Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Put Yourself On A Pleasure Diet

We eat to celebrate, commererate and to nourish our bodies, but most of all we eat for pleasure. A German survey rated 'a real fine meal at home' as one of the major pleasures in life It actually rated higher than parties, movies, sleeping, hobbies and TV. However, I think for many people their enjoyment of food is diminishing in modern times.

On one hand. we often short-circuit the enjoyment by gulping down our meal without really tasting it (how many times have you finished some delicous treat only to realize you hardly even tasted it?). Everyone seems to be on the run with never enough time so we eat on the fly, in our cars, at our desks, or standing at our kitchen counters.

On the other hand, we sacrifice flavor in the name of low-fat, high fiber fare and weight-loss diets. Can you still eat a piece of chocolate, or a high-fat ice cream cone without guilt undermining your enjoyment? I say when you decide to indulge, at least enjoy it!

Eating involves more than taste. When you eat, use all your senses. Eat slowly, savor the food, and pay attention to the different tastes, textures and aromas.

The many different qualities of food are amazing: the crisp sweetness or tartness of an apple, the startling visual beauty of a kiwi, the sensual ruby-like seeds of a pomegranate, the crunch of a carrot, the flavor explosion of a single sac in a section of orange.

So try making the effort to prepare foods that are flavorful, aromatic, and colorful. Baking bread smells wonderful. Enjoy selecting, chopping, and serving food.

Do you ever feel stuck in a routine of consuming the same old foods week after week? Make a point of trying a new recipe a week with your family. Or invite friends and family over and try out a new cuisine that you haven't tried before. Try, try, try new things and don't rule out anything until you have tasted it.

Taste with your nose. Remember that flavor comes from your nose. If you bite into an apple ot an onion and pinch your nose closed, you can't tell the apple from the onion. I have found that sometimes smelling the food alone can satisfy my hunger for sensation, providing more pleasure and less calories!

Have you ever noticed that since eating is such an easily available pleasure, that you just reach for food? I have found that if I tune into what I really want to eat and go for it within reason, I end up eating a lot less because I have not tried to fill myself with pounds of other foods trying to satusfy my real craving.

I tried the following exercise in a class once and it really was an enjoyable yet surprising eye opener.

Take a single piece of chocolate and pretend it is the last chocolate on earth. Imagine that you will never again have a chance to experience this food again. To fully enjoy it:
* Concentrate on the beautiful rich brown color before you put it in your mouth
* Feel the weight and texture of the chocolate as you gently toss it from hand to hand
* Slowly inhale the rich chocolate aroma--that complex, earthy smell

*Now take the smallest bite you can, and extrect as much taste as possible from the speck
*Take a larger bite; see how it melts from solid to liquid in your mouth
*Savor the creamy feel of the chocolate as it melts at exactly body temperature

*Then swallow and enjoy the lingering after-taste.
You can do this exercise with any very small piece of food; such as a raisin or a dried cranberry. I can assure you that whatever it is, it will be the most pleasurable piece of food you have eaten.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Awesome Mom! What a wonderful post and the pictures were glorious! You can cook/entertain for me anytime! Speaking of which...when is the next time????? And don't forget the red wine with all it's bacteria fighting abilities!!!