Food and Happiness

Food and happiness 2/12 series

Food is a sign of love and art. When we nourish our bodies with healthy, wholesome foods, we express self-love. When we prepare meals for our family and friends, it shows the beautiful bond we have. Mindful eating and enjoying every bite with occasional indulging for pleasure is essential for true inner happiness.

Food becomes the center of almost all celebrations, birthdays, weddings, graduation, and cultural ceremonies; we seem to pride in its presentation! We joyfully spend days preparing, shopping and a great amount of time getting it perfect.  This goes to show that food is much more than fuel. Each meal brings pleasure, joy, and connection into our lives. Also, eating our favorite meals connects us to our inner child, bringing up childhood memories.  Cooking and sharing meals from beginning to end is a form of art for appreciating each ingredient. Some of us enjoy eating the meal vs. the preparation; regardless, food brings us joy.  Food also ignites the 5 senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste, telling us about the shape, texture, taste, crispness, and food temperature. Through this process, the brain areas that regulate eating and hunger signal dopamine (the feel-good neurotransmitter) to be released, creating a sensation of a reward and positive reinforcement. Therefore, this creates joyous memories and excitement!

Energize your body’s cells but also treat your senses to foods that evoke positive feelings. ”

Let’s look at food and joy it from a different angle. Our minds often use food to reward or punish our bodies. Overindulging can bring short-term happiness, while some end up using food as a coping mechanism. When emotions are high, we seek out quick treats or “feel” comfort foods to lift our spirits. This may have been developed during our childhood years when food might have been given to treat low moods vs. getting to the root cause.  Allowing yourself regular treats without guilt or shame is the key to living with joy! Don’t deprive yourself of foods that bring you joy, but understand that these treats in moderation add a healthy and balanced diet. As adults, we lose touch with the true meaning of “how food brings us joy” because we continue to treat emotional triggers with food. Breaking this cycle and shining light on developing a joyous relationship with food while working on underlying emotions is recommended.  Food can bring you excitement, but it cannot fix unresolved emotions.

 

How can we start allowing food to bring us joy?

  1. It is important never to replace meals with processed snacks as they will not provide your body with the fuel it needs. In fact, it will end up lowering your energy levels and overall mood. 

  1. Focus on preparing wholesome and nourishing meals for yourself. Cooking does not have to be complicated or difficult; there are many quick, easy, and healthy recipes available online and in cookbooks. 

  1. Always consider whether you are fueling yourself or are eating mindlessly to cope with difficult emotions. Food is a pleasure in life that should be appreciated and valued. Let’s start with being grateful that we can feed ourselves, our family, and our friends. This is a sign of respect for food. 

  1. Take the time to eat mindfully, focusing on and appreciating everything you put into your body. Energizing your body’s cells and treating your senses to foods that evoke positive feelings. Respect both your body’s needs and its triggers, and create joy. 

5.The last but the most important thing to do is nourish yourself with food and practice self-care, and self-love – a crucial component of inner happiness.

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