When we cook for ourselves, our friends and our family, everything about our life slows down. Everyone wants to be in the kitchen. It’s the place to create, to savor, to taste, to reconnect with our food, our health, our family. Ourselves.
Sometimes a health crisis brings us into the kitchen in search of nourishment. If we take the time to learn the skills and develop the flavors and rhythms we need to survive, and more than that, to thrive, we can increase joy and nourish ourselves on a very deep level.
If you have experienced cancer therapy or other health challenges, you may have been put on a restricted diet or picked up information about what you should and should not eat from various sources. You may have become extremely wary of food. Years ago, one of my friends summed up this mind set. “I became scared of food,” she said. “I was so scared of eating anything bad for me that it was easier not to eat.” Over time, restrictive diets can cause you to lose your connection to food. But whether you’re healthy or sick, food is literally your connection to life.
I have a concept to help you reframe the way you approach food from here on out. I call it “sustainable nourishment.” Sustainable nourishment is about making those connections within whatever framework is best for your health. It involves food that both tastes great and contains the ingredients our body needs to sustain good health. Linking healthy food with fabulous taste isn’t an accident; it’s a necessity. Even if the components of a food are healthy, if it doesn’t appeal to our taste buds, we’re not likely to eat it. If we don’t eat, we can’t maintain our health.
So let’s agree: Any food that’s to be considered part of “sustainable nourishment” must titillate our taste buds. And did you know that amazing things occur when you sit down to a satisfying, nourishing meal? Your heart rate and blood pressure decrease. Levels of cortisol, the hormone that surges when you’re stressed, suddenly drop. Immunoglobulin levels, an indicator of the health of the immune system, begin to rise (that’s good!). In fact, the satiation response is similar to what happens when people meditate. In short, sustainable nourishment improves quality of life!