When was the last time you enjoyed and extracted each flavor from the meal, especially healthy and unprocessed?
What’s your general thought while choosing a meal or while eating?
Do you eat foods or the meals for enjoyment or nourishment, or just ate because of some initial programming?
Initial programming or, say it a habit, or a reminder to eat like;
- Mom instructed to eat (during childhood),
- You wanted to take a break, so you ate a chocolate bar,
- Was feeling stressed or lonely,
- Had lunch time, or it was in the eating schedule,
- Stomach sent hunger signal (a good practice).
Major time, we eat just to complete trigger or habit life-cycle. We get trigger like mentioned above and in response for those triggers; we eat and complete the cycle, that’s all. We have forgotten to enjoy the real value food should provide. Major time instead of enjoying, we feel guilty after a meal or a feast.
The Problem While Healthy Eating
In the past few decades, with changes in lifestyle, everything changed. With technical advancement life got busy. Everyone got busy — it may be a productive or unproductive task. Mindset towards food also changed.
Our ancestors considered food as the source of nutrients that kept them active and healthy. They knew the food wasn’t just the source of nutrient — it also was the source of flavor and taste our tongue crave.
Our tongue has around 6000-8000 taste buds which sense every taste, like bitter, sour, sweet, spicy, even fat. The density of taste buds is a sign that our ancestors were fond of the taste, so they spent major time on food ritual. The food rituals gave them an opportunity to connect with people and even with nature who provided them with the greatest gift, the food.
That was a short flashback of the past, but things have totally changed in today’s modern world. The problem is a hectic lifestyle, convenience foods, mindlessly nibbling while watching tv, and lost purpose to eat food.
We have stopped looking and eating food as an opportunity to get nutrients, flavor, and taste. We now consider them as a source of pleasure to relax, or just to feed hungry or craving stomach. As we adopted these common practices, our view towards food changed, so our health. The rate of obesity and other health problem arose.
There was a quick change. The food considered as health best partner, to fortune creator, and pleasure source.
New concepts and diet emerge frequently which claim food types or nutrients unhealthy, making tough to make a healthy decision.
Our tongue is habitual to receive major of flavor every time we eat. If you don’t provide it with a certain flavor for a while then it will crave for that flavor.
Fat is also among those nutrients that our tongue like and craves.
Yes! Fat also has a unique taste and our taste bud can taste it and really enjoys it. Due to some diet and claims, fat got a bad rep and people limited it and even cut those foods. With the removal of fat from food, taste bud wasn’t able to enjoy the flavor of fat thus making healthy food limited in taste and flavor.
Removal of fat made foods taste dull, not appetizing to taste bud, making tough to follow such a diet.
You need extreme willpower to follow a diet or routine when you aren’t able to receive complete taste and flavor.
Willpower is a limited resource, with an excess dependency even the strongest willpower drains out.
The problems are simple;
- We looked at food as a source of pleasure — so we ate food that gave extreme pleasure, instead of dense calorie but low nutritional value,
- We took weight loss goal so serious that we ignored that the real intention of food is to provide nutrient,
- We stopped making time to enjoy food, so we ate whenever we got time to eat, also ate whatever we got (often convenience foods),
- We nibbled foods without even realizing the taste and flavor,
- We gave preference to flavoring and addictive over natural taste and flavor.
The people with the highest longevity still enjoy their foods—considering people in Okinawa, Ikaria, Sardinia, or other regions. They enjoy their meal, make time to take a break with a healthy cup of tea rather than snacking on high-calorie biscuits or gulping calorie loaded drinks. They make more conversation between each bite of fish, vegetable or rice. They eat slowly and enjoy the major favor of food and even leave their table with a full belly and a full heart.
It is the final part of healthy eating and even the most important one. Without the pleasure of eating or say without the right taste and flavor in food, no one will continue to eat healthily.
When someone can’t enjoy eating the current food or diet, they will switch to the food that gives them taste, flavor, and pleasure without giving a second thought of calorie, or other harmful addictive.
To deal with these important tasks follow the listed tips. It connects you with food and its real purpose—nourishment, protection, and natural taste.
1. Reconstruct the purpose of eating
Get rid of habit to eat food to get rid of boredom and stress. Spend time with family and friends. A hug or walk works better than food that makes you feel guilty.
You can enjoy food with friends and family with light conversation — to enjoy food and conversation.
Eat food with the right purpose – nourish body and to connect with food. A healthy connection with food gives you flavor, taste, along with nutrients vital for health and well-being.
Foods are associated with rituals, nourishment, enjoyment. Find the right purpose to eat rather than mindlessly feeding on calorie-loaded chips.
2. Learn to Cook Different Recipes from Other Traditions
Lots of healthy, rich flavored recipes are available — explore, cook and enjoy them.
Don’t stick to a few recipes, there are varieties available in your and other’s tradition. Trying different recipes you get rich flavor from other culture, and you won’t feel bored to eat healthy at home.
It will be hard to adopt but will be the best strategy when you get accustomed. With varieties of recipes in the menu — you will never feel bored to eat healthily. More flavorful recipes — more you will enjoy. It will take time but will be a worthy investment of time and effort. It will help your family to enjoy the richness of healthy food and improve health.
Start with few recipes and keep learning one new recipe each week, soon you will come with hundreds, giving you variations to try every week. First few weeks you will feel tough but as you keep learning, things will get simple ahead.
3. Enjoy the Taste of Food and Enjoy the Moment
When you sit to eat food, put your fork and spoon down between bites. During that time chew every bite slowly and savor the colors, texture, temperature, and flavor of the food.
The reason to eat slowly is to enhance digestion, discourage overeating, provide relaxation and extract the deepest stored flavor in food.
When you chew food multiple times — food breakdown to its smallest particle. Smaller the food size better the salvia exact flavor from food, it also improves digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Stomach takes 20 minutes to register, whether it’s full. By following this strategy you also prevent overeating.
4. Reconsider Habits
Habits influence our health. Healthy or unhealthy weight — habits are responsible for both. Habits influence our 60 percent activity. As habits influence our health and well-being, we need to consider the habits we own.
Most common unhealthy habit — emotional eating.
Expert estimates that 75 percent of overeating is because of emotional eating. Do you eat when you feel bored, angry, stressed, lonely and nervous? During that state of emotion, you are prompt to reach for an extra helping or snacks.
The reason we overeat during stress — it’s for the rush of feel-good hormone serotonin and dopamine to lowers cortisol level (stress hormone.)
Things you can try to prevent over-eating
- Listen to a song, read an inspirational book, meditate if you feel bored or stressed.
- Call your friend when you feel lonely.
- Go for a walk, or even ask your friend to join.
By following this step you will cut your stress level and won’t feel an extreme level of craving. Even now if you feel hunger, watch over the food portion, add veggies and water-rich food.
5. Your weekly 80 percent food intake should be unprocessed and home cooked food
The more you eat a home-cooked meal, the more control you have over ingredients. Everyone wants to enjoy restaurant foods, and it’s not a problem when you eat major time at home–cooked and unprocessed food.
When you mostly eat home cooked meal the whole time, you can give yourself a break to enjoy food outside.
While enjoying food outside, mind over the portion. Savor the food rather than overloading.
Follow this tip and you will enjoy food with no negative impact on weight or health.
6. Enjoy Snacks
Eat every 3 hours to avoid severe hunger. A small serving of healthy snacks between each meal will prevent blood sugar drop and unwanted craving.