I love exquisite food. The term “foodie” barely scratches the surface of my devotion. My love runs deeper than that. Would a mere foodie travel 4,399 miles because a particularly enticing restaurant beckoned? Maybe, but I would venture to guess that my underlying fascination with food is actually a deep respect for what it can do for my body, mind and spirit. When I shop, cook and dine I am both artist and creation. The food we choose to eat creates our mood, our blood, our cells and our organs. We are food on feet.
But what makes food “exquisite” and in this confused jumble of information that the media insists on shoving down our throats, what is the proper way to eat? The answers to these questions might be simpler than we realize. Allow me to share a little bit of my own food history and you can draw your own conclusions.
I have had a passionate relationship with chocolate for most of my life, but it wasn’t always like that. My first love was something quite different. Its name was Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream. There it sat in its little paper cup, creamily swirling its way to a delightful point that the sheer force of gravity just had to pull down toward the earth’s core. I was four. It was delicious. End of story. When I turned five, something strange happened. After a long car ride I woke up to find that it was my lucky night and the car had come to a complete stop in the Carvel parking lot. “I’ll have chocolate in a cone” I announced groggily to my father from the back seat. This was radical news. Chocolate? In a cone? What happened to Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream? Perhaps there had been a bad dream during that long car ride where villainous Vanilla was chasing me down a dark alley when all of a sudden, Chocolate, my knight in shining armor, swooped in for the rescue? I’ll never know for sure how or why it happened, but what I do know is that night, I fell in love with Chocolate and I never looked back.
Fast forward thirty years when I decided to start a small business from my home kitchen that revolved around decadent chocolate treats. I’d long since left Carvel in the dust and had seriously refined my palate. The business ended but I was left with some mad treat-making skills that needed an outlet. I continue to prepare (and savor) those lovely desserts to this day for myself and my family, but my current consumption is far more moderate than my past. Here’s why: For the last nine months I have been studying to become a holistic health coach. The masters I’ve learned from all make a pretty convincing case against sugar. They may disagree about other aspects of nutritional philosophy, but the one thing they can all agree on is that sugar is the Antichrist.
It’s hard to unlearn something once you’ve learned it, and I could no longer deny that the chocolate I was indulging in every single day (sometimes as much as a small dessert after two of my three meals) was likely going to create consequences down the road. I decided to reduce my intake of sugar in general and chocolate desserts in particular. Guess what? I survived, and not only that, I’m flourishing. I feel lighter. My energy is more vibrant. My complexion has improved and I sleep deeper. Spending a little less time with Chocolate has its rewards, and the time that I do spend with Chocolate is actually much more rewarding.
Let’s be quite clear. I never want to break up with my sexy friend, Chocolate. I remain loyal to Chocolate, but lately I’ve been hanging out with Kale and his colorful companions and I’m liking the vibe. The absolutely magnificent news is that I have more than enough love to go around. Balance is the centerpiece of my feasting style. No food that I hold dear is excluded from the party. With a little careful management here and a slight tweak there it all seems to be working out surprisingly well.
I have embarked upon a quest to nourish my body with loving care and a joyful sense of creativity and play. Geneen Roth, best-selling author and expert on women and their food gave a memorable lecture at my nutrition school recently. She claimed with absolute certainty that everything you believe about life and what you think you deserve to get out of it manifests on your plate. If that is true, and I have a hunch that it is, I invite you to think of yourself as an inspired artisan when you select the food that will grace your plate. Heartily and passionately embrace the food that you’ve deemed worthy of being chewed, tasted, swallowed and digested. I guarantee your precious body will thank you for it.
Friends, I write to you from a happy place where foodies, artisans, health nuts, tree nuts, kale and chocolate all cohabitate peacefully side by side. Come visit us often. There’s always room for you on the plate!