Our relationship with food is often quite complicated, considering the constant messages we receive about the way we “should” eat and look, trendy diets and so-called bad foods. Consider these 5 tips to help you create joyful eating experiences and reboot your relationship with food.
This post comes from Katie Cavuto, Integrative Dietitian, Chef and Wellness Advocate, who will be hosting a FP How We series at home office.
What does food mean to you? While many of us LOVE food, it’s easy to understand how tricky this question can be. Our relationship with food is often quite complicated, considering the constant messages we receive about the way we “should” eat and look, trendy diets and so-called bad foods. Food evokes many emotions for most of us.
Thankfully, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There are no good foods or bad foods, and the number on the scale doesn’t define your self worth. Enough dieting and deprivation, let’s fall back in love with food. Here are 5 tips to help you create joyful eating experiences and reboot your relationship with food.
Set Positive Intentions.
Intentions are less rigid than those lofty weight-related goals we are used to setting. They’re also a far cry from dieting and deprivation. You see, positive intentions create positive results. Plus, your intention can act as an affirmation of sorts. They’re a touch point for you to fall back on when your mind is a bit out of control. Remember there is no pass/fail with intentions so let go of the idea that perfection exists.
Try This: The affirmation or intention, “I eat to nourish my body” is rooted in self-love and self-respect. It feels good, doesn’t it? When we eat to nourish our body it is not about depriving ourselves of our favorite foods but rather about bringing awareness to why we are eating and to create more moderate behaviors that promote overall wellness.
When is the last time you were truly engaged in an eating experience? Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be tedious, but the more your practice, the more natural it becomes. Consider this — when we are mindful of our physical and emotional cues we can better understand why we eat, why we choose certain foods and which foods make us feel good. We can also give ourselves the opportunity to connect with our cooking, shopping and eating experiences, which will result in something I like to call “Food Gratitude.”
Mindful eating practices require us to slow down, which creates the space for awareness. Awareness is good. This is the root of any meaningful change. When we take time to breathe we give the opportunity to make a decision that’s different than our norm. We become aware of our emotions and the way our body feels. Do your best not to judge. Think “curious” instead.
Try This: Before each meal, pause to take 5 grounding breathes. Connect with yourself. Are you hungry? Bored? Anxious? Habitually eating? I’m talking to you, “evening snack.” If you are hungry, eat. If you realize that you have connected with an emotional cue, nurture your emotion, rather than feed it.
Nurture Your Emotions.
Feeding our emotions doesn’t change them. If anything, it exacerbates the negative emotions by piling on guilt and shame. There is no joy in that! Maybe the answer is that we need to experience the emotion to set it free? Breathe into it. Don’t be afraid of it. Be as compassionate with yourself as you would be with a friend.
You’re probably thinking, “easier said than done”, right? You’re right. This is really hard stuff but the hard stuff yields the most rewarding results!
Try This: Instead of feeding your emotions, love yourself. Maybe you take a bath, call a friend, roll out your yoga mat or take a walk. Get that emotional energy out!
Savor Each Bite.
When is the last time your truly tasted your food? It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Challenge yourself to taste each bite before you start to chew. Speaking of chewing, chew mindfully; challenge yourself to chew each bite around 10 times; you probably swallow at around 2-3! Pay attention to the way the flavor and texture of your food changes. Engage your other senses, too! By savoring each bite, you will enjoy less food — and still feel satisfied. I find I am more satisfied when I actually engage in a meal. There is no need for deprivation when you follow this technique.
Try This: Be it ice cream, spinach — or my favorite, potato chips — start by giving yourself the OKAY to enjoy the eating experience and really taste each bite. Savor them actually. The result is satisfaction and food gratitude. Guilt and shame don’t live here. Joy does! Yum!
Cashew Chocolate Truffles
¾ cup full fat coconut milk
10 oz dark chocolate chips
¼ cup cashew butter
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Place chocolate chips in medium heat-safe (glass or metal) bowl and set aside. Heat coconut milk in a small saucepan until it is simmering. Pour hot coconut milk over chopped chocolate, then gently whisk together until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in cashew butter. Cover chocolate mixture and refrigerate until it is firm enough to scoop, about 30-45 minutes. (If you wait to0 long it will become too firm to work with.) Dust your hands lightly with cocoa powder. Use a spoon or a small candy scoop to form small balls from ganache, and roll between your hands to make round. Finish by rolling them in a thin coating of cocoa powder. Freeze or refrigerate until ready to serve.