Food is intensely personal. We all know that what we cook for others is a window into how we feel – and with how much love we are willing to give and in what capacity. The saying ‘a home cooked meal’ or ‘tastes just like home’ reflects the very essence of what it is to feel loved when somebody gives you the gift of a meal cooked from the heart. It is at its most basic – a simple expression of love on a plate, because eating and caring are inextricably linked, and the more that you scratch the surface, the more obvious it becomes.
Food more than just provides us with a platform to nurture, it is also presents us with an interesting look into our values. Because food not only nurtures the body, but every time that we eat, we are unwittingly – reinforcing our beliefs, which is a kind of self-hypnosis – just as a glass of water sends the body and the mind positive messages – so to does the food that we eat – except with food – the messages can lie between the borders of the positive and negative kind – potentially making the job just that much more difficult to embrace change with a clear conscience.
Just as there is thought given to the medicines we take, and the amount of alcohol we drink – so too should there be an emphasis on the thought process of choosing what it is that we eat, why we are drawn to certain foods – and how this may be contributing towards our overall well-being. And potentially which of our good beliefs and bad beliefs are we continually repeating by choosing to eat the same foods over and over again.
The food that we lean towards to as staples – generally reflects our core beliefs. It can show us exactly where we are in terms of being open to change, how open we are to looking after ourselves and the people that we love, and how rigid we may be in terms of belief structure. Within western society – heavy foods like pastries and white bread, buttery products and an over indulgence of sweets – can often reflect a personality that finds change quite difficult. Although we all need staples in our lives to form the foundations of our beliefs, it is the amount of ‘staples’ that one consumes on a daily basis – that shows us just how much we are willing or unwilling to bend – to embrace change – and to ultimately become a more well-rounded accepting individual.
Food and caring jointly facilitate 2 things – one being the social draw card of bringing people together – the sunday lunch, christmas dinner or a romantic dinner out for 2 – and the second is the reasoning behind the kinds of food that we are drawn to. Both of which stem largely from childhood, and the way that we were raised to connect to others through food – which in turn extends to our connection and relationship with rest of the world.
There are a variety of ways that we express our views through food – and one of them is to take a dish from another culture and ‘dumb it down’ – infusing it with our core beliefs and removing any possible chance of a completely new experience – which in itself is showing a slight ignorance or disregard for the culture and can pertain to a fear of letting go of anything that may alter your peace of mind. Although this is one step closer to being a well-rounded accepting individual – and it is better than not eating anything foreign at all –it is still showing that there is still a lot of work to do – it’s basically akin to travelling overseas and only venturing as far as the four walls of a safe resort – not daring to go outside and experience what the country really has to offer.
A strong love for your own country’s food is symbolical of a rejection of other nationalities – it leans towards a narrow-mindedness that comes with thinking that your Country is better than everyone else’s. That yours is the best, why eat the rest? Whilst feeling good about where you come from is incredibly important – it can never be a good thing to hold on to it too tightly. A rejection of a country’s food –is equatable to how you feel about the country itself. It can hint at racism, ignorance or a lack of tolerance for those from a different background. It can also show an unwillingness to walk in their shoes – which also shows a lack of compassion. But mostly it shows an unwillingness to try new things, which at its core shows that you are ultimately afraid of change, and since change is a natural form of growth – to fight against change is to fight against nature itself – and nowhere is this better reflected than in the food we choose to eat and in the cultures that we choose to love.
Variety is the Spice of Life and a leaning towards healthier foods from all walks of life – shows a natural disposition towards self-love and a keen interest in mankind. –Ultimately this is where we should all be – or at the very least be aiming for. Trying new food on a regular basis shows a openess – that you are willing to be a part of the world that wants to understand other cultures – that is willing to participate and celebrate the differences that make us who we are.
As Jean Anthelme Brillat- Savarin has famously said “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are”.
So the next time you think about what to eat next … think also of the beliefs that you may be reinforcing – and if in fact it might be a good time to think about changing them.