Imagine a backyard space sheltered by grapevine, with a table set out – plates, cups and cutlery glistening in the early evening soft orange light.
You see sliced sourdough bread on a cutting board, crispy crumbs peppered around it, a pot of soup – hearty and colourful, a plate of fresh veggies and a bowl of mixed fruit, bright green mint leaves peeking from between berries and slices of nectarines. Would you like a cup of tea after dinner? You can pick your favourite herb from the garden beds right behind you.
The light breeze mixes insect buzzing with the conversation and your senses are all awake as you sit down…
Do you like food?
I do. I love it. I love the anticipation and the taste of that first bite, and I love being able to detect the flavours hidden within.
We used to have it that way. It was the way to eat. You would pick up ingredients from the market or food store, or harvest your own, you’d work a bit of magic in the kitchen (or your host would, or your favourite small restaurant chef) and voilà! You expected to taste food, real and simple, and you got it. Food had no big secrets then. Food was our friend.
We now hide cookies in the freezer for fear of overindulging, more so in the afternoon or long after dinner. We overeat, but don’t feel like we ate well anyway; we second-guess our choices again and again because somehow, something does not feel right with all that bloating, sluggishness and mood fluctuations. It just doesn’t.
Also, we used to eat together a lot more. Connected, with food and with each other.
Things have changed in the last couple of decades
Our taste buds have been hijacked, which coincides with an ever-growing list of processed foods, most of which have an excess of sugar, salt and chemicals listed as natural or artificial flavours. Many of us eat on the run. Also, we eat staring at screens and or skip meals altogether. We accept the convenience of fast food, both outside the home and inside, but it does not make us happy.
We’re stressed and the rates of chronic metabolic disease are increasing, which adds yet more stress which then we try to combat with food… And that’s a problem because the go-to comfort food is not always the healthiest. In fact, most time it isn’t, regardless of what the package says.
But… we are awash in cookbooks, a never-ending stream of appetizing dishes on social media, all the trends that come and go, and lots and lots of ‘eat this, not that’ just about everywhere. We’re left bewildered and then we feel motivated to try again, but discouraged at the same time, because there is just too much information and it’s overwhelming.
Is our fractured relationship with food fixable?
The short answer is yes. However, not overnight, and not through some crazy diet.
Reconnecting with food is possible and, believe it or not, there has never been a better time to make it happen.
Sure, there is a lot of information out there. Too much, you say. I agree, but there are many reliable sources too, and credible information that can help us build a viable relationship with food.
Is it worth it? Yes, and here’s why:
- Making healthier food choices can help reduce chronic, low-grade inflammation, which is what the body (brain included) experience when we don’t get enough of the good stuff.
- Food that nourishes your body transforms you. Side effects include: more energy, less anxiety and fatigue, improved digestion, and better sleep.
- By choosing healthy foods, you give your taste buds the chance to translate each bite into dazzling sensations. Yes, there’s tasty work ahead.
- Whole foods come with an array of health-promoting compounds. Good for you and for your trillions of gut bacteria (a.k.a your microbiome).
- Healthy food does something amazing: it makes adopting other healthy lifestyle habits a lot easier, which means you’ll reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease.
YES, it is possible to have a healthy relationship with food yet again. And worth every effort!
Do you want to make it happen? Let’s get started!