in the participants' descriptions of their food-related activities: Choosing the food context (eating in or out), choosing what to eat when eating in and choosing where to go/what to eat when eating out. For each of these inter-related choices the decision-making process involved categorizing the various choice outcomes as accommodating (or compromising) a few salient values, and to prioritize among values so that the decision was made based on the value(s) that were most important in the given choice situation. Choosing to eat in or to eat out was a dichotomous decision where eating in was relatively consistently associated with meeting the values of monetary considerations and health/nutrition, while eating out accommodated social values and convenience. Choosing the food context therefore implied compromising certain values and most value conflicts were therefore described in relation to this type of food-related decision. In contrast, deciding what to eat when eating in presented the participants with a range of possible outcomes. The most salient values considered when making this  121  decision were taste, convenience and (to a lesser extent) health/well-being. These three values were usually in harmony and one, two or even all three were usually to various degrees accommodated by the decision. Prioritizing therefore meant deciding which value(s) most needed accommodation, without entirely compromising the other(s). The values identified in relation to deciding where to go and what to eat when eating out included taste, other preferences, convenience, monetary considerations, health/nutrition and maintaining social relationships, where taste and convenience appeared to be the most salient. Several values were usually considered simultaneously a given choice context. The values would often be in congruence, and prioritizing then occurred in a similar manner as when deciding what to eat when eating in. However, value conflicts also occurred where participants described accommodating certain value(s) while compromising others.  122  Chapter 5. Discussion  This study explored the food choice process as experienced by younger men who live alone. The study's purpose intersected three main areas: The food choice process, food habits of people who live alone, and men's food-related experiences. In this chapter I discuss some of the findings within each of these areas in relation to what other studies have found. I begin by discussing food choice as a process with an emphasis on how my findings agree with, contradict and/or expand on what other studies that used Furst et al.'s (1996) theoretical framework have found (section 5.1). Perceptions of healthy eating were widely discussed and emerged as the major form of the participants' overall ideals for food habits. The findings within this influential component will therefore be discussed in a separate section (5.2). The two other main areas of findings for this study, food habits of people who live alone and men's food-related experiences, will be discussed in sections 5.3 and 5.4. Section 5.5 summarizes the limitations of this study.  5.1 The Food Choice Process As described in Chapter 3,1 analyzed the participants' food diaries and interviews by first developing themes and concepts inductively, then connecting the various themes together using Furst et al's (1996) theoretical framework for food choice. The themes I developed inductively fit well the model's three main categories (life course, influential components and personal system), providing overall support for the usefulness of the 'food choice model as a way to conceptualize food-related decision-making. Exploring my inductively developed themes in relation to the specific components of each of the  123  model's three main categories enabled insight into the ways each category can shape food choices. With regards to the life course component, the importance of viewing food choice from a life course perspective has been argued by others (Devine, Connors, Bisogni & Sobal, 1998; Devine, Wolfe, Frongillo & Bisogni, 1999; Falk et al., 1996; Furst et al.1996; Smart & Bisogni, 2001), and people's life-course transitions and trajectories (persistent thoughts, feelings, strategies and actions over the life span) have often been found to be crucial in shaping their current food practices. Participants in earlier studies often reflected upon how their food upbringing shaped their current practices (Devine et al., 1998; Falk et al., 1996; Furst et al., 1996; Paisley, Sheeshka & Daly, 2001), but this relationship was rarely acknowledged by the twelve men who participated in the current study. The relatively younger age of my sample might in part explain this difference, as i has been suggested that people are more likely to turn to their childhood food-related norms as they get older (Falk et al., 1996). Another possible explanation is the cohort effect relating to the last century's changes in information systems, where institutions (such as the media) besides the childhood home might exert a stronger influence on development of beliefs and attitudes. Finally, Devine et al. (1998) identified roles as an important factor that shapes individuals' dietary trajectories, hence role differences between the current participants and the informants in the earlier studies might have contributed to the difference in emphasis on childhood food habits as shaping current practices. For example, both Furst et al.'s (1996) and Devine et al.'s (1998) informants consisted of a larger proportion of women and participants who lived in multi person  124  households, thus the stronger emphasis placed on childhood food norms might relate to gender roles or roles as partners and/or parents. Five main types of influences on food choice are identified in the second component of the food choice model: Ideals, personal factors, resources, social framework and food context (Falk et al, 1996; Furst et al, 1996). This conceptualization of intra-, inter- and extra personal factors which shape and inform personal systems for food choice is also supported by my findings, in that the themes generated in the inductive phase of the analysis could easily be organized into the same main groups of influential factors. These five constructs therefore appear appropriate for conceptualizing the main aspects that shape food-related decision-making for a wide range of individuals. At the same time, variation also exists across studies with respect to the specific themes that emerged as salient within each component. For example, the influence of current physiological conditions on food choice was widely discussed by participants in Falk's (1996) study, while participants in my study did not appear to view this personal factor as important for shaping their food habits. Furthermore, Falk et al.'s (1996) participants perceived money and preparation skills as the most important resources for demarcating the boundaries for the food-related decisions they were able to make, while participants in my study emphasized their perceived availability of time. Perceptions of healthy eating, living alone and masculinity were three factors that were of particular interest in the current study, and a detailed discussion on each will be provided in section 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4. The values identified in relation to the specific decision-making processes of these twelve participants (the personal system, or the third component of the model)  125  included taste/preferences, convenience, health/nutrition/well-being, social value/managing relationships and monetary considerations. The same values were identified in the original work by Furst et al. (1996), as well as in the later study of the food choice process as experienced by older adults (Falk et al., 1996). The value negotiation processes described by participants in my study, where choice outcomes are categorized as accommodating or compromising the values to various degrees and values are prioritized within the given choice situation, are similar to the value negotiations described by a more diverse sample of adults from Upstate New York (Connors, Bisogni, Sobal & Devine, 2001). Further research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn regarding the salience of these specific values and value negotiating strategies for the broader population's food choice process, however, the current study does strengthen the support for these as important for making food choices within the North American context. Where my findings differ from the way others have described personal food choice systems is in the identification of three separate, yet interrelated food-related decisions that emerged as salient for the participant's food habits: a) Deciding whether to eat in or out, b) deciding what to eat when eating in and c) deciding what/where to eat when eating out. Each type of decision involved a different but characteristic value negotiation process. In contrast, others have analyzed all types of food-related decisions together (Falk et al, 1996; Furst et al., 1996). This difference in approach might relate to the differences between studies with respect to sample characteristics. In addition to sharing characteristics with respect to age group, gender and ethnicity, my participants were  126  similar with respect to other lifestyle factors, such as working full time and living alone in central Vancouver. These aspects are suggested as important in shaping food habits and people who are similarly situated are likely to engage in similar food-related activities, which differs in general from those experienced by people in different contexts (Pelto, 1981). The use of a relatively homogenous sample might therefore explain the emergence of the similar types of food-related decisions from the inductive phase of the analysis, which allowed for the later examination of values and strategies as they related to each of these. In contrast, Furst et al. (1996) and Falk et al. (1996) used more diverse samples, which might have resulted in a wider variety of types of food-related decisions that were salient for these participants' daily food habits. As a result it might not have been feasible for the researchers to examine each type of decision separately. The emergence of the three specific types of food-related decisions as salient is related to the frequency with which many participants ate out. The emergence of eating out as an important food context is consistent with statistical data, which indicate that younger men who live alone spend a relatively larger proportion of their food dollar on eating out compared to other demographic groups (Statistics Canada, 2003). It has previously been argued that most meals are consumed at home (Furst et al., 1996). However, the large proportion of total meals/snacks recorded in my participants' food diaries that were purchased ready made in public eating establishments challenges this notion and suggests that for some people, other contexts beside eating in might be just as (if not more) important for their overall food habits.  127  5.2 Food Habit Ideals - Perceptions of Healthy Eating In previous studies utilizing the food choice model, food choice ideals have emerged as one of the most prominent influences on food choice (Falk et al., 1996; Furst et al., 1996). The twelve men who participated in this study also frequently referred to their expectations, standards, hopes and beliefs when describing their food habits. However, the form of ideals that emerged as important varied between this study and what the others have found. In previous studies, many informants tended to emphasize cultural and symbolic meaning for food choice ideals, such as class, tradition or beliefs about how the meal "should be" (Falk et al., 1996; Furst et al., 1996). In the current study, the perceptions of healthy food and healthy eating clearly emerged as the most salient form of the participants' overall ideals. Several factors might have led to this difference in findings. First it is important to note how data were collected and analyzed. Ideals are often tacitly understood criteria (Furst et al., 1996), and identifying them in the data might therefore sometimes be difficult. Although great care was taken in the analysis process, the possibility that some mentions of ideals were "missed", and hence were not followed up by probes or indexed • for further analysis, should be taken into consideration. Perceptions of healthy food and healthy eating are on the other hand usually quite clearly articulated and thereby easy to identify in the analysis process, which might have resulted in the larger amount of data generated for this form of ideals. The interview guide also included specific questions about healthy food and healthy eating, which facilitated the generation of data concerning this form of ideals. It should however be noted that a large proportion of the quotes concerning the perceptions of healthy food/eating originated from other parts of the  128  interviews besides the responses to the explicit questions, as well as from the comments in the food diaries. In other words, participants would often discuss healthy food and healthy eating without being prompted to do so. The other forms of ideals emphasized in the previous studies often originated in the informants' childhood, in that food-ways learned when growing up provided cultural traditions and images for how things "should be" (Falk et al., 1996; Furst et al., 1996). As discussed in the previous section, the twelve men who participated in this study rarely reflected upon their childhood food habits as influencing their current practices. The relatively smaller amount of data that was generated regarding other forms of ideals in this study might therefore be explained by the factors suggested earlier, such as age and/or cohort effect. The participants' ideals were organized along three dimensions of their food habits: the food itself; eating and the food context; and food identity. Their descriptions of what healthy food and healthy eating meant within each of these levels clearly resonates with what other studies have found (Chapman & Beagan, 2003; Chapman & Maclean, 1993; Falk et al., 2001; Povey, Conner, Sparks, James & Shepherd, 1998). Furthermore, the way participants tended to organize these meanings by classifying foods and other aspects of food habits as healthy/unhealthy or good/bad, is similar to what has been reported in previous studies (Chapman & Maclean, 1993; Furst et al., 1998). The food items/types, nutrient/components and food preparation/production that were discussed in relation to thefirstdimension of these twelve participants food habits (the food itself) have also been recognized in other studies of people's perceptions of healthy eating (Chapman & Maclean, 1993; Falk et al., 2001; Povey et al., 1998). The  129  most consistent finding from this area of research is how vegetables are perceived to be "healthy" by most participants in all studies. Falk et al. (2001) organized their sample of participants from Upstate New York into seven clusters of healthy eating definitions. Almost all participants from each cluster classified vegetables as "healthy". Chapman and Beagan (2003) identified three different perspectives on healthy eating among their participants in a study of British Colombian women's beliefs about the relationship between diet, health and breast cancer. While these three represented different positions, all three groups included vegetable consumption as part of healthy eating (Chapman & Beagan, 2003). In a British study, increased fruit and vegetable intake was perceived as the most important aspect of eating healthy (Povey et al., 1998), and fruit and vegetables were also the most frequently mentioned examples of healthy foods by Canadian female adolescents (Chapman & Maclean, 1993). The twelve men who participated in the current study tended to give more attention to what they perceived as being unhealthy, and the specific negative aspects identified are also consistent with what others have found. For example, junk food and fast food have also been categorized as unhealthy by other groups (Chapman & Maclean, 1993; Povey et al., 1998). Participants in the current study used the term 'junk food' synonymously with chocolate and potato chips, which also was the case for Canadian female adolescents (Chapman & Maclean, 1993). Furthermore, the negative attitudes towards high-fat diets identified in the current study have been reported elsewhere (Falk et al, 2001; Povey et al., 1998). One important theme that emerged in relation to the first dimension of participants' ideals was their classification of'natural' foods as healthy. 'Natural' was the  130  dominant theme for one of the seven clusters of participants in Falk et al.'s (2001) study, and these individuals also classified fresh and organic foods as healthy and processed foods as unhealthy. About one quarter of the women in Chapman and Beagan's study (2003) expressed an "alternative" perspective to healthy eating, which also included concerns about non-nutrient components in foods such as toxins, and the belief in the positive impact of eating organic foods. Compared to Falk et al.'s (2001) study, the theme of "natural" foods as healthier appeared to emerge with a stronger consistency both in the current study as well as in Chapman and Beagan's study (2003). This difference might relate to the difference in the broader food context, in that organic foods are very popular amongst consumers in Vancouver. But the theme of "natural" foods as healthy was also recognized by larger proportion of the participants in the current study, compared to Chapman and Beagan's study (2003) where half of the women described a "mainstream" perspective to healthy eating which did not place the same emphasis on this aspect. This difference might relate to the relatively younger average age of the current study's sample, as well as other general differences in lifestyles, which might cause perceptions of healthy eating to be shaped and informed by different information sources. The second dimension of the participants' food habits concerned eating and the food context. At this level, the classification of eating in as healthy and eating out as unhealthy emerged as one of the most important themes for the participants' perceptions of healthy (or otherwise ideal) eating. Many participants associated eating in with "having control" over what goes into the food, both in terms of including "good" food choices, but also avoiding negative aspects, such as fat, toxins and processed foods.  131  Having control, or 'knowing what goes into the food' was also an important part of healthy eating for some of the informants in the English (Povey et al., 1998) and the American study (Falk et al., 2001), as well as in an Australian study (Santich, 1994). For the twelve men in the current study, eating regularly also emerged as a very important aspect of eating well. Participants in Povey et al.'s (1998) study recognized not eating regularly as a component of unhealthy food behaviour, but this seemed to be of relatively less importance compared to what was found in the current study. In general, meal patterns has not been given much attentionin the other studies concerning perceptions of healthy eating (Chapman & Beagan, 2003; Chapman & Maclean, 1993; Falk et al., 2001). Eating regularly therefore appeared to be of a particular concern for these twelve men, because many felt that they did not meet this ideal. This might be seen in relation to their lifestyle. As will be discussed in more detail in the next section, having a busy schedule and living alone might have made participants more likely to skip meals. The third dimension of food habits concerned the participants' food identity, where the ideals of "being organized" and "being conscious" emerged as important for how one "should be" in relation to food and eating. Similar to "being conscious", Povey et al. (1998) also identified 'taking care' or 'being particular about food' as part of healthy eating, while 'not being careful about food' was considered a marker of unhealthy eating. But besides that, food identity has not been discussed in the other studies of perceptions of healthy eating (Chapman & Beagan, 2003; Chapman & Maclean, 1993; Falk et al., 2001). Participants in the current study often mentioned how they wanted to be more "organized", but perceived their current lifestyle as preventing them from fully meeting this ideal. This also impacted the ideal of "being conscious",  132  however, many participants mentioned this ideal in relation to the identity questions in the interview (Appendix E, F) when comparing and judging themselves as "better" than their commonly held bachelor stereotype. The reason why these themes emerged in the current study but not in most of the other studies, might therefore both relate to differences in lifestyle as well as the questions asked in the interviews.  5.3 Food Habits of People who Live Alone The important influence that other household members have on the individual's food habits is widely documented (Bove et al., 2003; Charles & Kerr, 1988; DeVault, 1991 Kemmer et al., 1998;), and food-related activities also function to construct interpersonal relationships amongst people who live together. Living alone is thus likely to create a unique site for food-related decision-making, a pre-assumption which is well supported by this study's findings. The participants' often rich and detailed descriptions of how living alone was perceived to impact their food habits clearly reflected that they understood this aspect of their lifestyle to be particularly crucial for influencing their food-related decision-making. In general, participants believed that living alone resulted in "worse" food habits because the absence of other household members made it harder to meet the ideals of "being organized" and "being conscious". Living with a female partner or with a family was usually used as a reference for this comparison. Participants sometimes referred to their previous experiences, but very often based their judgment on assumptions about what food habits would be like in these types of multi-person households.  133  Given that food choices are shaped by socialization and cultural systems and limited by the contingencies of social environments (Meiselman, 2000), the participants' anticipation of changes in food habits upon cohabitation seems quite reasonable. However, their perceptions of the partner/family household as the ultimate context for the facilitation of healthy eating is both challenged and supported by findings from previous research. In qualitative studies which have focused on the food habits of heterosexual couples, informants have in general reported that their eating habits improved upon cohabitation (Bove et al., 2003; Kemmer et al., 1998; Lupton, 2000; Marshall & Anderson, 2002). In Kemmer's study of Scottish cohabiting couples, this improvement was particularly recognized by the male participants (Kemmer et al., 1998). For both men and women, the specific aspects which made their eating habits healthier included eating more regularly (Bove et al., 2003; Kemmer et al., 1998; Lupton, 2000), eating breakfast more often (Marshall & Anderson, 2002), having more balanced meals (Bove et al., 2003) and increasing their fruit and vegetable intake (Kemmer et al., 1998). It is however important to note that some of these informants had not lived alone prior to cohabitation and therefore based their comparisons on experiences from other household types, such as living with their parents or with roommates. Thus the findings from these previous studies do not necessarily support the notion that living alone is associated with "worse" food habits. Furthermore, quantitative data from dietary surveys consistently report a higher compliance to dietary recommendations among men and women who live alone, compared to people who live in more complex household structures (Gerrior, 1995; Groth 2001; Rankin, 1998; Turrell, 1998). It is therefore unclear whether the participants' perception of living alone as having a negative impact on food habits can be said to be  134  specific for them or reflect a broader phenomenon. Nevertheless, with the exception of Kevin who found it easier to be a raw foodist when nobody else was present in the household, all the other participants agreed that the absence of other household members made their food habits "worse". The study participants identified two main reasons why the living alone resulted in "worse" food habits: having no one else present to influence their food-related decisions, and having no one with whom to eat or share other food-related activities.  5.3.1 No One to Influence Food-related Decisions Many participants believed that they were less likely to make healthy food choices when there was no one else to 'care for' in the household. The opposite was also recognized as an underlying reason for the improved eating habits among the cohabiting couples in that they reported paying more attention to their personal food habits after they started living together (Bove et al., 2003). Some of the men in the current study also believed that a partner would have a direct positive influence by encouraging them to make "better" choices. Partners' encouragement and inspiration were also experienced by some of the cohabited couples, however, others mentioned that they felt discouraged from implementing their own changes towards a healthier diet, if their partner did not want to do the same. In addition, the partner's "bad" habits could also lead to temptations (Bove et al., 2003). Whether the influence of other household members in the types of multi-person households discussed results in healthier food choices for the individual is therefore not entirely clear and is likely to depend on contextual factors, including  135  household size and structure, the power dynamics between the family members, the nature of the dietary changes and who is advocating these changes.  5.3.2 No One With Whom to Eat or Share Other Food-related Activities The absence of other household members meant that there was no one with whom to eat or share other food-related activities. Compared to the lack of influence on foodrelated decision-making associated with living alone, this negative impact was discussed more frequently in much greater detail by the participants. Managing personal food habits in a one-person household is associated with certain obvious obstacles. While multi-person households can pool the household members' resources together to more effectively carry out the feeding work, this is not possible for individuals who live alone. Living alone also imposes a unique setting for the commensality aspect of food. In the next three subsections I will discuss how the participants' perceptions of having "worse" food habits due to the absence of other household members might work through constraints in money, time and commensality associated with one-person households.  4.3.2.1 Money In multi-person households, where several people contribute to the household's income, more money is theoretically available to spend on food. This was recognized in Lupton's (2000) study of food choice and preferences amongst heterosexual cohabiting couples (with or without children) in rural Australia, where some participants mentioned how their greater disposable income as a couple allowed them to eat "better" because  136  they could afford better quality foods and more luxuries. While food expenses increase with the number of household members, a larger total disposable income often allows for making investments that may reduce the household's food expenses over time, such as buying economy sized grocery items (Gerrior et al., 1995) and investing in kitchen supplies (e.g. freezers for storing economy sized foods). The relatively smaller financial resources that a one-person household is likely to possess might be one of the underlying reasons for the relatively higher food expenditure per capita that is observed for this demographic group (Gerrior et al., 1995; Statistic Canada, 2001). Participants in the current study, in general, did not recognize money as important for shaping the boundaries of their food-related decisions. Neither did lack of other resources, such as freezers, appear to be a problem, in that all of them appeared to have sufficiently equipped kitchens. The participants might have given more attention to the financial restraints associated with managing food habits in one-person households had their financial situations been more limited.  5.3.2.2 Time On the other hand, participants often mentioned how they perceived time constraints as imposing a barrier on their food habits. This resource appeared to be relatively more important for these twelve men compared to what was identified in the previous studies (Falk et al., 1996; Furst et al., 1996). The emergence of time as the most critical resource in shaping my participants' food-related decision-making appeared to be partly related to being full time workers, as several acknowledged how their work imposed restrictions on the time they had  137  available. A study of the relationship between work and food choices in a diverse sample in Upstate New York found that many participants described their work as demanding and limiting their food choices because they felt that they did not have enough time (or energy) to engage in the necessary preparation of what they perceived as ideal meals for themselves and their families (Devine, Connors, Sobal & Bisogni, 2003). But the time restriction perceived by participants in my research might also relate to living alone. Many described spending a lot of their spare time socializing with others away from their homes, which reduces the time available to engage in food-related activities at home, and this pattern might be common amongst people who live alone. People who live in multi-person households can meet their needs to socialize by spending time at home with their family/roommates, while for people who live alone socializing at home occurs less spontaneously, in that having people over is likely to involve a certain level of planning. Meeting social needs might therefore just as easily be achieved by leaving the house. In addition, one-person household might have less total household time (and labour) available for food-related activities as these tasks can not be shared with other household members (Gerrior et al., 1995). The study of workers' experience of the relationship between work and food choice revealed that some participants who lived in family households recognized that even if this context imposed extra food-related responsibilities, it also allowed for developing strategies for sharing these between household members (Devine et al., 2003).  138  5.3.2.3 Commensality The participants' perceptions of having "worse" food habits due to the absence of other household members also related to the restrictions in commensality associated with living alone. Several of the twelve men who participated in the current study expressed that they felt it was somewhat "pointless" to put a lot of effort into preparing food "just" for themselves. When doing so, they rarely pointed specifically towards the restrictions in resources such as money and time associated with the absence of other household members, but rather referred to a lack of motivation to put a lot of time and effort into food-related activities at home when they were by themselves. Even though all participants enjoyed cooking as an activity, this enjoyment was considerably reduced when there was nobody else to cook for (or with). Many participants also mentioned that they preferred eating with others compared to eating alone, and in some cases this was perceived as the ideal food context. The notion of commensality as motivator for spending more time and effort on food-related activities is consistently supported in the studies of food habits of heterosexual, cohabiting couples (Bove et al.,2003; Kemmer et al., 1998; Lupton, 2000; Marshall & Anderson, 2002). Partners viewed eating together as important for their new identity as a couple, which led to regularization of food-related activities and more consumption of home cooked, balanced meals. As result, eating events (particularly on weekday evenings) took on a new meaning as a 'proper meal'. Meals can therefore be viewed as consisting of several dimensions, where sociability, the fact that a meal is shared with other people, often is considered an essential aspect of the definition of a meal (Makela, 2000). Sobal notes how eating alone is not considered a "real" meal for  139  many people, and raises the following question: If the presence of other people is required for a meal, what occurs when people eat alone (Sobal, 2000)? For the twelve men in the current study, the immediate consequence was the reduced enjoyment of food preparation, which made them less motivated to invest time and effort in such activities, hence they often emphasized the value of convenience when making food-related decisions. The data included many examples of how decisions were made to reduce the time spent on food-related activities, particularly by either preparing something quick and easy at home, or choosing to eat out even though this food context generally was considered less healthy than eating in. Commensality was also a direct underlying reason for choosing to eat out, in that these eating events often happened in the company of close friends. Many participants recognized eating out as important for meeting their needs to socialize as well as maintain social relationships, and being able to eat with others appeared to be one of the main reasons why many enjoyed this food context. The particularly important social function eating out might have for people who live alone was also identified in the study of the relationship between work and food choices, where single informants' habits of eating fast food out with their friends provided a structure for their social life (Devine et al., 2003). Even though sociability usually is discussed in relation to family meals, eating together is also acknowledged as creating community and solidarity among people who do not share family ties, and a togetherness resembling that of the family meal may emerge in such fairly stable groups (Makela, 2000). The participants who frequently ate out tended to do so with a relatively small number of close friends, and in the absence of other household members these peers therefore constituted the participants' most  140  important commensal unit (the individuals who eat together for a particular meal) (Sobal, 2000). For people who live in multi-person households, other household members represent the most important human influence on personal food habits, and managing personal relationships therefore becomes an important value to accommodate when eating at home (Falk, 1996; Furst et al., 1996). For the twelve men in the current study, the peers they routinely ate out with represented the most important human influence on their food habits, and the value of maintaining personal relationships only emerged in this food context. However, in the context of eating out, maintaining social relationships was often a very important value to accommodate. Thus for people who live alone, the influence of non-family commensal units should not be neglected.  5.4 Men's Food-related Experiences By focusing on the food choice process as experienced by men who live alone, this study also expands on the existing knowledge regarding men's food-related experiences. People's behaviours and beliefs can be understood as the means of producing and reproducing gender (Courtenay, 2000), including food habits, and gender differences have been observed in attitudes and practices concerning healthy eating (Jensen & Holm, 1999; Roos et al., 1998; Rozin, 1999; Turrell, 1997), the consumption and symbolic meaning of specific food items (Bourdieu, 1984; Jensen & Holm, 1999; Sweeting et al., 1994; Twigg, 1984) as well as food work itself (Bove et al., 2003; Charles & Kerr, 1988; Kemmer et al., 1998; Lupton, 2000; Marshall & Anderson, 2002; Murcott, 1983). Gender is therefore an essential factor to consider in relation to food-  141  related decision-making and Furst et al. define gender as a personal factor that influences and shapes the individual's personal system for food choice (Furst et al., 1996). In the current study I explored how masculinity was constructed through food habits by asking the participants various "identity" questions (see Appendix E, F), as well as coding and analyzing for relevant themes in other parts of the data. Through their descriptions of their food-related beliefs and practices, participants expressed certain attitudes, which appeared to function as means of constructing their masculine identity. In other words, by explaining their opinions and beliefs with respect to certain aspects of food habits and by describing how they perceived themselves, the participants also expressed their identities as men, both directly (how they themselves perceived their own masculine identity) and indirectly (in that gender role was an underlying factor for shaping their attitudes). This was particularly apparent from the participants' attitudes and beliefs regarding the importance and meaning of healthy eating and food-related activities.  5.4.1 Constructing Masculinity Through Attitudes and Beliefs About the Importance and Meaning of Healthy Eating While gender often has been treated as an independent variable in epidemiological studies, increased attention has been given to the actual impact that the construction of masculine and feminine roles might have for various health behaviours (Courtenay, 2000). In this respect Courtenay argues that the construction of masculinity is the underlying reason for the observed higher probability for developing health problems and the shorter life span of men (Courtenay, 2000).  142  Gender can be viewed as a dynamic, social structure that is constructed in dialectic relationships between the individual and the surroundings (including immediate relationships as well as the broader cultural and historical contexts) where men and women themselves are active agents in constructing and reconstructing male and female identities (Courtenay, 2000). This dynamic construction results in certain widely accepted perceptions about what men and women are like (gender roles), and through various socialization processes people are conditioned and encouraged to adopt these attitudes and behaviours. Gender is also partly negotiated through relationships of power, in that several feminine and masculine roles exist concurrently. Hegemonic masculinity (the idealized form of masculinity at any given time) is the socially dominant gender construction that subordinates other masculinities and femininities, thus it is associated with power and privilege. In their quest for achieving this status men must adopt certain beliefs, attitudes and behaviours (in short: be a certain way) that are associated with the ideal masculinity, as well as reject feminine ideals, and this is also attempted through health related beliefs and practices (Saltonstall, 1993). The social construction of hegemonic masculinity as it relates to health implies being independent, self-reliant, strong, robust and tough, and rejecting feminine ideals of concerns for health and safety (Courtenay, 2000). This causes men to engage in risk behaviours, avoid seeking appropriate medical care when they need to, and undermines their attempts to adopt healthier habits (Cameron & Bernardes, 1998; Courtenay, 2000). More research is needed to fully understand how the construction of (hegemonic) masculinity might apply to food hehaviour (Roos et al., 2000), however, men's dietary  143  habits are often described as less healthy than women's, as many dietary surveys from various industrialized have indicated that men are less likely to comply with dietary recommendations (Jensen & Holm, 1999; Roos et al, 1998; Rozin et al., 1999; Statistics Canada, 2001; Sweeting et al., 1994; Turrell, 1997)'. This gender difference combined with the higher nutrition concern and knowledge found among women (Turrell, 1997), as well as women's stronger belief in the relationship between diet and health (Rozin et al., 1999; Turrell, 1997), suggests that masculinity might function as a barrier against believing in, and practicing, healthy eating. Based on the existing literature concerning men and food intake as well as the theory about masculinity's impact on health behaviour, the twelve men who participated in this study would have been expected to place little emphasis on healthy eating. However, quite the opposite was indicated from the study's findings. The study design did not include food intake measures that were sensitive enough to evaluate the "healthiness" of the participants' diets, hence judgements could not be made with respect to whether their actual eating was in contrast or agreement with the expected masculine norms. On the other hand, the participants' attitudes and beliefs as reflected in their discussions, clearly indicated that health and nutrition were part of their considerations, in that perceptions of healthy eating emerged as the dominant form of the participants' overall ideals for food habits, and health/nutrition/well-being was included as one of the values negotiated in each of their most salient food-related decisions. Not only does this reflect an opposite attitude than what might have been expected, exhibiting these attitudes also appeared to function as a means of demonstrating gender role in that "being conscious" was considered an important aspect  144  of the ideal food identity. "Being conscious" appeared to be part of how the participants viewed themselves as men (or would like to view themselves), in that this theme also emerged in relation to their description of their commonly held male stereotype and this persona's food habits. While many participants found it difficult to describe how their own personality/identity was expressed through their food habits, they had less difficulty making assumptions about what the food habits of other men who lived by themselves were like. A remarkably consistent theme emerged across the sample with respect to the participants' perceptions of the stereotypical bachelor and his food habits, and one of the prominent aspects was how this persona was believed to be far from "conscious". Participants would then use this stereotype as a point of reference to which they compared and judged themselves as "better". "Being conscious" was considered a prerequisite for healthy eating, and being "better" than the stereotypical bachelor by being more "conscious" (or at least wanting to be more "conscious") therefore also implied having (or wanting to have) healthier food habits. The participants' ideal masculine identity therefore appeared to be a man who is concerned about food and nutrition and practices what participants perceived as healthy eating. The participants' inclusion of the nontraditional element of health consciousness as part of their ideal masculinity must be seen in relation to other situating factors, the perhaps most obvious of which is their socioeconomic class. Most of the twelve men who participated in this study can be described as middle class, in that they all (with the exception of Craig) had acquired some form of secondary education. Comparisons of dietary intake of different socioeconomic groups show that men belonging to lower social classes have less healthy food habits than middle class men (Roos et al., 1996). Besides  145  reflecting unequal access to resources, food behaviours and attitudes may also be a way in which social groups differentiate themselves from others (Bourdieu,1989). Taking care of your health has been described as something that higher social classes do, and men from this background do not have to reject this feminized ideal (Roos et al., 2001). Working class men on the other hand have been argued to compensate for their subordinate status by resisting dietary changes (Karisto, Prattala & Berg, 1993; Pyke, 1996). The positive attitudes towards healthy eating of the twelve men who participated in this study might therefore be seen as an expression of their identity as middle class men. The interplay between masculinity and class was explored in Roos et al.'s study (2001) of Finnish carpenters' and engineers' food-related attitudes and behaviours. Both occupational groups recognized eating as impacting health, but while engineers tended to place more emphasis on the importance of healthy eating, some carpenters exhibited negative attitudes towards "health fanaticism". Compared to the engineers, the carpenters appeared to more actively endorse hegemonic masculinity and reject feminine ideals, while the engineers appeared to have redefined their ideals for masculinity by negotiating new ways to be masculine (Roos, 2001). Given the similarity in class identity, the latter might also might be the case for the twelve men who participated in the current study. In addition to the emphasis on the importance of healthy eating, the meaning that the twelve men assigned to certain foods also appeared different from the traditional gendered meanings. Some dietary surveys have indicated that men obtain a larger proportion of their energy from meat than women, while women eat more fruit and vegetables, and this gender difference might be related to the trans-culturally observed tendency of labeling these foods as masculine and feminine, respectively (Jensen &  146  Holm, 1999). Twigg (1983) argues that different foods have different status, where meat, which symbolizes qualities such as strength, power, aggression and virility, is located above fruit and vegetables in an hierarchy similar to the organization of power between men and women. The consumption of meat might therefore be viewed as a marker of hegemonic masculinity, while fruit and vegetable consumption symbolizes femininity (Twigg, 1983). Men are often believed to need meat more than women do (Charles & Kerr, 1988; Holm & Mohl, 2000) and men who don't eat meat are in general more likely to be subject to anti-vegetarian prejudice than women (Twigg, 1983). The lower compliance to the recommendation of increased fruit and vegetable intake that sometimes has been observed amongst men (Roos et al., 1998) might also be a reflection of their rejection of what has traditionally been viewed as the idealized feminine food behaviour. The participants' discussions clearly reflected that their attitudes towards meat and vegetables contradicted the traditional expression of hegemonic masculinity. Almost all participants seemed to view increased vegetable intake (and fruit to a lesser extent) as essential for "healthy eating", while meat only "should" be consumed in moderation (if eaten at all). A somewhat similar trend was also found among both carpenters and engineers in Roos et al.'s study (2001). While both groups appreciated meat as a favourite food, they tended to discuss vegetables more extensively in the interviews (Roos, 2001). This might reflect a decrease in the relative importance placed on meat intake (Holm & Mohl, 2000) as well as how nutrition recommendations and messages often have focused on the importance of eating more fruit and vegetables (Health Canada, 2002).  147  The participants' geographical context should also be considered in relation to their positive attitudes towards fruit and vegetable consumption. Unpublished data from the British Columbia Nutrition Survey, 1999, indicate an opposite gender difference in compliance to recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake than what typically has been found elsewhere (Jensen & Holm, 1999), in that 40 % of the male respondents ate 5-10 servings per day, compared to only 25% of the female respondents (B.C. Ministry of Health and Planning, 2003). This contradiction in survey findings might relate to differences in data collection. In the British Columbia Nutrition Survey respondents were asked to estimate amounts of fruit and vegetables eaten per day, as opposed to frequency, which typically is used in large scale dietary surveys. The findings from the previous studies might therefore reflect that women eat smaller amounts of fruit and vegetables more frequently than men, while men eat larger, total amounts, distributed over fewer eating events. However, the findings from the British Columbia Nutrition Survey might also be an indication that the traditional gender difference in attitudes towards fruit and vegetable consumption is less apparent in British Columbia. The fact that participants did not idealize hegemonic masculinity as symbolized in meat consumption, but rather exhibited positive attitudes towards what traditionally has been viewed as a feminized ideal (vegetable consumption) might also relate to their social class. In the Finnish study, carpenters seemed to favour meat dishes more and did not feel the need to defend their meat consumption, while engineers often spoke about wanting to reduce their intake of red meat (Roos et al, 2001). Like the participants in the current study, the engineers exhibited positive attitudes towards vegetables, while some  148  of the carpenters questioned whether "rabbit food" would provide them with the sufficient energy (Roos, 2001). The participants' negative attitudes towards high fat diets or single food items with a high fat content might also reflect their rejection of traditional hegemonic masculinity. The dietary recommendations of reducing fat intake implies "eating light", which traditionally has been associated with women's eating habits, while strength and hard work implies that "real men" need "heavy" food. The participants in the current study did not, however, appear to reject what can be described as a feminized ideal. This might again be explained by their social class, in that working class men have been found to more actively embrace hegemonic masculinity by exhibiting a stronger resistance against the fat reducing recommendations (Karisto et al., 1993; Roos et al., 2001).  5.4.2  Constructing Masculinity Through Attitudes Concerning Men's Involvement in Food-related Activities One obvious gender marker concerning food is how food-related activities  traditionally have been coded as women's work (Roos, 2001) and embracing hegemonic masculinity therefore implies not having an interest in, and avoiding, activities such as grocery shopping and cooking. Traditional gender ideology was evident in the early studies of food habits of heterosexual, nuclear families, where participants described a rigid and mutually exclusive gender division of labour in that men were responsible for the family's income through paid work outside the home, while women were responsible for the various domestic tasks, such as the family's food-related work (Charles & Kerr, 1988; DeVault, 1991; Murcott, 1983).  149  As a result of broader structural changes, of which women's increased involvement in employment outside the home is the most obvious, these traditional gender ideologies are changing (Scott, 1996). This might also include increased positive attitudes towards and acceptance of men's involvement in food-related activities in the home. While more recent studies of food habits of heterosexual couples (with or without children) still showed that women were mainly responsible for the households' food work, it is important to note that a substantial proportion of the male informants were involved in activities such as grocery shopping, meal planning and preparation, and clean up (Bove et al, 2003; Brown & Miller, 2002; Harnack, Story, Martinson, NeumarkSztainer & Stang, 1998; Kemmer et al., 1998; Lupton, 2000; Marshall & Anderson, 2002). This might be a reflection of changes in the traditional masculine role, in which men themselves are active agents (Courtenay, 2000). The interviews with the twelve men who participated in the current study clearly reflected a rejection of the traditional hegemonic masculine ideal as constructed through food-related activities. The participants' consistent enjoyment of cooking indicated that engaging in this activity was considered quite suitable for men. In addition, being able to cook was also considered important for 'being a man' in that possessing such skills was viewed as an essential part of being independent and self-sufficient. These values have typically been associated with idealized masculinity (Street, 1995) and a man who was not able to cook (such as the frequently described stereotype) was by many participants considered'less'of a man. With their consistent positive attitudes towards men's involvement in food-related activities, the participants in the current study differ from the men in the Finnish study,  150  where both carpenters and engineers viewed cooking as optional and occasional, and labeled day to day cooking as women's work (Roos, 2001). The majority of the informants in the Finnish study lived with female partners (and in some cases, children). The differences in findings might therefore indicate that men's attitudes towards foodrelated work also is influenced by factors such as their household context and life course stage.  5.5 Limitations Certain methodological limitations should be taken into consideration when interpreting this study's findings. Perhaps most obvious are the limitations imposed by the small sample size and non-randomized sampling. The small sample size of twelve participants allowed for ah in-depth exploration of their experience of the food choice process, however, the findings can not be generalized to other parts of the population. In other words, while this study broadens our understanding of the food choice process and provides a glimpse into the food-related experiences of men who live alone, the findings can not be said to represent the experiences of all men who live alone. Non-randomized sampling methods where participants volunteer to be part of a study also increases the chance of obtaining a sample of informants who are particularly interested in the subject matter, which in turn might impact the findings. For example, the twelve men in my study might have chosen to participate because they were particularly interested in nutrition and/or food preparation, and the emergence of positive attitudes towards healthy eating and cooking might not have been as prominent had I used randomized sampling methods.  151  The twelve men who participated in this study were very similar to each other with respect to certain aspects that are important for shaping food habits, such as socioeconomic class, ethnicity and age. This homogeneous sample allowed for a more detailed understanding of the food choice process, because it is likely to have led to the emergence of a few types of food-related decisions as salient for the sample. At the same time this limits the transferability of the findings and caution must therefore be taken when interpreting how these results might apply for differently situated men. Other limitations concern my own identity and the impact that this might have had on shaping the study's results. While I took great care to assure the participants that this study concerned eating as a behaviour, (not intake of nutrients), they were all still aware that I was a Human Nutrition student. This might have caused the participants to be more reluctant to express their perceptions of healthy food and healthy eating. My gender should also be taken into consideration when interpreting the findings. Men and women construct their male and female identities through their behaviours and attitudes in the various social contexts that they encounter, and the interaction between researcher and the researched is in that respect no exception. In other words, the participants might have exhibited different attitudes and emphasized other aspects if this study was conducted by a male researcher. For example, they might have been less reluctant to reject hegemonic masculinity by emphasizing the traditionally feminized ideals of being concerned about food habits and by exhibiting positive attitudes towards men's involvement in food-related activities.  152  Chapter 6: Conclusions and Implications  This study examined the food choice process as experienced by twelve men who lived alone in Vancouver. Three types of food-related decisions emerged as salient for these twelve men's food habits: a) deciding whether to eat in or out, b) deciding what to eat when eating in and c) deciding what/where to eat when eating out. These decisions were partly interrelated as the choice outcome of a) determined whether decision b) or c) was to be made, and outcomes associated with b) or c) also could be taken into consideration when making decision a). However, the three types of decisions can still be considered separate as participants described negotiating values for each. Eating out was perceived to favour the social value and convenience, while eating in was believed to be healthier and cheaper, and making this dichotomous decision meant that two values would be accommodated while the two others would be compromised. When deciding what to eat when eating in participants categorized choice outcomes in relation to the values of taste, convenience, and health and well-being. For this type of decision values were not in conflict and prioritizing therefore meant deciding which value needed to be accommodated the most without entirely compromising the other(s). When deciding where/what to eat when eating out, choice outcomes were categorized according to the values of taste, other preferences, convenience, monetary considerations, health/nutrition (to a lesser extent) and maintaining social relationships (when eating out with others). Prioritizing strategies were similar to when choosing what to eat when  153  eating in, however, value conflicts also occurred where certain values would be accommodated and others compromised. The participants' perceptions of healthy eating closely overlapped with their overall ideals for food habits. These ideals were organized along three dimensions: 1) the food itself, where ideals included fruit and vegetables, meat in moderation, avoidance of fast- and junk foods, reduced fat intake, avoidance of toxins and an emphasis on 'natural' foods; 2) eating and the food context with the ideals of eating regularly, eating in and commensality; and 3) food identity with the ideals of being organized and being conscious. The participants recognized the absence of other household members as one of the most important influential factors on their food-related decision-making, both through the lack of influence on their food choices and through the reduced motivation and time to engage in food-related activities at home. The latter led to the emphasis on the value of convenience (in terms of saving time) in the various types of food-related decisions. Many participants therefore chose to frequently eat out in public eating establishments, although this food context generally was considered less healthy than food prepared at home. For people who are similarly situated to these participants (same age group, living alone, living in an urban context) a substantial proportion of their overall food intake might take place in public eating establishments and/or as take-out meals. Participants tended to reject traditional hegemonic masculinity by actively embracing the traditionally feminized ideal of being concerned about food habits and associating the engagement in food-related activities as part of being a man.  154  6.1 Directions for Future Research These findings suggest that further research is warranted in several areas. First, more studies applying Furst's theoretical framework to data collected from a variety of participants in different settings will further enhance the understanding of the food choice process and establish the broader salience of the values and strategies that have been identified so far. It might also be of value to identify and examine the decision-making process as it applies for specific food-related decisions. When designing future qualitative studies using homogenous samples, researchers should be aware that decisions besides the actual food choice might emerge as salient for their informants' food habits. One way of ensuring that this is appropriately explored is to first inductively analyze the data. Second, other researchers in the field of nutrition and nutrition education should be aware of the complexity and diversity associated with the concept of healthy eating when designing future studies. The current study's findings particularly point towards the usefulness of exploring perceptions of the ideal food identity to obtain a better understanding of the many aspects of food habits that perceptions of healthy eating may encompass. The current study's findings indicate that for some individuals, a substantial proportion of their food intake takes place in public eating establishments and/or as take out meals. This points towards the need to further explore people's habits and experiences of eating out. Researchers should be particularly aware of the importance that eating out might have when designing studies that involve younger individuals who live alone in urban settings.  155  Finally, the extent to which men might be negotiating and constructing a "new" masculinity as expressed through food-related behaviours and attitudes needs to be further examined by exploring the food-related experiences of diversely situated men. To obtain a better understanding of this potential change in gender ideology and its implications, future studies should also examine how other factors interact in this process. For example, others should compare the food-related experiences of men who live in different types of households, and of men from different socioeconomic backgrounds.  6.2 Implications for Practice  The findings of this study also have implications for nutrition and health educators. When obtaining an understanding of clients' food choice processes, nutrition practitioners should be aware that food choice might include several types of food-related decisions. Assessing what these are, as well as the value negotiations that apply for each, might provide a more comprehensive understanding of why the client eats the way he or she does, which in turn might facilitate the delivery of effective dietary advice. When counselling clients who live alone, practitioners should be aware of the important influence that the absence of other household members exerts on these clients' food habits. By properly assessing how people who live alone experience this household context as impacting their food choices, practitioners can more effectively help this client group. Practitioners should also be aware that for some individuals a large proportion of their food intake comes from ready made meals purchased in public eating establishment. As part of the assessment, practitioners should ensure that the appropriate questions are  156  asked to explore each client's habits and experiences around eating out. For some of the men in the current study, eating out was associated with a certain level of value conflict in that they perceived this as less healthy, but more convenient for their lifestyle. Nutrition practitioners can ease this tension by providing information on convenient ways of preparing food at home when living alone, as well as how to eat healthfully when eating out. This study's findings also point towards the importance of including recommendations concerning eating out in broader nutrition education programs directed towards this (or similar) demographic groups. When counselling male clients, nutrition practitioners should be aware of the impact that changes in gender ideology might have on the food habits of this client group. Practitioners should be cautious not to place stereotypical values on their male clients and rather be open to how some men might reject traditional hegemonic masculinity by showing concerns about their health and nutrition and positive attitudes towards engagement in food-related activities. 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Appetite, 26, 37-44.  164  Appendix B: Screening Form  Identification number* Name Contact number Age Ethnicity Country of birth Education  Occupation  Duration of living in a oneperson household Previous living arrangements  Specific diet  Activity: Initial phone call Initial meeting Started food diary Completed food diary Picked up food diary Interview  Date:  166  Appendix C: Summary of Participants who were Excluded/Dropped Out  #  Reason:  1  • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15  Not working full time (worker's compensation plan) Moved to Canada as an adult Not working full time (student) Dropped out prior to completing the food diary Lost contact Did not live alone Not working full time (part time) Not working full time (part time). Moved to Canada as an adult Not working full time (unemployed) Not working full time (disability pension) Not working full time (unemployed) Not working full time (student) Did not live alone Not working full time (student) Not working full time (worker's compensation plan) Did not live alone 23 years old  167  Date/Time:  Type of Consumption/Purchasing-event:  Location of Consumption/Purchase:  With Whom Consumed/Purchased:  What was Consumed/Purchased:  Planning/Preparation:  Clean-Up:  Reason for Food related Decisions: Why did you choose to eat/drink/purchase.... + Other Comments: (Context, reflections/feelings, concerns )  171  Example 1: Date/Time:  Type of Consumption/Purchasing-event:  Monday, June 18 , 2001. 7:30am  Breakfast  Location of Consumption/Purchase:  With Whom Consumed/Purchased:  At home, by the kitchen counter/in the living room  Alone  th  What was Consumed/Purchased: 2 slices of buttered toast, instant coffee, 1 glass of orange juice, multivitamin. Planning/Preparation:  Clean-Up:  -took two slices of bread from the freezer and toasted them. -put butter on -boiled water and made coffee -took orange juice out of the fridge and poured a glass -got a vitamin from the container -took juice and coffee to the living room -a total of 10 min  -Put the glass and cup on the kitchen counter -put the juice back in the fridge -left the rest for later - it all took less than 1 min  Reason for Food Related Decisions: Why did you choose to eat/drink/purchase.... + Other Comments (Context, reflections/feelings, concerns...) This is what I usually would have for breakfast. But I was running late, so I just ate the toast by the counter, while waiting for the water to boil. Usually I prepare everything and sit down to eat in the living room. 1 also didn't have time to make coffee in the coffee machine, so I had to have instant coffee (which I really don't like - but it is better than no coffee). I usually have some sort of entertainment in front of me while eating breakfast, like T V or the paper. This is a chance for me to relax for 15-30 min before the day starts watch/read some news etc., and I enjoy that. But this morning was very rushed, so I only sat down for a few minutes while making a phone call and having some of my coffee. I was feeling a bit stressed, and I was also very tired.  172  Date/Time:  Type of Consumption/Purchasing-event:  Thursday, June 14 2001. 5.30 P M  Buying a few things I needed  Location of Consumption/Purchase:  With Whom Consumed/Purchased:  The corner shop  Alone  th  What was Consumed/Purchased: Bread, bagels, orange juice, potato chips. Planning/Preparation:  Clean-Up:  -This morning I realized that I was out of bread so I decided to pick some on my way home from work.  -n/a  Reason for Food Related Decisions: Why did you choose to eat/drink/purchase + Other Comments (Context, reflections/feelings, concerns...) - When I want to buy more groceries, I drive to Safeway. But I really only needed bread, and therefore I just went to the corner shop, which is just next to my apartment building. The other items I just decided to get when I saw them in the store.  173  Date/Time:  Type of Consumption/Purchasing-event:  Friday, June 15 2001. 8.00 P M  Dinner  Location of Consumption/Purchase:  With Whom Consumed/Purchased:  The Reef, Main Street  With my friends, Jason, John and Sara  th  What was Consumed/Purchased: Red Snapper, with rice and salad. Beer. Planning/Preparation:  Clean-Up:  -we made arrangements to go out for dinner, over the phone earlier this week.  -n/a  Reason for Food Related Decisions: Why did you choose to eat/drink/purchase + Other Comments (Context, reflections/feelings, concerns...) -1 often go out to eat with my friends. John and Sara have been out of town for a while, so we had planned to meet up and go out this Friday evening. -we chose The Reef because we all like it, the food is good and the prices are reasonable -I chose the snapper, because I felt like fish and Sara had tried it before and said it was really good -The food was excellent and I had a very good time!  174  Date/Time:  Type of Consumption/Purchasing-event:  Saturday, June 16 2001  Coffee-break while shopping  Location of Consumption/Purchase:  With Whom Consumed/Purchased:  Starbucks, Granville/Broadway  Alone  th  What was Consumed/Purchased: A tall coffee Latte Planning/Preparation:  Clean-TJp:  No planning or preparation really, just ordered  -n/a  Reason for Food related Decisions: Why did you choose to eat/drink/purchase.... + Other Comments: (Context, reflections/feelings, concerns ) Saturdays I'm not working, so I was out shopping and I needed a break. I also wanted to read the magazines upstairs at Chapters while having a coffee. (You are welcome to bring your Starbucks beverage into the bookstore). I spend an hour there and I really enjoyed just taking my time on my day off. The coffee was good too. To me, getting coffee out, particularly a latte is nice, because I usually get coffee made in coffee machines at home/work.  175  Appendix F: Generic Interview Guide  Opening Hello. As you already know, my name is Kari Sellaeg and I'm a Master's student in Human Nutrition at UBC. I'm interested in the food related work and decision making of men who live alone, and that's why you are invited to attend this interview.  1. Background: I would like to start with going back in time. Could you please tell me about how you grew up and what food habits you experienced then? Probes: • Family structure • Cultural background • Socioeconomic class • Food habits: • What foods • Habits/patterns • Division of food related work in relation to gender • His own participation in food related work How do you think the food related experiences of your childhood shape and influence your food habits today? Probes: • Feelings towards these food related traditions and practices • Meanings of these practices in participants life today What kind of living arrangements have you had as an adult, since you moved out from your parents? Probes: • List other living arrangements + duration • Food related activities in these households • Types of food eaten, eating patterns and habits • Division of food related work and decision making • Comparison of pros and cons, now and then, with respect to eating and food related activities How do you think the food related experiences in these households shape and influence your food habits today? Probes: • Feelings towards these food related traditions and practices • Meanings of these practices in participants life today  176  Tell me about your experiences of living alone Probes: • Duration • Likes/dislikes compared to other ways of living, previous experiences How would you describe your food habits in general? How does living alone affect your current food habits? Probes: • Decision making • Preparation • Eating alone more • Easier or more difficult to manage his food habits • Differences between now and earlier In what way would your eating habits be different if you didn't live alone? Probes: • Variation from now and why • Own perception of whether it would be "better" or not, and what is meant by "better"  2. Food diary questions: Let's move over to the food diary. I would like to thank you for completing it. It's been interesting reading it and I've picked out a few events that I thought we could talk about. First of all I would like to ask you how typical this week was for you. Probes: • Typical or not • What was different  The questions in this section will be based on what the participant has written in the food diary and are therefore not completely developed in this generic interview guide. Four to six events in the food diary will be chosen for discussion, ensuring that events offood purchasing, eating at home, eating out, eating alone and eating with others is included. In addition, the participants will be encouraged to describe the decision making involved. The questions will be shaped in a similar way, with specific probes depending on what event is being discussed:  177  I want to thank you for completing the food diary. It has been interesting reading it, and I would like to talk about some of the things you have recorded. B: 1.1 noticed from your food diary.. ..(refer to event). Can you please tell me more about this? Probes will be designed to cover descriptions of food related work aspects, food choices, social aspects, what this was like for the participant and how he felt. B: 2 How typical is this for you (referring to the same event)? B: 2a) If this is very typical, how do you think you developed this pattern? Probes will be designed to obtain a description of the participant's food back ground, early experiences and more recent influences B: 2b) If this is not typical, why did you do it this way? Probes will be designed to cover how decisions were made, what aspects participant considered when choosing what to eat and buy food and how to do the food related work, as well as what was influencing the decision making  Before we move over to the last part of the interview, I would just like to ask a few summarizing questions regarding your food habits: If not already asked: If I was to look in your kitchen right now, which food items would I find there? Probes • Personal perception of the food items, such as good - bad, healthy - unhealthy, etc. In general, what are some of the aspects you consider when choosing what to eat? Probes: • Nutrition and health • Quality of foods (organic etc) • Cost • Preparation procedures/convenience What about external factors, are there people or things in the environment that influences you, when you are deciding what to eat? Probes: • Friends, family, colleagues • Media, commercials •  Nutritional information  What do you think of as healthy food and healthy eating? Do you do any exercise?  178  3. Identity questions: In general, what do you think of your own food habits? Probes: • Health and nutrition • Cooking skills • Cost • Time consumption Do you think that your food habits are typical for men, your age, who are living by themselves in Vancouver? Let's say you were to put together a personal ad. How would you describe yourself? Do you think that you express yourself through your food habits? Do you think that different men express their differences in personalities by having different food habits? In general, do you think that there are any differences between the food habits of men who live alone and of women who live alone? Probes: • What differences • Why  Conclusion: Is there anything else you would like to add? -Summarize key points discussed -Thank you!  179  Appendix G: Interview Guide Used in the Last Interview A. Opening Hello. As you already know, my name is Kari Sellaeg and I'm a Master's student in Human Nutrition at UBC. I'm interested in the food related work and decision making of men who live alone, and that's why you are invited to attend this interview.  Background: I would like to start with going back in time. Could you please tell me about how you grew up and what food habits you experienced then? Probes: • Family structure • Cultural background • Socioeconomic class • Food habits: • What foods • Habits/patterns • Division of food related work in relation to gender • His own participation in food related work How do you think the food related experiences of your childhood shape and influence your food habits today? Probes: • Feelings towards these food related traditions and practices • Meanings of these practices in participants life today What kind of living arrangements have you had as an adult, since you moved out from your parents? Probes: • List other living arrangements + duration • Food related activities in these households • Types of food eaten, eating patterns and habits . • Division of food related work and decision making • Comparison of pros and cons, now and then, with respect to eating and food related activities How do you think the food related experiences in these households shape and influence your food habits today? Probes: • Feelings towards these food related traditions and practices • Meanings of these practices in participants life today Tell me about your experiences of living alone Probes: • Duration  180  •  Likes/dislikes compared to other ways of living, previous experiences  How would you describe your food habits in general? How does living alone affect your current food habits? Probes: • Decisionmaking • Preparation • Eating alone more • Easier or more difficult to manage his food habits • Differences between now and earlier In what way would your eating habits be different if you didn't live alone? Probes: • Variation from now and why •  Own perception of whether it would be "better" or not, and what is meant by "better"  Food diary questions: Let's move over to the food diary. I would like to thank you for completing it. It's been interesting reading it and I've picked out a few events that I thought we could talk about. First of all I would like to ask you how typical this week was for you. Probes: • Typical or not • What was different Event #1: The first event I've picked out is the breakfast you had on Wednesday, May 1 , so almost one week ago, and I would like to ask you to take me through that breakfast. Probes: • Planning/decision making • Preparations • Food choices • Eating the food - use of entertainment • Feelings • Cleanup st  In the food diary you've written a note in the "other comments" section and I was wondering if you could explain some more what you meant by that? Probes: • Other food choices • Reasons behind food choices How typical is it for you to have a breakfast like this on the mornings when you are off to work?  181  Probes: • Typical or not If typical, how did you develop the habit of doing it this way/why do you do it this way? Are there any other ways for you to have breakfast on the days when you work? Probes: • Other food choices • Getting something on the way to work • Having breakfast at work • Skipping breakfast What do you usually do for breakfast on the days when you're not working? Probes: • Other food choices • More elaborate preparations • Eat out • Which restaurants • Alone or with others • Food choices • Reasons for eating out Event #2: If we go back to May 1 , I noticed that you had a snack between breakfast and lunch, and I was wondering if you could tell me more about your morning snack habit. Probes: • Food choices • Reasons for having a morning snack (see 2) • Feelings st  Event #3: The same day you brought lunch for work and I was wondering if you could tell me more about that? Probes: • Planning • Preparations • Food choices • Eating in cafeteria with colleagues • Feelings How typical for you is it to have a lunch like this when you are at work? Probes: • Typical or not If typical, why do you often do it like this?  182  Probes: • Cost • Taste preference • Healthier than cafeteria food You have mentioned in the food diary that you prepare lunch for several days in ones and I was wondering if you could tell me more about that practice. Probes: • Describe preparation procedure •  Reasons for doing it this way  - How did you develop the habit of doing this/why do you do it that way? What are some other ways for you to have lunch at work (if you're not bringing food from home)? Probes: • Go out for lunch • Skip lunch • Take out food • Sandwich from Safeway? • Buy food in staff cafeteria How typical is it for you to eat lunch with your colleagues? If typical, why do you often do that? Probes: • Preference I think there was one lunch (on Saturday - event 12) where you ate by yourself at your desk, and I was wondering how you felt about that, compared to the other days when you eat in a group? Probes: •  The perceived importance of the social aspects of food  Event # 4: Lets jump back a bit, to the previous evening, Tuesday April 30 , when you went grocery shopping. Can you please tell me more about that? Probes: • Planning • Use of list • Which stores • Items bought • Feelings th  How typical is it for you to get your groceries this way?  183  Probes: • Typical or not • Usually takes place on the weekend, why no this time If typical, why do you often do it this way? Probes: • How habit came about • Choice of stores • Choice of items What are some other ways for you to get groceries? Probes: • Other ways of doing it • Stocking up on meat once a month • Buy what he needs for that day When choosing where to do your shopping, what are some of the aspects you consider? Probes: • Cost • Convenience • Food selection and quality • Food characteristics: Healthy, tasty, easy to make, etc. And when choosing what to food items to actually buy, how do you decide what to get? Probes: • Use of list/have a specific habit • Taste preferences • Cost • Preparations involved • Health and nutrition • What looks good In general, what foods do you usually keep in your kitchen? Like if I were to look in there now, what would I find? Probes: •  Description of food items  Event # 5: So we've talked about breakfast and lunch and shopping, and I thought we could move over to dinners. I picked out one evening when you made meal for yourself here at home, and it's the previous Friday, April 26 , and I'm going to ask you to please take me through that dinner. Probes: • Planning • Preparations th  184  • • • •  Food choices Feelings Use of entertainment Clean up  How typical is it for you to prepare a dinner like that at home? If typical, why do you often do it that way? Probes: • How he developed this pattern If not typical, why did you end up doing it this way on this specific Friday? Probes: • Wanted to cook at home • Wanted to watch the game • What happened prior, how was decision made (How did you plan this meal, or decide that this was what you were doing for dinner this night?) When you are making food at home and deciding what to have, what are some of the aspects you consider? Probes: • Taste preference • What is already in the house • Preparation procedures • Health and nutrition Can you describe how you did the actual preparations of the food? Probes: • Preparation of chicken • Preparation of vegetables Do you like making food? In general, how would you describe your cooking skills? Probes: • Types of food he makes • Preferences • Own perception • Cooking for others? So how was the meal? Probes: • Taste, enjoyed the food? • Where did you sit • Watching hockey • Eats quickly or sits for a long time  185  •  Feelings  In general how do you feel about eating alone? Probes: • Likes/dislikes • Use of entertainment What about the dishes, how did you clean up? Probes: • Right after How typical is it for you to do your dishes (right) after a meal? If typical, why? If not typical, why did you do them this time? What do you usually do? Event # 6: I also picked out the dinner on the following night, Saturday April 27 , where you are going out for food, and I was wondering if you could describe that dinner for me? Probes: • Planning • Decision making - restaurant • Food choices • Feelings, did you have a good time? th  I'm particularly interested in how you and your friends planned to go out for food that evening. How did it all come about? Probes: • Spontaneously after the game • Planned ahead • Who's suggestion • Negotiations (If I had been there, what would I have heard you say when you where deciding where to go). How typical is it for you to go out for food like that? Would you say that that dinner was something that you often do? Probes: • Frequency (In general, would you say that you eat out a lot?) What are some other ways for you to go out for food? Probes: • For which meals • To which restaurant (Russian place)  186  • •  Alone or with others Feelings toward eating out  Which aspects do you consider, when choosing where to go? Probes: • Serving sizes • Cost • Location • Selection on the menu • Atmosphere • Where friends wants to go I did not notice this in the food diary, but does it ever happen that you eat out by yourself? Probes: • Frequency • What meals • Feelings • Use of entertainment So we've talked about one episode where you eat out with some friends and another where you make food at home by yourself. What are some other ways for you to have dinner? Probes: • Eat out alone • Skip dinner • Take out food • Eat at friends/family's houses • Having people over Before we move over to the last part of the interview, I would just like to ask a few summarizing questions regarding your food habits. In general, what are some of the aspects you consider when choosing what to eat? Probes: • Nutrition and health • Quality of foods (organic etc) • Cost • Preparation procedures/convenience What about external factors, are there people or things in the environment that influences you, when you are deciding what to eat? Probes: • Friends, family, colleagues • Media, commercials  187  •  Nutritional information  What do you think of as healthy food and healthy eating? Do you do any exercise? In general, what do you think of your own food habits? Probes: • Health and nutrition • Cooking skills • Cost •  Time consumption  Identity questions: Do you think that your food habits are typical for men, your age, who are living by themselves in Vancouver? Let's say you were to put together a personal add. How would you describe yourself? Do you think that you express yourself through your food habits? Do you think that different men express their differences in personalities by having different food habits? In general, do you think that there are any differences between the food habits of men who live alone and of women who live alone? Probes: • What differences • Why Is there anything else you would like to add? -Summarize key points discussed -Thank you!  188  Appendix H: Code List AL-desc AL-feel AL-food habits Alcohol Br-DO Br-DO-in Br-DO-out Br-DO-out-food Br-WD Br-WD-in Br-WD-on way Br-WD-skip child-desc Child-now Child.-food habits Choosing what to eat Clean up Coffee-gen Dinner-fam Dinner-friends Dinner-guest Dinner-guest-plan/dec Dinner-in Dinner-in-plan/dec Dinner-other Dinner-P's Dinner-P's-plan/dec Dinner-TO Dinner habits Dinner out Eating alone - in Exercise Food in kitchen Healthy food is... Ideal Ideal- misc Ideal- MT Ideal-habits Ideal-in Ideal-item Ideal-soc Impact in-out dec In vs out?  Influence-feel Life course-future Life course-other M.-women M.desc M.express M. others M.types-FH M.typical N&H beliefs/concerns Organic Out-alone Out-d-what Out-d-where Out-pat/reas Out-plan/dec Out-where Own-desc Own-feel Personal factors PLA-desc. PLA-food habits PLA-now Plan-other's Prep-dinner-guest Prep-dinner-in Prep-gen Prep-percep Prep-WL Resources-space S-bbm S-habits-gen S-list S-pick up S-pop S-rr S-trip S-where Sd-what Sd-where Snack Social-gen Social-work Supplements Typical W-Br-brought  W-Br-caf W-Br-meeting W-Br-out W-Br-pick W-Br-there W-coffee W-food-gen W-lunch W-snack WL-brought WL-cafeteria WL-out WL-pick WL-there  Appendix I: The Participants' Choice of Food Context for the Main Meal Types as Recorded in Their Food Diaries. Work Days Breakf. Partici- #* pant days in out  Lunch  G **  in  out  in  out  3 2 3 3 3  2 3 1 0 3  1 2 4 1 3  -  3 5 2  1 1 4 2  2 4 1 4 1  D  0 4  -  Andrew Ben Craig Dave Ed  3 5 6.25 3 6  0 4 1 0 3  1 1 5 1 1  0 3 0 0  Frank  4  2  Ian John Kevin  5 5 5 5.25 4.5 5  0 1 0 4 7  4 0 5 1 0  2 0 3 0 5 5  Luke  5  4  0  2  George Hugh  Dinner  3  5 0 0 3  3 6 1  -  L,D -  -  Days i3ff Brunch #* days in out  Dinner in  out  G **  3.5 3 0 4.25 2  1 2  3 1  1 0  2 2  -  -  -  -  -  -  0 1  6 1  0 1  2  2D D  6.5 8 6.25 7.25 8  2 2 2  2  0 2 1  0  2 1 1  -  7  D  2 2  2 2 2  0 0 0 1  0 1 2  -  7 7 7.25 6.5 7  D,B  7  2 2  0 1  0  0 1  0  0  0 0 0 1  -  -  D -  *Some of the participants did not complete a food diary for exactly seven full days. 0.5 means half day, while .25 means one meal. (In Craig and Dave's case .25 refers to a breakfast, while for Ian this means a dinner.) **The column G summarizes the eating events for the main meal types (breakfast/brunch (B), lunch (L) and dinners (D), on work days and days off) where participants were invited over to other people's houses for food. *** None of the participants had recorded both breakfast and lunch on their days off. "Brunch" summarizes all the first meals recorded on days off, which participants defined as either breakfast, brunch or lunch.  192  Tot# days*  Appendix J: The participants' Dinners at Home as Recorded in Their Food Diaries. Partici- Day pant type Work Andrew day Days off Work day Ben  Craig  Dave  Ed  Frank  George  Hugh  Days off Work day Days off Work day Days off Work day  Days off Work day Days off Work day Days off Work day  Dinners Social context in (total)  #  days* Food choice 3 3.5 5.5  Salad and bread 2 Grilled cheese sandwiches  Friend Alone  Mushroom Agnolotti Organic beef, organic broccoli, rice, wine Stirfry, wine Macaroni and cheese  Alone  3  Alone Partner Alone —  3  Partner  1  3 6.5 0  Pasta with shrimps in sauce, cheese cake, wine N/A  0  3 4.25 6  Pasta, zucchini, mushrooms, tomato sauce, salad (beets, carrots, cilantro) Leftover pasta from 5 + added kale Stir fry (organic beef smokies, potatoes, onions, garlic, Chinese green beans, black bean sauce)  Alone Alone  5  Alone  2  Leftover stir-fry, made previous night  Alone  5  Brought ready made salad to potluck  Friend  1  Fresh pasta and pesto  Alone  1  Hot dog, salad, milk Instant noodles w. egg, salad, tomato, oil + vinegar, 2 cookies 2 buffalo burgers, salad, dill pickle, wine Spaghetti and meat sauce, salad, tomato + Ranch dressing, milk  Alone  2 5 2 5  193  Alone 5 Alone Alone  Ian  John  Kevin  Luke  Days off Work day  Days off Work days  Days off Work days  Days off Work days Days off  2 5.25  BBQ steak, rice, corn, salad, wine Pasta, olive oil, pesto, chicken, flax seed bagel w. avocado Pasta, chicken + four cheese sauce, baguette, juice, water  Alone  Rice, veggies, mackerel + left over salad Spaghetti Macaroni (from previous day), mixed salad Casserole: Macaroni, zucchini, mackerel, cheese, spices Nut smoothie: Sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, flax seed + coconut, banana, carob (Late dinner, same day as above) Salad: Kale, romanie, parsley Dressing: Lemon juice, miso, apple cider vinegar Nut + seed smoothie with 2 bananas Nut + seed smoothie He brought salad to potluck Seed smoothie Raw veg burger Kale and avocado salad, ginger dressing Chicken breast, Jamaican jerk sauce, carrots, potatoes, onions Cranberry, black cherry juice w. soda  Alone Alone  Alone 2 Alone  2  4.5  2 5  2 5  4 Alone Alone Alone  Alone 8 Alone Alone Friend Alone Alone Alone Alone  1  2  *Some of the participants did not complete a food diary for exactly seven full days. 0.5 means half day, while .25 means one meal. (In Craig and Dave's case .25 refers to a breakfast, while for Ian this means a dinner.)  194  Appendix K: The Participants' Dinners Out as Recorded in Their Food Diaries. Partici- Day type pant , r  Work Andrew day Days off  Craig  Work days Days off Work days  Dave  Days off Work days  Ben  Ed  Eating # days* establishm. Restaurant  3 3.5  5.5 3 6.25  N/A  3  Thai restaurant Fast food Sushi restaurant  4.25  Work days  6  Take out Restaurant Take out  Frank  Days off Work days Days off  George  Work days  2 5  2  Taco salad Chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, veg.  Restaurant Greek Greek food restaurant Foot long Sub, pop Fast food res. Veggie wrap, taco, drink Mall Pizza Delivery Roast beef, dessert Restaurant Chicken wings, chai tea Grill Pizza, ice cream Take out Fast food res. Chicken burger, fries, pop Hot dog, slurpie 7-11  0  Days off  Food choice  N/A Chicken cashew, w. vegetables, rice, spring-rolls, beer Big Mac, cheese burger, fries Pork gyoza, spicy dynamite roll, spicy tuna roll, tea Indian food: Chicken, dahl, naan Marinated raw tuna, rice, miso-soup, sunomono, salad, beer Pizza  Family style restaurant At work Thai restaurant Family style restaurant Restaurant  5 Legion  Social context  Dinners out (total)  Friend 3 Friend Friend Alone Alone Partner Partner Partner Partner Alone Alone  4  4  N/A Friend 3 Alone Friend Friends 3 Friend Friend -  Hamburger, fries, gravy, . coleslaw, coke 2 slices of pizza Pad Thai, ginger chicken  Partner Alone  4  Partner Chicken sandwich, salad Cheeseburger, fries, beer Baron of Beef buffet, salad, 1 beer  195  Partner Friend | Friend  5  Bistro Grill  Hugh  Ian,  Days off Days off Days off Work days  2  Hotel  5  Restaurant Family style restaurant  2 5.25  Korean restaurant Pizza place Japanese restaurant Take out  John  Kevin  Luke  Days off Work days Days off Work days Days off Work days  2 4.5 2 5 2 5  Friend Friend Family Friend  Students Alone  Friend  Friend  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  Russian deli Chinese restaurant  4  Alone  Pad Thai  Russian deli  2  Friend  Tapas restaurant  Take out  2  Yakisoba Chinese food: Stir fry veg., tofu, prawns, brown rice  -  Seafood restaurant  Days off  Italian plate, foccacia, meats, cheese, olives, peppers, red wine Cheeseburger, beer Roast beef buffet, potatoes, beans, dessert, wine Miso-soup, salad, sushi combination Cheese burger, salad, dry ribs, beer Bip Em Bap (Korean pancake), dumplings, kimchi, water Slice of pizza  1  -  Chicken meatball soup, cheese-burger, home fries, coleslaw Seafood, garlic mashed potatoes, Caesar salad Thai food: Salad, rice, eggplant green beans, Thai basil, chicken, beef, wine Veal schnitzel, mixed vegetables, home fries, water Wonton soup, black bean beef, prawns, greens, meat/seafood/tofu hot-pot, tea, water  Friend  Friend Friend Friend  Friend  *Some of the participants did not complete a food diary for exactly seven full days. 0.5 means half day, while .25 means one meal. (In Craig and Dave's case .25 refers to a breakfast, while for Ian this means a dinner.)  196  0  5  

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