144. How You Eat = How You Love

Happy Valentine’s Day!

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d talk to you about love and then we’ll talk in particular about love for food and what we can learn about ourselves about the way we eat.

I think a good place to start would be to define love. So many people talk about love, it is a well-known feeling and emotion that most people want to experience and want more of. We think we understand what this means but the truth is, not really.

So let’s talk about love.

I’m going to get a little old school here and I’m going to do this unapologetically because I revere creation, and I do believe in God. I do believe each one of us has a spark of the divine in us and that spark is love.

This is our essence, our divine right to be here and express our gifts and talents through the process of creation. What is your unique gift? Is it art, painting, sculpturing, music, poetry, writing, speaking, dancing, architecture, making beautiful things, is it making recipes, performing arts, management and bringing out the best in people, is it your unique style of coaching and/or therapy?

It can be how you make a living but not necessarily. Whatever this is, it has to bring you joy and fill your heart with timelessness. When you do it time stops and you enter another zone and experience time differently.

Before we get into today’s episode I’d like to remind you that today’s episode is sponsored by my brand new course called From Picky Eater to Healthy Eater.

This program is a collection of sessions I’ve had with feeding experts, nutritionists, dieticians, pediatric doctor, speech-language pathologist, a meal planning expert, kids’ cooking expert, conscious parenting coach, tube feeding expert, and even my own daughter who shared her experience as a child learning to love food.

These are not random conversations I’ve had with people, but strategic conversations with questions I’ve had myself as a mom of a picky eater and questions I’ve gathered over the years from thousands of parents who connected with me through healthbeginswithmom.com.

To this day, I’ve had about 250K interactions with parents and all of them are concerned about one problem – picky eating.

Which is why I’ve created the ‘From Picky Eater to Healthy Eater‘ program.

This program will help you save thousands of dollars as well as hours of research and agony because I’ve done it all for you. I’ve invested over 100 hours into this project, so all you have to do is tune into the sessions and apply the strategies you hear from experts.

So, if:

  • every meal is a battle
  • your child fails to grow and thrive
  • your child is on the low percentile of growth
  • your child eats less than 30 foods
  • your child is anxious in general and about food in particular

This program is for you!

To check it out, go to: www.healthbeginswithmom.com/courses/picky-eating-course

It’s $47 and you get lifetime access to the recordings as well as one 30 minute coaching session with me included with your purchase if you purchase the course by the end of February 2020. You can use that session to ask me questions about your child or about your own health, your call.

Alright, let’s jump into today’s topic – how is how we eat equals to how we love.

I’m going to get a little old school here, and the reason is that wisdom is really old. As human beings our struggles are not unique, many people before us had challenges similar to ours and the best way to change is learn from stories and mentors.

I follow the Old Testament definition of love. In the bible one of the foundations of society is to love God, love other humans, it says in the bible, “Love your neighbour as yourself” (and then, of course, love all other creations). Our capacity to love is dictated by our capacity to love ourselves. When we feel worthy of love, we can extend this love to others.

In Hebrew, the holy language God spoke to create the world, the world love is translated as Ahava. Four letters Alef, Heh, Beit, Heh. The root of this word is to give – Hav. To extend or to provide for others. Meaning that our ability to love lays in our ability to give and care for something that is outside of ourselves. Of course, as I said previously, this can happen assuming you love yourself and deem yourself worthy. This will never work in a narcissistic relationship.

Definition of a narcissist – a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves. One thing narcissists can’t do is have empathy for other people or other beings.

Empathy is at the heart of love. In order to extend yourself, you need to be able to feel what other people feel and connect to that.

One of the most primal ways we learn to love is through food.

When we are born into the world, our first interaction with a caregiver would be through nourishment – breastfeeding, bottle feeding, hugging, adoring and admiring each other, hearing each other’s voices. That is how we learn to love and food is the vessel.

As human beings, we are all different, but there is one thing that connects us all and that is food. We all need it, depend on it, survive because of it and derive happiness from it.

In fact, food is part of who we are. It’s part of our habits and cultures. Hundreds of TV shows, movies and podcasts revolve around the topic of food, and cookbooks always sit among the bestsellers. Food is even part of how we interact with others. Foodies promptly and amply share recipes and dining experiences. And who hasn’t posted a photo of their favourite dish on their social media channels? The talk of food is all around us.

Now, you might be thinking, Dorit, I don’t need to learn how to love food, I already love it. Isn’t that obvious?

I eat every day, three times a day (sometimes more…)

I have tons of recipe books

I follow a bunch of recipe developers of Instagram.

I get it.

You eat.

Today’s episode is not about eating out of necessity, but rather out of love and deep caring for yourself.

Why does this matter?

It matters because as a mom your kids are watching you. In my practice I see many women inherit their mom’s eating habits unless they were aware of them from a young age.

If you know that your eating habits need some adjustment and you want to teach your kids to have a more loving relationship with food keep listening…

When you eat, what occupies your mind? What do you do while you eat? Do you check your phone? Do you work? Do you watch TV? Do you play games while eating?

You get where I’m going with this?

In other words, are you eating mindfully?

Why does eating mindfully matters?

According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, Mindful eating is the practice of deliberately noticing every sense associated with eating while leaving your emotions out of the experience. This rewires the brain and, over time, helps to restore your intuition around eating. It also reduces stress and creates a more positive relationship with food. This contributes to your enjoyment and to your overall well-being.

Let’s walk through a few points to help you become a more mindful eater:

  1. Phone off the table rule –  The phone is likely your biggest distraction, but it doesn’t end with the phone. All electronic devices should be turned off when you eat. Whether you eat alone or with your family (especially when you eat with your family). I love Simon Sinek’s YouTube video about our cell phone use and how we allow our phones to destroy our relationships. When we come to the table and put the phone on the table, what we’re saying is ‘you matter, but if I get a phone call, it matters more than you’. So, create a rule that you do not come to the table with your phone. Leave it off the table and focus on the food, taste it, chew it, feel your body’s sensations, including hunger, thirst, and satiety. All this matter so you know when to stop eating and not overindulge.
  2. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – city life has many benefits however, it makes it easy to forget that food is not grown in supermarket isles. When you eat, remind yourself and definitely talk about this with the kids, where did the food you’re eating come from? How does asparagus grow? How do artichokes grow? How about animal food? Do you know where the food you’re eating came from? Was it raised humanly? Offer gratitude to the growers of your food and focus on the journey your food made to get to your table. This will raise your satisfaction as well as create a nice atmosphere at your dinner table. Gratitude creates a ripple effect of abundance and expansion.
  3. Be with your food. Notice yourself when you eat. Do you have a tendency of inhaling your food? Do you eat way too slow? Pay attention to the food, notice the colours and smell it. Focus on each bite and notice the different tastes. Try this game with your kids. Serve different flavours and see if your kids know to distinguish between sweet, sour, salty, bitter, spicy, astringent. You might be surprised how little you know yourself about the flavours of food.
  4. Breathe. When you eat, eat slowly. Allow one inhale and exhale in between chewing. Chew your food and taste it. This will do wonders for your digestion. This was my main struggle as I have a tendency to zoom through eating, so I would often overeat, get bloated and get indigestion. This sounds simple but it is definitely not easy, I’m still working on this one habit alone for over three years.
  5. Feel. Do you feel happy or a sense of guilt when you eat? Is mealtime stressful? If so, ask yourself “why?” Once you identify your emotions, accept them and, without fighting them, simply release them. I often hear women say “I eat my feelings” or “I eat emotionally”. Well, here’s something that might surprise you, we all eat emotionally! Food is supposed to feel good. It’s supposed to taste good, imagine if it didn’t? We’d do it three times a day without getting any pleasure from it. How terrible would that be? I once had a conversation about food with my rabbi. I asked him, why did God create us needing to eat three times a day? Why didn’t he create us not needing to eat at all or only eat once a week or once a month? I loved his answer! He said that our relationship with food represent our relationship with life itself. Food is life. Food sustains us, it nourishes us. How we eat is how we live. If we rush through food, we often rush through life. If we overeat, we often have a tendency to say ‘yes’ to too many things. When we eat emotionally, it often means that we don’t understand ourselves on an emotional level and need basic tools to cope with our feelings. Notice how you eat and allow this awareness to help you change your relationship with life.
  6. Don’t eat on the go. I know this advice is not always practical for moms. Multitasking is how we get things done! I do want you to make an agreement with yourself, to try to sit down while you eat as much as you can (driving seated doesn’t count!). Instead of eating leftovers out of the container over the kitchen sink (we’ve all done this!), designate a place to eat and create a bit of ambiance. Plate your food (yes, even leftovers) and sit down to enjoy it. Stay seated for the entirety of your meal. This will help you focus on the act of eating.
  7. Don’t eat alone. If you want to instill healthy eating habits at home, start with creating time for family meals. It doesn’t have to be during dinner. I know many of you work late and it just doesn’t work out. Can it be breakfast with the family? Even if it’s 15-20 minutes long, it still counts. Maybe a brunch? Or lunch? If you want your family to eat mindfully, schedule a regular time for your meal (usually dinner is easiest for getting everyone together). Make a rule that no one leaves the table until dinner is over. This may be an hour each evening or once per week, depending on your schedule. While the family is congregated, encourage everyone to enjoy their senses of smell and taste while they eat. Be sure to show gratitude to your family for joining in the experience together.
  8. Treat yourself well Get into the habit of investigating yourself and why you eat. Next time you sit down to eat, ask yourself “why and I eating this right now?”. Stay with the answer, don’t flounder. Give yourself an honest answer. “I eat because I am bored”, “I eat because I feel sad”, “I eat because I’m nervous”. Get to the bottom of it. Next, ask yourself, other than eating how can I get my needs met? Can it be a walk outside? Can you do some stretches? Yoga?
    A few months ago my husband did a sugar detox with Eric Edmeades’s WildFit program and shared with me a concept I loved. When you treat yourself, treat yourself well. Redefine the meaning of a treat. Stop saying things like “When I finish this project, I’ll treat myself to a pizza” (or whatever), ask yourself “Is this really a treat?” In other words, is this how you want to treat your body? Instead, try a massage or a facial, or maybe go out for a coffee with a friend. When it comes to our children, it not any different. We have a tendency to label foods, a chocolate cake is a treat whereas broccoli is a vegetable. Hence chocolate is tasty and a vegetable is not. Stop using food as a reward for yourself as well for your children. Instead of saying, ‘eat your dinner and then you’ll get a treat’ say something like: “Today on the menu we have chicken, rice, vegetables and chocolate. Let’s enjoy our meal together!

There you have it, eight suggestions to help you eat with love and love your food. Remember that psychospiritual, food is life and your relationship with food says a lot about your relationship with life. How you treat yourself is the blueprint you’re passing on to your children.

This is true especially if you’re raising daughters!

Studies show that women are more prone than men to develop unhealthy habits such as smoking, snacking on high-sugar, high-fat snacks, and drinking caffeine. Very often these habits are picked up at home. I’m not saying this to instil shame or guilt on you, you know men better than that.

I say this because the faster you rise to the occasion and take responsibility for yourself and your poor relationship with food, the sooner you’ll be able to heal and stop generational patterns from repeating.

When you have a positive relationship with food, so will your children. It is simple as that. It is worth to invest the time and energy to begin instilling healthy eating habits in your family from a young age.

So much of raising my children helped me to raise myself and learning to feed them is not any different. My brand new program From Picky Eater to Healthy Eater was created out of my own struggle to feed myself and mys children. So much of what you’re going to learn through this program will help you with your own relationship with food. It’s a co-creative process.

Show Notes

Click here to get From Picky Eater To Healthy Eater Program

Simon Sinek’s video about cellphone addiction