When I first started brainstorming the concept behind The Moment, it was all about food because, well, I really love food! It brings me an incredible amount of joy. I grew up cooking with my grandmother and my mom. Today, when I go home to California, all I want to do is be in the kitchen with my aunts and cousins.
Over the last few years, as I’ve really explored and educated myself about food, I’ve realized our diets are the first thing we all need to reevaluate when we think about feeling good and feeling beautiful. Food is our medicine, our energy force, and our lifeline. But, here’s the thing… I can know that, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve had a complicated relationship with food ever since I was fourteen (aka when I hit puberty).
I don’t think I’m alone in this. In fact, I think pretty much every woman I’ve ever met has some sort of thing with food. What I’ve realized the more I write about food and work on recipes, is that there are a lot of emotions around food and eating. These emotions can be scary, “Food makes you fat!” or they can be awesome. Every moment of anxiety around food can be replaced with joy if you focus on the right things. The way I think about it, we eat 3-4 times a day. That’s a lot of opportunity to feel great, right?
Here are my 8 tips to feeling joy while eating:
1. Eat what you want ::
When you force yourself to drink a green juice, or eat grilled chicken when you’re not in the mood, then you’re not going to be enjoying yourself. In fact, it kinda feels like a punishment. That’s the opposite of what we want to be feeling when eating. We want to smile we’re so happy to be eating whatever it is in front of us. When people, especially women, hear, “Eat what you want,” I think they get nervous because that means cupcakes, brownies, a big bowl of pad thai with a side of spring rolls. But, I don’t think that’s really the case. I think when you really think about what you want and what will make you feel good, you 9 times out of 10 choose something that won’t upset your stomach, that will give you energy, that has a nice clean taste. Which leads me to…
2. Eat what makes you feel good ::
This is tricky. You have to really spend time getting to know your body and be in touch with it every day to know what makes you feel good. For me, it changes every day. It also changes with what I eat. When I’m eating cleaner food, I want cleaner food. When I eat less sugar, I crave less sugar. Some days my body wants to start off the day with a cup of coffee, other days it wants a green juice, and other days it wants more of a meal. And there are a lot of foods that don’t make my body feel good. Which goes back to #1. If something doesn’t make you feel good (for me that’s gluten and most dairy), then do I really want it? Probably not. It’s not going to make me feel good, so I know it’s not going to bring me joy.
3. Taste your food ::
Have you ever sat down, taken a bite or sip of whatever you’re eating, and then closed your eyes and really, truly tasted your food? It’s pretty wild when you do. All of a sudden, your taste buds are exploding and you taste all these complexities that weren’t even there before. Food becomes so magical, and as a result, so much more satisfying. When your food becomes more satisfying, you automatically feel more joy from it. Note: And in my experience, this also make you want less of it.
4. Be Thankful ::
For so many years, I was resentful towards food. I was taught that food makes you fat. And I hated food for making me “fat.” I hated it even more because I loved it and what’s worse than something you love being bad for you? Turns out, food doesn’t make you fat. Food is where our medicine is, it’s our life force, and it’s delightful. We should be so thankful for our food. The truth is, it’s our thoughts and fears that make us fat. So instead of looking at a piece of food and saying, “I’m so mad at you, why do you have to be so delicious and so bad for me?” say either, “Hi lovely, I’m going to enjoy eating you and I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to be fed by you” or “I feel like you’re going to give me a stomach ache and make me feel tired, so I’m not that into you. Bye.”
5. Know where your food comes from ::
Let’s face it, our food in the US has become pretty toxic. The amount of GMO, pesticides, and antibiotics in our food is out of control and is most likely making a lot of us sick and overweight. I don’t know how much we can control, but I think where we can, there is a lot of benefits and joy to be had in knowing where our food comes from. When you really put the time into thinking and knowing about where your eggs come from, and understanding what goes into making a teaspoon of honey, everything changes. All of a sudden you’re the receiver of a beautiful gift and you can’t help but savor every bite, which goes back to #3 and #4.
6. Follow your own rules (which might mean not following any rules at all) ::
There are a lot of food blogs and health websites out there. A lot of them are really intense, which can take the joy out of eating. My advice is to do you. Figure out what works for your body and your temperament and go forth. Don’t worry about if other people have given up gluten or sugar or only eat raw food. Don’t let their rules take away your joy.
7. Understand how your body works ::
The first time I started to think about how my body works in relation to food was when I met the girls from Bonberi. They introduced me to plant based eating and how our stomachs digest our food. Recently, I sat down with Be Well by Kelly. She taught me about how my body responds to insulin and protein, and that was another big leap for me in understanding how my body works. Each time I learn more about how my body works, it takes less of the guess work out of food, which frees up more room to enjoy what I’m eating.
8. Don’t take it too seriously ::
Know that overeating is part of normal eating (as my friend Shira RD said on Instagram one time) and it’s really not that big of a deal. There’s no need to go into a shame spiral over a cinnamon bun. You’re not even going to remember it 5 years from now. So, if you ate something that doesn’t feel right, that in the end didn’t bring you joy, that’s ok, it’s life. What’s worse for you is feeling guilty. Think of it as a treat and appreciate it, and move on.
Photo courtesy of The Wink