Evaluating our relationship with eating in the new year
As we head into a brand new year most of us have an idea of what we’d like to do differently, or how we’d like to improve in 2022. For a lot of us our new year’s resolutions revolve around food, whether it’s wanting to eat better and cleaner for health purposes, sourcing food with a more environmentally and ethically sustainable mindset, or relying less on the greasy ease of take-out after a long day. Our relationship with food is often at the forefront of how we think we can do better.
In an increasingly digital era we’re constantly bombarded with the latest food news and diet trends, often at the expense of our piece of mind when it comes to what we eat. It seems we can’t go a week without another new revelation to add to our growing list of food anxieties, whether it’s the health implications of the dawn of processed foods, or our increasing societal awareness of the ethical and environmental repercussions of food production, our relationship with what we eat has never been more complicated. When did food stop bringing us joy, and what can we do to reclaim it?
Going back to basics
The practice of mindfulness has never been more relevant than it is right now, and has had many of us doing a double take when it comes to our food. This has created a big market for ‘flash in the pan’ tips, tricks and modern alternatives, but I firmly believe real mindfulness with food means going back to the basics.
Personally, if I can’t pronounce an ingredient on the food packaging I’m perusing, I don’t eat it. I also try to avoid ‘bad’ sugars like corn syrup or complicated synthetic sweeteners. Because life is all about balance, I like to follow the 80/20 rule – meaning I aim to eat healthily in the week and let myself relax on the weekends. Different things work for different people, but moderation and flexibility is usually key for any sustainable long-term change.
The joy (and practicality) of cooking
The best way to be mindful of what you’re eating is to prepare your food for yourself. The temptations of takeout and ready meals are understandable with our demanding modern lifestyles, but I still believe nothing beats getting creative in the kitchen. Empowering yourself with cooking means you can take control of your food quality, support local and ethical suppliers and businesses as you buy your produce, reduce waste by getting crafty with your leftovers, and will probably save you some money in the long run.
Be kind to yourself
The human experience is defined by our imperfection, and every now and then convenience, cost or crisis might trump our new year goals for ourselves. Be kind to yourself in the instances where you might falter in your food goals, success is often defined not by how many times we fail, but how many times we resolve to try again.
Remember, food is fun and creativity in cooking is good for the soul, try to rediscover that this year.