It’s a new year with new diet resolutions and now seems like as good as time as any to evaluate our connection with our food. Before we evolved into our present day forms, we used to have to hunt and gather food for survival. We had a direct connection with where our sources of energy came from. In the present day hustle, we seem to have lost this connection, often not giving second thought to the toil and labor that it took for us to have a slurp of tomato soup. Reconnecting with our food and being a conscious eater can help us focus on slowing down and taking in all the pleasures life has to offer. Building a positive relationship with food can be a stepping stone in maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.
Discover the Complexity of Taste
There is so much that goes into tasting and in actuality, we rely on all of our senses when we taste food. Your basic taste sensations are sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. If you want to capture all the complexity of flavors that are present in your food, put your fork down and keep the bite in your mouth as long as possible. Since we not only smell food through our nose as well as through our mouth, try swishing that bite around your mouth and take a careful breath to fully get the range of aromas; similar to how a wine taster taste wine. Our sense of smell plays a prominent role in our ability to taste. Just think of anytime you have had a stuffy nose, think about how food seems to lose flavor. According to Barbara Stuckey’s Taste What You’re Missing, between 75 and 95 percent of what we taste can be attributed to smell. Also take a moment to focus on the texture. Our lips and tongue are our most sensitive body parts after our hands. For example, part of the experience of a perfectly ripe apple is that crisp texture when you bite into it and if the apple is mealy, that can ruin the whole experience.
A part of reconnecting with your food is being 100 percent present in the moment. Turn off all distractions and really pay attention to the flavor, texture, and smells of what you are eating. Do you ever really notice the creaminess of mashed potatoes? Or the texture of a perfectly ripe tomato? This is a part of the whole experience of eating. I have a greater appreciation for my plate when I take a moment to take in the whole experience. Another part of being fully present is to slow down, eat at a table, and check in with yourself during your meal. Ask yourself if you are enjoying your food. Check in with your belly, ask it if it is full. This sounds silly, of course, but being fully present and aware of your body helps you not only enjoy your food but also helps keep you tuned in to your body’s fullness signals. Too often we are in a rush and just shove whatever we can find in our mouth, being present helps to slow us down and encourage us to make better food decisions.
Take a moment to give thanks to your plate. No really, tell those plants that you appreciate the energy that they will give you. Again I know it sounds silly, but giving your food positive thoughts helps create a healthy, loving environment. According to Pam Grout, author of E-Squared, everything in our environment is affected by our thoughts. Giving our food positive thoughts and thanking it for the nourishment, not only will change how you view your plate but also stop negative self-talk in its ugly tracks. When indulging in that slice of cake, just be grateful that you get to experience something super delicious and don’t beat yourself up about how it’ll go straight to your thighs. Indulging once in a while is one of the great pleasures of life. The diet industry has taught us to fear and blame food for our bodily imperfections instead of encouraging a balanced healthy diet where we embrace food and give thanks for its life giving nourishment. So next time you eat a salad, say “Thank you veggies for being awesome and tasty and for repairing my body and giving me life.”
Also by Krystle: 5 Herbs to Start Your DIY Herb Garden
Photo: Krystle Troia-Alvarado