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Food is More than Vitamins and Fiber

Good morning! I’m back with another Wellness Wednesday post: Intuitive Eating edition. Today I’m focusing on why food is more than just vitamins and fiber, and what it breaks down into. Many of you mentioned that you like these posts, and I love to write them, so I’m happy to comply.

In some instances, I 100% feel that food is our fuel and bridges the gap between when we’re eating. We don’t have to think too much of it, and it doesn’t have to be an OMG this is the most amazing meal ever.

It’s just a vehicle to help us live our days. And that’s completely normal.

BUT, other times, you do want to enjoy it and enjoy the whole scene around food. The people you’re with, the place you’re eating, the social situation you’re eating within. You don’t want to rush it, and you want to draw it out. There’s a desire to enjoy each and every course, as well as the wine and cocktails between. The conversation and laughter enhances the meal because it makes the experience memorable and relatable. This is how food brings us together and connects us.

In these situations, food is more than vitamins and minerals.  It’s more than nutrition, greater than the sum of its parts. Food is cultural, social, and bond-forming. It’s symbolic for relationships and memories. Food is happiness, nostalgia and reminiscent. It’s excitement, joy, celebration and sadness. It’s normal to relate food to feelings because it’s so much more than just food and nutrients sometimes.

You see, when you’re focused on enjoying your food, rather than on how many calories or grams of carbs it has, you’re fixating on the atmosphere and experience, not the food.

[Tweet “When you’re focused on enjoying your food, rather than on how many calories or grams of carbohydrates it has, you’re creating a non stressful environment for yourself.”]

You can order what you want in the moment because it sounds filling and satisfying. Or, because it’s something you’ve always wanted to try. Maybe it reminds you of a course you had when you studied abroad in Italy, or a comfort meal that your grandmother used to always make growing up. You get excited about a new restaurant opening because the menu sounds amazing, and you can go with your best friend who loves food as much as you do.

Food is Greater than Vitamins and Fiber

Furthermore, when you enjoy your food and stay present, you’re not worried about picking out your meal ahead of time. You don’t know how you’ll feel when you’re at the restaurant, so there’s no stress about pre-calculating your order or the nutrition information. You can act spontaneously and intuitively. And it’s so freeing. Because while food provides nutrients, it’s much more than the vitamins, minerals and fiber it provides.

Does this situation sound realistic? If you’re not there yet, I can tell you it is possible if you want to get there. Food doesn’t have to have power over you, and you don’t have to label it as “healthy” or “unhealthy,” or “good” or “bad.” Remember, food is so much more than carbs, fat and protein. It’s more than just Vitamin C, fiber and Vitamin K.

If you only look at food in these terms, it’s easy to fixate on nutrition content and nutrition content only.

This can lead down the rabbit hole of only wanting to eat “clean foods” (you guys know I cringe as I write that term), or missing out on experiences due to the anxiety and stress around food.

Focusing only on nutrition content can be a disordered tendency. Whereas, if you’re focused on the experience around food, the process of making it and enjoying it, you get a much more enriching and satisfying experience.

The food is there to enjoy, but it’s just one part of the experience. When you realize it’s just food, you’re not worried about eating an appetizer, an entree AND dessert if that’s what you want.

Or, about drinking an extra glass of wine. Have you felt this before? You’re in the zone, and just want this dining experience to last and last.

This was actually my experience last night. I was enjoying Restaurant Week with a girlfriend, chatting about giving birth and mom life. I’ll probably always remember this meal due to the conversation and memories around it.

The food enhanced the experience, because I ordered satisfying, good tasting food.  But, it wasn’t the only part. I left with a full belly and a full heart.

Food has vitamins, nutrients and fiber. And food is made up of carbohydrates, fats and protein.  But, it’s not that black and white.

A cookie may equate to a happy memory with your great aunt, and a donut might remind you of happy times with your children (or significant other).

The act of preparing pizza may be a family activity. Let yourself form and enjoy the memories that food can bring, because that is what has a lasting impact.

Would love to hear your thoughts in the discussion!

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  1. One of the best parts of ED recovery was getting to the point where I could truly live in the moment with food. Being able to go out to eat with my husband and share a four-course meal and love every second of it has brought such joy into my life. It is amazing, looking back, to think how eating out use to cause me such anxiety and it is now one of my favorite things to do. Loved this post!

  2. I 1000% resonate with this. It is more than vitamins and fiber, but it’s not the whole situation. The way of describing that it ‘enhances’ the experience is just right. I love that so much, because it’s true. The more I think about what enhances the experience, the less I’m actually ‘focused’ on the food. I also really appreciate what Ellie said; people over food, but it’s true that there are some foods that are even associated with bad experiences.

  3. You’re so right Sarah! In the same way good memories are associated with food, I’ve had bad memories or eaten meals with people and now, I don’t really like those foods. I had this one awful meal experience with meatloaf and even though it was like 8 years ago, I don’t think I’ve eaten it since. Actually it makes me sad when I think about it. Not the food itself, but the experience I had while it was served.
    I also believe it’s possible to get over this feeling, but honestly, I don’t think about it much, I’d rather not like the food than not like the person (it was my dad) with whom the experience was with. I choose people over food.

  4. This post rings so true!! I’ve been really focusing on this for the past few months and it’s one of my goals for 2018 too. Being in the moment with food it just taste so much better and is much more satisfying. Plus, I love how carefree I feel when I release judgement or pressure around eating. I’ve also noticed that just leaving things up to my body, I still get in a balanced amount of nutrients because your body really does crave balance. If I go out for a burger, fries, and a shake, I feel so satisfied and I’ve found I end up just wanting something simple and fresh for dinner. Your body always knows best!


  5. I love, love, love this. It’s so true. Food contributes a lot to our experiences, but it is not a moral issue. Food can’t be “good” or “bad.” I’m so thankful I have found myself able to really enjoy food as part of special times with friends and family, and also just making and eating a meal quickly and easily because that’s what worked at the time. Food freedom is so amazing!

    1. Sometimes quick and easy is what we need, and other times, taking the time to enjoy food and company is great. Thanks for sharing, Caroline!

  6. Yes I completely agree with this. I firmly believe that you shouldn’t immediately try to get the healthiest item on the menu while your out with friends and family just because you “need” to eat clean. A burger and fries with some beer and dessert is good for the soul! When I’m out, I don’t want a memory to be tainted because I opted to get food I didn’t truly want.

  7. Love this so much, Sarah! Food is always fuel for our body but part of life is being able to enjoy experiences, too! We had date night last night downtown and tried a Charlotte Restaurant Week menu. I loved being able to try things without worrying about what things were made of. I’m also now craving a lighter, veggie heavy lunch today, so obviously my body knows what’s up 🙂

  8. I definitely agree that food can have a lot of nostalgic value. I have certain foods that just make me think of a particular person or time in my life and it’s nice to take that moment to reminisce and enjoy.