Synonyms for “Enjoy”:
adore, delight (in), dig, fancy, groove (on), like, love, rejoice (in), relish, revel (in), savor

Our relationship with food can be complex, some say as complex as a romantic relationship. An online article in Women’s Health magazine “Why We Love Food” sort of hits the nail on the head. “Compared with food, romantic partners are relatively simple. Yes, they sometimes cause you to weep, curse, or toss a few shirts out onto the sidewalk, but you can always walk away from those relationships. You and food, on the other hand, are stuck together for life.”

Putting it simply, “It [food] might be the most complex relationship in your life, which explains why a poll of more than 6,000 Women’s Health readers found that nearly 30 percent feel stressed about food – every…single…day.”  Sad, don’t you think?

Another thoughtful article offers similar but different insight about how to enjoy food. The author of “Tips and Tricks for Enjoying Food Mindfully” ponders, “Have you ever noticed that you’ve just eaten something and can hardly remember what it tasted like? Kind of like eating on autopilot? Our busy and stressful modern-day lifestyles may have to do with this. Our minds are so busy planning our next move that we don’t allow time to savor the food we eat, or allow time for it to digest. It takes 10 minutes for your brain to detect the body’s signals that you’re feeling full. Eating quickly can mean that you could easily consume way too much food before your body tells you to stop, leaving you feeling uncomfortably full.”

The “grab-and-go” meal has become a common means of refueling the body for many people who, much like me, feel there’s never enough time in a day. In fact, snacking throughout the day has replaced the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner routine for many. If you’re just not able to take the necessary time to enjoy that act of eating, it’s important that you consume healthfully. And there are plenty of healthy alternatives to common convenience foods. One of my favorite savory snacks that’s super easy to make (and good on the go) is oven-baked cheese crisps. You simply grate a cup of hard cheese (I use Parmesan) – which makes a crisp shell and is packed with umami-goodness – and place 1-4 tablespoons on a baking sheet with parchment paper oiled on both sides, bake 5 to 6 minutes, and voila; you have yourself a tasty snack that’s not only delicious, but also low-carb!

It is important to be aware that we are in control of our own eating habits. And even though we may be short on time, there is no excuse not to be mindful of the foods we’re putting in our body and how we consume them.

These two articles offer an array of ideas to help you enjoy what you are eating!  Suggestions include:

  • “Focus on your food. You may not have time to savor every bite of every meal, but turning off the TV and sitting at a table will help you take more pleasure in your food.”
  • “But don’t be hypervigilant. Being too aware of what and how much you eat can turn you into a food obsessive…”
  • “Don’t tell yourself no. Deprivation diets set you up for failure. It’s a lot more liberating to say ‘I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, as long as I know how much I actually want.’”
  • “Listen to your gut. If you like steak, order it, even if everyone else is having salad. Don’t take on others’ emotional static.”
  • “Put aside an extra five to ten minutes for eating and digesting.”
  • “Enjoy sensations, flavors, sounds, smells, and sights one at a time, as if you’re doing a wine tasting.”

One powerful statement that pretty much sums up my thoughts that we need to start enjoying our food more is this: “There’s enough doom and gloom and negativity in the world around us. Eating is one of those simple pleasures that we’ve forgotten about. Eating mindfully is a way to get back in touch with the pleasure of food, and it comes with many benefits to our health and well-being. As the Buddhists say, “it’s not what you eat, but how you eat it.”

Happy Holidays!

Find more delicious, savory recipes in the MSGdish Savory Cuisine Corner.