As we enter into the beginnings of summer, I catch myself thinking back to a time when I was eight. It’s summertime in southern Virginia and I am sitting with my two sisters and brother on my grandmother’s back porch, stringing green beans while sipping homemade lemonade, and listening to nothing…..no cars, no television, no radio, no airplanes flying overhead, just the sound of the birds chirping, the wind blowing, maybe a tractor nearby and the rhythmic sound of the green beans being snapped.
By now, you are all wondering where this is going and what does this has to do with nutrition? Well, it has a lot to do with nourishing ourselves and our relationship with food and how we first connect with food.
I’m sure all of us can think of a “food memory” that stays with us our entire lives. You may even have food memories that change with the seasons or the holidays. Whatever your food memory might be, whether it is having a hot dog at a baseball game, picking blueberries and eating them right off the bush or making homemade ice cream with your dad. It is important for all of us to realize the value of these memories.
These “food memories” and our relationship with food starts from the very beginning when we are children.
Now some of you may be thinking to yourself "well what if I have a negative food memory? Can I change how food makes me feel or how I relate to food?" And the answer is YES, you can.
First I would start with understanding the difference between primary food and secondary food. Secondary food is what we put on our plate and primary food is what truly feeds our soul. As a child, it wasn't the greens beans that was truly nourishing me but the experience of being with my family and feeling the warmth of a beautiful summer day.
Primary food is our need for connection, love, relationships, purpose, happiness, creativity, movement and fulfillment. It is what gets us excited to start our day in the morning, it is our passion and our inner peace.
When we start to uncover what really fuels us, then we can create a positive relationship with the food on our plate. A positive "food memory". Instead of rushing around, eating in our car, going through the drive-thru, just trying to get mealtime off our "to do" list, why not slow down and really start enjoying the whole process of eating our food. Take time to choose our food, wash it, prepare it, cook it and then sit down and enjoy each and every bite with the ones we love.
So this summer slow down and find out what truly nourishes YOU! Is it a hobby you loved as a child, is it hiking in nature, is it writing, is it dancing to live music, is it being with friends, is it working with children or maybe growing a garden? Rediscover it. Fiill your life with it. Then sit down and enjoy a nourishing plate of real, whole foods and create a "food memory" that lasts a lifetime.