Your relationship with food matters
You are what you eat – or so the saying goes. So how aware are you of what you are consuming on a daily basis? How aware are you of your relationship with food? That’s right, relationship. A lot of people do not have a good relationship with food, and I don’t mean that sometimes eating onions gives you indigestion. While being aware of what foods cause you gastronomic distress is a good thing, it is critical to your health and well-being to have a good relationship with food.
Think about how you feel in regards to the following statements:
- Food’s purpose is a source of nutrients that fuel my body
- I forget to eat if I’m busy doing something else
- I find myself snacking all day, especially on things that are sweet or salty (or both!)
- I’ve been known to polish off a bag of chips or pretzels while watching television
- I can’t get my day started without coffee. Lots of coffee.
- I love food, but food doesn’t love me
- I listen to my body for clues as to what I should eat
Food as the necessary evil
This was my relationship with food for a long time. I had better things to do than spend an hour in the kitchen whipping together a meal that would take ten minutes to consume. That just didn’t seem like a good return on my time investment. As a result, I either skipped a meal, or chose something quick and usually processed to consume.
In the past year, I’ve begun to change my mindset about food. Instead of looking at food preparation as a chore, I’ve come to view it as an opportunity to take a break and meditate. I’ve chosen to make my health a priority, and in doing so I’m more concerned about what foods I’m putting into my body. This shift has allowed me to look at food in a different way: more as a life sustaining force and less as a means to stop my stomach from growling. Food preparation has become a sort of meditation practice: the chopping of the vegetables, stirring the soup or sauces, smelling the herbs and spices, spreading the nut butters on toast – whatever action of preparation I do, I do it fully aware of how it is transforming the food which will in turn nourish and transform me.
How you eat is as important as what you eat
I am also mindful as I eat. I chew each bite as much as a can, savoring the flavors and texture that bite of food has to offer. This also allows the enzymes in my mouth to begin breaking down the food, which means a bit less stress on my stomach enzymes and easier digestion. All that chewing takes time and slow eating makes you feel full with less food consumed.
Although I’ve been undergoing this mind shift about food for almost a year, it is still a process that I have to think about; it doesn’t come naturally to me to think of food as a friend. For a while that bothered me. Surely if I “practiced” my good eating habits I should start prepping and eating healthy meals without giving it much thought. But I realized it is the giving it thought that is the healthy part. The awareness of the preparation and eating is the very thing that is nourishing my soul while the food itself is nourishing my body.
Spend some time this week being aware of what you are eating and how you are eating. When you are aware, you are more likely to make healthier choices and to not overeat. Share your thoughts over on our Facebook page.