Based on my previous blog entry, you say you want to take your personal pleasure more seriously? How does one go about doing this?

Start with eating.

It’s at this point I believe the practice of eating is more important than what you eat, because if you alter your eating habits, you will discover and become more aware of exactly what it is you are putting in your mouth.

If you get serious about your food, you will find out what food does for you. Do you eat for relief or for satisfaction? Is food used to silence the pangs of hunger and beyond, or is it a means of enjoying the gift of life and relationship with those dear to you? Doing the later requires discipline and self control. To know pleasure at its most satisfying level is at times to be able to wait for it. Instant gratification is at best a shallow pleasure. Patience and endurance plumbs new depths. There is no better opportunity to express this daily than through the simple act of eating.

Think of it as simple equation of mathematics. Taking more time to enjoy adds up to more enjoyment.

Consider these ideas to extend your eating pleasure.

Eat slowly. I probably sound like your mother, and she had a point, but it’s probably not the same as I am referring. Taking longer to eat allows you to savor food, develops your palette, and enables you to discover new flavors, textures and sensations. Gobbling down a sandwich leaves little time to know what’s in that sandwich. By eating slowly you will notice when you get full and thereby give you a chance to respond to your body’s natural weight control mechanism.

Cook something. The number one reason people don’t cook is not that they are too busy, but they don’t want to wait on the process. We make time for what we desire. If satisfying pleasure is your top priority, you’ll find it as you choose to discover the best means to getting there. Cooking involves ingredient selection, preparation, the waft of aroma through the house and the visual transformation of color and flavor by the added heat. Finding the enjoyment in this preliminary activity can extend the pleasure of food. It takes more time to make a meal than to eat it, so why not recognize the gratification in this step of the process?

Don’t eat in the car. There are times I find myself hungry as I leave work to drive back home, and instead of waiting I might choose to take something with me from the restaurant. As an act of discipline, I’ve chosen to wait until I get home instead of eating while driving. In this way I am less distracted behind the wheel, and I can enjoy my food more upon arrival.

Eat at a table, as opposed to eating over the sink, on the couch, in the car. Learn to sit, relax, and notice what your food tastes like. This is why I believe if you change HOW you eat, the quality of WHAT you eat will naturally improve.

Eat without a TV or other technologically generated noise. I love eating outside on my patio in the summertime, just to listen to the natural sounds of the air, to watch the squirrels chase each other through the ash tree in back, or hear the wind cutting through the tree tops. A connection with nature (as long as it isn’t disrupted by little critters like raccoons) puts you in a better position to be connected with your food, and thus heightening your pleasure. If you’re unable to peacefully eat in your backyard due to raccoons, look into raccoon removal.

Our restaurant is a TV-free zone, not because we think they are evil, but how many places to eat can you list that don’t have constant visual clutter broadcast in your direction? There is a time for television and a time for food, and they don’t necessarily have to be in the same setting.

Starting the New Year Right – Part II

One thought on “Starting the New Year Right – Part II

  • January 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    It's so easy to slip into bad habits – the opposite of what you've shared here. Somehow eating becomes something that we have to do and food becomes "the enemy." These reminders you've shared are important steps to enjoying food as an experience once again. Last week I heard someone suggest that we should strive to "feed our bodies in a loving way." I think you've described just how to do that here.

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