I want you to really think about this – why do you eat?
While there is the obvious answer that we eat to satisfy hunger, food and particularly the act of sharing food goes well beyond our biological need for nourishment. Rather than simply being fuel for our survival, food is the glue that brings people together and adds colour to mankind’s array of culture.
Both the sharing and offering of food, no matter how frugal it may be, evokes a universal sense of warmth, acceptance and belonging. Whether this is a simple family meal, a celebratory event or perhaps a romantic date, food sets the scene for meaningful conversation and is entwined with our most cherished memories.
In today’s diet obsessed culture, I fear our connection with food is fading. While we may enjoy the experience of eating, too often we overthink each morsel of food that passes our lips, perhaps wondering whether we have consumed too many calories or overdone the carbs. On the flip side, perhaps we’re not giving enough attention to our food and the joy of eating – which is often the case if we park ourselves in front of the television (or computer) and mindlessly eat our meal.
As a dietitian, I take great interest in what, why and how we choose to eat. Whether our disconnect with food stems from our perception (or reality) of being too busy to enjoy a meal, or is a result of nutrition confusion (and there is plenty of that!), there is much we can do to reconnect with food.
Here are my suggestions –
Start you day right by waking 15 minutes earlier to sit down and eat breakfast. Not only will you have time to eat a nourishing meal, you’ll also gain some extra time to gather your thoughts and organise your day.
Realise that fad dieting is like holding your breath – you can only do it for so long before you need to breathe! No matter what dietary fad gains popularity, please know that healthy eating does NOT require you to give up your favourite foods, adhere to a restrictive eating plan or cut out entire food groups.
Eat balanced meals, eat when you’re hungry and know that an occasional treat won’t derail your good work – it’s just not possible! Remember that it is what we chose to do consistently that makes the difference to our weight, health and overall wellbeing.
Make it a health priority to literally ‘switch-off’ and eat your lunch away from your computer, smart phone or television. Whether you chose to eat your lunch at a table or sitting on a park bench, allow yourself a few moments to eat your lunch in a relaxed manner. Do so, and you may discover you’re satisfied with less food and you’re mentally recharged for the afternoon.
Be inspired by seasonal, local produce by taking a trip to your local Farmers Market. Knowing that I’m supporting local business and buying produce with a low food mileage that is typically organic, I can’t help but get the ‘feel-goods’ when I visit the markets.