“Connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives us purpose and meaning in our lives.” – Brene Brown
When you think health, you often think veggies and strenuous workouts, am I right? While those aspects are helpful, we are now starting to bring light to a well rounded approach to health, filling up our mental, physical, and emotional buckets. The common (and needed) theme in 2022 is connection, and today we’d like to highlight connection with food and using food to connect with others. Food is meant to be celebrated and has been a timeless symbol of bringing people together in almost every culture. In addition, the connection we have with food is important in promoting a healthy relationship with food, which can’t be overlooked for lasting health. When we connect with the food we eat, we eat more mindfully, intuitively, and tap into our body wisdom to help fuel our bodies appropriately. Eating mindfully and intuitively supports the idea of being intentional with our choices and enjoying the food we eat. Let’s talk about a few ways you can enhance your connection with food.
Have a cookbook club
A cookbook club is essentially where a group of friends make recipes from the same book and get together to discuss and share a meal every month. Ever buy a cookbook with high hopes only to have it collecting dust on your shelf? (guilty!) This will help you chip away at the recipes and enjoy them with your people. If you are a cooking newbie, this can also help you ease into cooking on a regular basis.
Check out local farmers markets and small food companies
Buying locally supports your community socially and economically as well as helps create and retain valuable jobs. Buying from small food companies fosters real connections with owners and there is more personalized customer service. It also helps you understand where the food comes from and the story behind it. When purchasing locally, I’d encourage you to strike up a conversation with the owners or employees to help learn more about what you’re purchasing and the why behind what they do.
Try ethnic cuisine
Trying food from different cultures can teach you about other countries’ values and traditions as well as expand your taste palate. It also allows you to enjoy new foods and incorporate new ingredients in your cooking. Traditional nutrition education in our society is usually centered around our own culture, but there is so much value nutritionally when we expand our knowledge of food traditions of other cultures (for example, check my Blue Zones article).
Food travel or food tourism is the appreciation of food in a way that values the history, culture, and environment of a particular region and goes beyond taste. A few things you can do to become a food traveler includes doing research on authentic food in the area, asking locals for restaurant recommendations, exploring markets, and being open to trying new foods! Check out this article for apps that can help you find the local spots.
Eat through the alphabet
This is a fun social activity to try new foods and discover hidden gems within your city! First, create a list of local restaurants A-Z and work your way through them by assigning a letter to each month in alphabetical order. For example, in June you would go to a restaurant that starts with an A, then in July you would go to a restaurant that starts with a B, and so on. This can help incorporate variety and provide a unique way to spend time with friends.