If you haven’t noticed…. I love food.
I eat things like these:
Fries (also from Del Friscos Tampa)
Adult Milk Shakes (oh was this good, thanks Del Friscos Tampa!)
Buffalo Chicken Flatbread (this one from Cask Social in Tampa)
Fried Rosemary and Prosciutto Doughnuts from Edison:
Bacon Cheese Grits (Another Cask Social delight!)
Even Cauliflower Gratin! (A Lora in the kitchen original, recipe later this week!)
And over and over again I am asked. How do you eat, drink, and be so merry–without weighing so much or having crazy skin or just feeling awful?
Answer: I eat MINDFULLY.
MFK Fisher (one of my favorite writers, if you don’t know her work…check it out! It will make your mouth water and your spirit sour!) said “Dining partners, regardless of gender, social standing, or the years they’ve lived, should be chosen for their ability to eat – and drink! – with the right mixture of abandon and restraint. They should enjoy food, and look upon its preparation and its degustation as one of the human arts.” And that to me, is what eating, eating is A HUMAN ART.
It should be approached mindfully, lovingly, and with passion. The way an actor prepares for the stage, a musician holds his violin, the dancer leaping through the air.
Food is love. Food and emotion cannot be separated. To truly enjoy food, one must savor it. One must SLOW down. One must eat good food. One must enjoy the company you are with. But, most importantly, one must really chew, really taste, and really EXPERIENCE the meal.
I don’t care if you are eating for one or at a dinner party for twelve. You must eat mindfully. You must be present. Each bite presents new flavors, new joys to behold. Each bite can reveal a new layer to you. A new sensation. A new feeling. A new way of being–even if just for a moment.
Food is, in short, magical.
But only when you see the magic. As J.M. Barrie wrote in Peter Pan “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
We doubt that we can enjoy our food. We doubt that food can nourish the soul. We overeat and hide our emotions. We eat things that taste like cardboard. We say in our heads “if I eat this my stomach will be upset.” And then low and behold, your stomach is upset! Or we say “Oh I can’t have that. It will make me fat.” And then you decide to binge on the entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s and wallow in self-loathing and self-pity for doing the very thing you despised. Of course, that will make you feel unwell and lead to weight gain and body issues. (Not to mention others.) But, if you had just had a small amount and approached the ice cream from a place of love, from a place of appreciation, from a place of awareness…You would have enjoyed all the flavors, felt satiated with only a little bit, and not felt ill, sick, bad about yourself, or unwell afterwards.
All you need to do is show up to the meal. Fully show up. Eat quality food. Eat mindful portions. Stop when you are full. And you will know when you are full because you will be eating slowly and tasting each and every bite. Release your notions of food being “good” or “bad.” Learn to find out what your body craves–and when. And why! Is it an emotional need for chocolate? Or do you really legitimately need chocolate? When you taste real cheese, for example, you will find you never again will want processed cheese. Or when you drink good wine, truly GOOD wine, slowly and mindfully with delight–you will never again settle for guzzling cheap crap with disgusting flavors.
How can I eat all that I eat? How can I love bacon so? Love Champagne? Love chocolate? Love, egads! Bread!?!
Because I honor it. I love it. I prepare my food at home with love. I eat at restaurants with utter joy and zest. I fully taste the flavors. I can only try a bite of something and be content. (Or I can eat way more than a bite–especially if it’s really good! HA!) But I know when to eat, how to eat, and appreciate all that I am to eat. And I seek out quality food and dinner partners who also appreciate the culinary arts. But I listen to my gut. (Pun intended.) I know what foods I need and when. I through diet out the window. I eat to satisfy my body’s need for fuel, but I also eat to satisfy my soul’s need for pleasures.
Food sustains us. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be a chore. A thing of worry. A thing of this crazy negativity and so many emotions.
It is a thing of love.
And when you treat your food, your dining, your approach to meal times, as you would a lover, a child, or something you treasure dearly….You will find your whole view of life is bigger, is happier, is fuller.
As Virgina Woolf said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
So dine well my friends. Dine well. And with the art of eating well, you will live well! 🙂 NOMaste my friends!