How to Redefine and Enhance your Connection with Food

Your connection to food is something you will carry with you through the rest of your life. The foods we choose to eat and how they make us feel have such an impact on our lives. Improving our connection to food is something we can all commit to and strive for.  It is always evolving as we encounter new situations and gain new knowledge and understanding of ourselves and our world.

Although we live at a time like no other in our food history, when there has never been such an array of food products available and food transportation around the globe has never been so limitless, there simultaneously exists such a disconnection between ourselves and the foods we eat. A disconnection that is detrimental to our health and natural state of being. How do we rebuild our food connectivity?

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First, there is the question of how do we become disconnected with food? So many factors shape our lives and our identities. One would think in this age of incredible interconnectivity across the globe we would be more connected. However, when you consider the vast amounts of boxed, packaged, prepared and “ready in 90 second” meal options out there it is easy to lose sight of and connection to what exactly “real food” is. A lack of connection is noticeable if you learn how to look for and observe it.

Our assumptions about food are another factor that contribute to this disconnect. Assumption are our taken for granted beliefs that something is real, when it may not be. Assumptions influence our actions and behaviours–sometimes without us even realizing it. How about “Eating healthy takes too much time” or “Eating healthy costs too much”. Our assumptions can hold us back and impede living authentically and finding the solutions we need to live our best lives.

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Here are some ideas on how to find a new perspective and create a new level of connection with food.

  • The most important thing you can do is gain awareness. Realize what you are eating and why you are eating. What foods do you purchase and where do you shop? You will gain tremendous insight from taking a moment to reflect, pause and examine the interwoven connections of where food comes from and how it got to your table.

 

  • Following this is being honest. And this is the hard one. Be honest with how you feel towards the food you eat and how the foods you eat affect you. If something is not serving you can you be honest enough to acknowledge that and let it go.

 

  • Eat Real by enjoying food in its purest form – as nature intended and gifted it to us. Real food is a natural source of energy and nutrients which is more sustainable and empowering than processed alternatives. Change takes time so start gradually by making more and more wholesome, natural food choices when you can. It might not always be possible, and we need some flexibility in our lives, but it will amaze you at the shifts you see in your eating habits and how you feel.

 

  • Try something new! It’s exciting and refreshing to try a new food or a new recipe. When you are interested and excited about what you are about to eat you naturally will feel more connected to it.

 

  • Visit a local farmers’ market or find sources for local food options. Eating locally and meeting the people who grow your food builds bridges and connections.

 

  • Eat mindfully and be grateful to maximize your satisfaction and satiation with your food. The simplest act of respecting and being grateful for the food you have to eat compounds your connection with food. How can you show more gratitude and appreciation for the foods you eat? The practice of saying grace is eternal, it only takes a few words at the beginning of your meal to cultivate the feeling of compassion for yourself and the food you are about to eat.

 

  • Notice and build awareness of assumptions and the ways these influence actions and behaviours and, if necessary, change them. Doing so can help you become more in aligned with what is real and authentic. You will gain tremendous insight from examining the interwoven connections of where food comes from and how it got to your table. We often form assumptions. What assumptions do you make about food?

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Especially around holidays, we have the time to connect with one another and be grateful for and celebrate the food that we have. But in reality fueling your connection to food is something that will take more practice and persistence. At the end of the day deep down we all want to eat and feel good and building a healthy connection with food supports this. What are some ways you will nourish and improve your food connection?

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Fall Back to Food Basics

Fall is such a vibrant season where we can take the most time to appreciate, connect with and embrace nature. It’s a beautiful season but also a very busy time of year and a season that seems to fly by just like the leaves falling from the trees. September, the start of Fall, is when new schedules commence can be one of the most hectic times of the year and then October comes and goes before we realize it! When life becomes more demanding and overwhelming it can become harder to make good decisions, especially when it comes to our food choices.

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Are you trying to keep up to the craziness of the modern lifestyle? Getting back to basics with your food choices can help diminish some of the stress you might be feeling in your life. Furthermore, simplifying your nutrition can make it easier to achieve and maintain healthy eating habits.

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Here are some tips to help you get back to basics with your nutrition:

Wherever possible choose fresh, whole, un-processed or minimally-processed foods. How close does what you are eating compare to what is found in nature? For instance, compare a whole apple to apple sauce to apple juice. There are more nutritional advantages to be found with foods that are more basic than those that have gone through a series of processing steps, as nutrients are lost with the more processing that occurs.
While grocery shopping, remember to read the nutrition facts panel and ingredient list before buying a product. The fewer the ingredients and more basic the ingredients are the better!

Cooking from scratch is one of the best ways to get back to basics. It’s also a great way to enjoy all the amazing produce of the harvest season. You don’t have to be fancy with what you make. Sometimes the simplest dishes can be the most delicious! And the fewer the ingredients the easier it is to prepare. Find a couple of go to recipes that you are confident in their nutrition quality and you are confident in making in no time at all. Keep them simple and always have the staple ingredients on hand. That way when life gets super-busy or overwhelming you have a fall-back plan to keep you on track with your healthy habits.

Batch cooking is the process of making a recipe in a large quantity so that you have several portions left-over, which can be saved for subsequent meals. Cooking this way accelerates meal planning and preparation making it easier to follow healthy eating habits. Many great Fall recipes like chili, soups and casseroles can easily be doubled for batch cooking. Freeze leftovers whenever possible so you have some meals on hand you can defrost and reheat as quick healthy meals for busy times.

So, how are you fueling your Fall?

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Getting Back on Track with your Nutrition or Life

It happens to all of us at one point or another in our lives. We lose focus, get “off track” and suddenly are feeling lost, limited and inauthentic to who we are or who we know ourselves to be.

I am just back from two glorious weeks on vacation in Greece, but I am noticing how I have slipped in some respects from where I was in my health and nutrition habits and now it is time to get back to reality and back on track. I’m ready to get back on track with blogging so that’s why I posted this now.

Now you may not be ready to get back on track, summer is only just getting started, and some might say this is a topic more suited to fall. However, summer has a way of slipping by all too soon and with fall we all will feel the rush of going back to school and back to routine. So why not look for ways now to start the process or even just reflect on what it would look like for you? Just remember, there’s no “right time” for anything and if we are always waiting for the perfect time or perfect conditions to “get back on track” then we may never do so.

Wherever you are in the journey to aligning with your ultimate self in your nutrition and life, here are some reflections on how to get back on track and suggestions to empower you with realigning your fitness and nutritional habits.

Stop blaming yourself. It’s nobody’s fault. Things happen in life, sometimes they are in our control and sometimes (more often) they are not. Everything happens for a reason and it’s up to us to notice what happens and then decide upon the best course of action that takes us from where we are and move us toward where we want to go. Forgive yourself and move on. Forgiveness sets you free.

Be honest with yourself. It is one of the hardest things any of us will have to do but to get back on track you must be honest with where you are at and get clear on where it is you want to be. Also, realize that things are not necessarily as negative as they seem. Look for the good things too! At first you will probably be able to make a list of a multitude of unhealthy eating habits or practices but try to look beyond that and create a separate list and space to consider and recognize all the good practices you are doing regularly and think about how those practices make you feel.

Acknowledge the uncomfortable and unfamiliar feelings that change brings and then move forward. As human beings, our instinct is to stay in our comfort zone. But when it feels unfamiliar be forward thinking and remember why you have started on your journey to change and why it matters. Everyone must go through this and experiences the same feelings when entering foreign territory and unfamiliar ground.

Think of the long term and trust in yourself. Change is not always easy. Results take time. The most important thing is to believe in yourself and believe in what you are doing and what you are working towards is worth it. Writing a long-term vision or goals and looking at them every day is a motivational reminder to help you get back on track and keep you on track.

Be patient. When we think about where we were or where we want to be, we may get impatient and want to be there right now. Often improving our habits and well-being will take a lot longer than we would like or even plan for. Real and lasting changes take time and consistency. The work you do day by day is worth it. Just keep reminding yourself that. What would that look like and how would you feel?

Get over the overwhelm. When considering a big change, it can intimidate and even frighten us a little. This is probably the biggest thing that keeps people from changing their nutrition and lifestyle, no matter how important and worthwhile the change will be. When working on getting back on track, it’s important to have a goal, but also be realistic in what you are trying to achieve and where you are trying to get to? If it is a big goal, try breaking it down into more manageable sub-goals. That can make it more manageable and build your confidence. So maybe rather than a complete overhaul of your diet, try making one change this week and focus on that. For instance, adding new healthy foods to your dinner every day. Once you’ve accomplished that, move on to the next thing and so on.

How will you know you have arrived? For me, I think of it as a state of flow, like life is moving forward and I’m making progress while living each day at an optimal state of well-being. So, what does “getting back on track” mean to you?

 

The Science of Saying Grace

Thanksgiving may have come and gone but don’t stop being grateful just yet! Saying grace or giving thanks for food is a centuries old tradition. It is one of the oldest and most universal human behaviours and is still in existence today. The word “grace” comes from the Latin word “grātia” meaning “favor” or “kindness” and in our context it is a short prayer said before or after a meal. Long ago food was more scare and harder to grow without modern technology so having food was seen as a kindness from the gods and/or the universe. Many religions have special prayers they will say before an everyday meal or for specific ceremonies that involve food but although the religion connections exist, you don’t need to follow any specific religion to recognize and be thankful for your food. In fact saying grace and showing appreciation for our food is showing to be beneficial on many levels for physiological and psychological health and well-being.

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On one level, saying grace is your chance to recognize and honour who got you your food, how you got your food and how fortunate you are to have the food you are about to eat. If it were not for many people and circumstances the food you are about to eat would still be out there – on a tree or in the ground.

Moreover, only a few words before eating will slow you down while giving you a moment to appreciate your food which makes the meal more enjoyable and promotes a more harmonious relationship with food. Eating more slowly is better than shoveling down your food and cleaning off your plate in 10 minutes flat because a measured pace assists the digestive processes of your body while improving satiety and helping you eat less. Being distracted and hurried eating can lead to over eating. Eating more slowly gives your body and brain the time it needs to recognize that you have eaten all your body needs.

Thousands of years ago one meal could make the difference between life and death. There was a lot more uncertainty about food safety and availability. Our circumstances have drastically evolved since then but there is always and time and place for saying grace and being thankful for our food.

If you’re looking for something to say check out these 11 Beautiful Ways To Say Grace for some inspiration.

 

Fall in Love with Food Again

It’s been said: “September is the new January”. September is a popular time for making resolutions, getting back into a routine or starting new ones, going back to school … the list goes on. We are presented with a new season, a beginning and new energies to work with.

Changes start to become visible everywhere. Fall is special for so many reason, not only for the colours and the vigour of crisp, clear autumn days, but also because there are so many fantastic fall foods we have to enjoy. We’ll be exploring some of these in the weeks to come.

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At this time, many set goals around improving their health, nutrition and eating habits. It can be tempting to lean towards the latest fad, quick fix, diet plan or supplements – all of which there are many – drawn in with promises of extraordinary results with little to no effort. But in choosing a quick fix do we become destined to fall? A “diet” that is overly restrictive, excludes certain foods or entire food groups, and does not provide adequate energy and nutrients will ultimately do more detriment to health, happiness and well-being by crushing motivation and even hampering physical and mental performance.

It is often more challenging to follow strategies that are complex, demanding or overly restrictive. As such, we are setting ourselves up to fail and fall into despair. A spiral of negative emotions and eating habits and patterns can result; founded on fears and anxieties over what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. Food is tied to emotion in so many ways. When we feel like we have failed or fallen in our eating patterns we develop negative emotions and aversions to certain foods or to eating in general. This can lead to more serious health and well-being issues, as the many eating disorders that exist are proof.

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So now the question becomes how do we fall in love with food again?

Keep it simple. Food is meant to renew and empower. It serves us by providing energy and nourishment to create and do what we need to do.

How can you simplify your eating? Make a resolution to eat real food – and enjoy it too! Enjoy it in it’s purest form. The way it was gifted to us by nature.

The closer it is to that state when you take it from the earth the more natural it is. When you compare an apple to apple sauce to apple juice – you can see the progression of processing and which choice is most pure and closest to what nature intended.

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When was the last time you sat down and enjoyed a real meal? Do you have a favorite meal you haven’t made for a while?  If you don’t have one pick something new. Make a plan to eat at home plan to cook a meal from scratch. It’s a new season so time for new adventures! Is there a food you have always wanted to try but have not. What’s the reason? Why not now?

Have you enjoyed food that was picked fresh and grown in the soil close to where you live? Why not pay a visit to your local farmer’s market and get some real, fresh local goodies. There’s no better time to develop an understanding and appreciation for what is grown in your region than now with the bounty of the harvest season available to us. Eating local produce and products has a way of really connecting and grounding us.

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Happy first day of Fall everyone!