Sometimes I am accused of being a little bit of a food snob. I’m sure my mother thinks I am (that’s okay, Mom). I admit it. And, after thinking about it, I have decided this is a label I willingly accept. Why? Because I don’t want to apologize for appreciating and loving good food. And, I spend a good deal of time talking to people about how to love their food and their bodies so they can be healthy and happy. I also admist I do have a hard time understanding the experience of someone who says they enjoy eating twinkies when, for almost the same price, you can have the joy of a piece of any kind of gourmet dark chocolate instead.
“Good food” will be different for everyone. However, there are two major factors to consider. First of all, all of our bodies respond with health when we feed them nutritious, healthy food. And, from experience I know that eating healthy makes me feel energized and ready to live my life with vigor. So, part of my “foodie” habit is eating healthy food. I love going to the healthier sections of grocery stores, stores that are dedicated to healthy food, and eating at health food restaurants. In Columbia, the Main Squeeze (our local vegetarian restaurant) is like my second home.
However, I don’t always eat everything that is considered completely healthy. That brings me to the second part of my “foodie” habit. I love to eat the most flavorful, delicious food I can, whenever I can. I was born and raised in Missouri and ate very well growing up. We grew a lot of our food and we ate home-cooked meals everyday. Then, when I moved to San Francisco at the age of 21 I was introduced to a whole new world of food delights. I learned to explore and enjoy many new types of foods and flavors. Now, when I’m vacation, I can mark my days by the restaurants I dined in, the food I found on the street, and the local specialities of each area. It is such a pleasurable way to enjoy life and socialize with others.
These two ideas — healthy food and delicious food– are not mutually exclusive. The healthy food I eat has the exquisite natural taste of goodness. And, the amount of delicious, not “as healthy” food I eat is not hurting my body in any significant way. The key, of course, is moderation.
It seems to me that people have a hard time navigating the world of food and sometimes just decide to give up or they feel intimidated by new and different foods. But, I encourage you to try new things. Go to your farmers market and ask them for recipes to cook some of the local, seasonal foods you find there. Take a cooking class. Read some recipe books. Go to a new restaurant that you haven’t tried before or try something new on the menu. Go to a local specialty food store and check out the foods from around the world.
Don’t have the time? Do one small thing for yourself this week that helps you enjoy the pleasures of health and your palate. Want something sweet? Try savoring a fresh apple from this season’s harvest. Notice how it makes you feel. Don’t miss out on the pleasure that your life has to offer. Savor the moment and your food! I encourage you to become a foodie, too!