The biggest misunderstanding about Food in America is that we think too much about it. I, however, would argue the opposite — we don’t think enough about what we put in our mouths. In fact, it has gotten to the point where we actively avoid thinking about Food until we are ravenously hungry. This inevitably leads to excess snacking on anti-Foods, an obsession with cultish avoidance-style diets and a false belief that food is an annoyance — a dispensable bad habit that needs to be brought under control.
Think for a minute about your relationships with other people. Do you have a spouse, parents, children, friends? While there are certainly people you would prefer NOT to have in your life, you probably choose to keep most people around because they enrich you, bring you joy and comfort you. On some level, you feel gratitude to them for all the ways they make your life whole. How do you think they would feel, if you shunned, ignored, bad-mouthed and denied them freedom of expression?
Would you dress your child in dirty rags? Would you give your mom dead or wilted flowers on Mother’s Day? Would you invite your friend to a relaxing day out and rush them around the entire time? Would you go out with someone who ignored you and talked on the phone during every date? The answer to all of these is probably “No!”
Nobody wants to be belittled — not your child, you parents, your friends or YOU! Your Food won’t stand for it either.
Yet we still eat off of paper plates, on-the-go, and standing up over the sink. We feed our kids from bags and boxes, warn Mom that every real Food will kill her, eat with friends while driving and the only things that pass our lips are anti-Foods promising to be low in fat, calories, sugar and everything else. How can we expect to build a good, loving relationship like that?
One thing the French do extremely well is they think about Food constantly. While eating lunch today, they will be thinking about dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. They reminisce about delicious meals of the past and creative meal ideas for the future. They take this relationship seriously.
Their reward is smaller waistlines, long lifespans and a more youthful look at any age. They care for themselves inside and out. And it shows!
I wrote Frenching Your Food with the idea of Americans and others with poor food relationships to rediscover the joys of having a stable and loving relationship with Food. The first place I recommend starting is with your plates.
Having a set of beautiful dishes has the power to instantly reshape our thoughts about what we put on the plate and put in our bodies. It is a subtle shift that helps to put our minds at ease and encourages us to care more about how seriously we view our food.
The best part is it can be CHEAP! This weekend, at a garage sale and walked away with an 80-year old set of Japanese bowls and dessert plates for only $20 ($1 per plate/bowl) and some beautiful cocktail glasses. So this is what my breakfast looked like this morning (see picture).
There is something incongruent about eating the same old fast food, boxed cereal or frozen dinners off of beautiful dishware like this. Even if you start out by merely changing the plates you eat off of, over time you will likely find what my clients and followers have found — that eating off of fine dinnerware demands more attention to the Food you put on it and in you.
So if ignoring Food hasn’t helped you to achieve the results you want, whether it is lowering your weight or improving your health, I suggest you give this strategy a try.
Do you have a tip that helps you elevate the importance of Food in your life? Readers want to know!