I love food! I love the smell, the taste, its appearance… but most of all I love the way food brings together families, friends and loved ones. Because of todays busy society, its often we forget to be present whilst eating. How many times a day do you think you eat completely unconsciously? Simply put I have a deep belief in the importance of sitting down, being present, enjoying, sharing and LOVING your food. It’s something that I’m personally trying to work on as I’ve noticed eating has become something that I just do rather than experience.
It has become more common amongst society to eat ‘on the go’ or to be doing something whilst eating e.g. reading, scanning through social media feeds, driving, walking, talking on the phone. It’s like our eating time has become our ‘eat and get things done’ time.
To explain where I’m going with this I think it’s important to go back to the basic question of which I believe a lot of people have forgotten the answer to, that is… why do we eat? In my opinion, food is for survival, enjoyment, health and wellbeing. Really thinking about food, what it is to you and the value you have in eating and sharing a meal can be an amazing way of re connecting to what you are consuming and therefore the effect it has on your body and wellbeing.
Taking it back to the simple rules of a family dinner…
You may or may not be familiar with these but these are the rules I was surrounded with in my own and my friends homes growing up.
1. Everyone one must sit around the dinner table
2. The table must be set
3. Everyone must help contribute to the meal
4. No phones at the dinner table
5. TV must be switched off
6. Gratitude and appreciation must be given to everyone who contributed to the meal.
These rule basically go back to simply being present, appreciative and respectful at the dinner table and therefore enjoying each and every mouthful with your loved ones.
To me rule one represents the enjoyment, celebration and unity food creates in society. Food tastes SO much better when cooked by a loved one, with a loved one or eaten and enjoyed alongside a loved one. Rule two represents how setting the table tells your body and mind that you’re about to eat and therefore reminding yourself to be present. Rule three again reconnects us to sharing a meal, putting love into the meal as well as helping to unite as a family or a group. Rules four and five are the teenagers worst nightmare, but again take it back to being respectful to your loved ones, sharing a meal, creating engagement in the conversations at the table and spending quality time together. Rule 6 to me is a HUGE deal. This is in no way a religious thing more so just paying respect to where your food came from, who prepared it, farmed it and paid for it. What it is that your eating and the nutritional goodness and benefits that it will serve your body and mind.
Chew your food, smell your food, observe your food, taste the different ingredients in your food… completely finish and swallow one mouthful before you begin the next, feel and observe the different textures and flavors as you eat. I can guarantee physically and mentally you will feel SO much better and food will become a heck of a lot more enjoyable.