For many, food is a shared experience between loved ones that creates lasting memories. Focus on connection, and feel fulfilled in all aspects of life.
Often times, the dialogue in food and health is focused around the emotional and relational part of food for a person. In reality, food doesn’t just impact our own individual thoughts and behaviors. In fact, we can’t discount the emotional side of food and health without talking about how it can affect our relationships.
If you think about some of your most cherished memories, many of them likely involve food. Whether it’s sharing a coffee and a muffin at a bakery, enjoying that really delicious dinner, cooking with somebody you love, a holiday tradition, eating popcorn on the couch with friends for movie night, or having friends over for a summer barbeque – there is almost always food involved in a memory.
It’s the people that are the most important, but it’s food that helps connect us.
For individuals with obsessive and controlling thoughts about food, it can heavily impact the degree to which they can engage in meaningful relationships and be present in their lives. You can eat the healthiest, greenest meals that are organic, local, grain-free, and GMO-free….but if that’s at the expense of your social and relational health, it’s not healthy at all.
We must be really honest with ourselves when it comes to our food decisions, and whether choices are made for the sake of physical health while neglecting other important aspects of life that do have an impact on our physical health. While nutrition and exercise are a part of our overall, long-term health, we cannot deny the importance of emotional and mental health that’s impacted by our social surroundings. And when you’re truly living in line with your values, feeding your body both satisfying and nourishing food will be a focus, but not your only focus.
You will also cultivate meaningful relationships with family and friends that will nourish your mind and soul.
Getting together with people you love and sharing food is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Happy hours with a chilly bottle of rosé and a charcuterie board, sharing popcorn with friends while watching a movie, or playing cards are perfect illustrations of wellness and what it means to be truly health.
Whether it’s around the dinner table or going out brunching with friends, investing in relationships, community, and spending time with people will keep you happy and healthy. Because it’s the people that really matter, and food is simply a connection point that brings us all together.
No matter what is on the table, food will bring you closer to those you love.
Adapted from the original article.
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Robyn Nohling, FNP-BC, RD is a Registered Dietitian and Family Nurse Practitioner who believes that eating cupcakes and kale are both equally healthy to the body and mind. With a passion for women’s hormonal health and nutrition, Robyn cuts through the irrational noise of diet fads and unrealistic beauty expectations to help others find joy in food as it’s meant to be celebrated. Learn more about Robyn at The Real Life RD.