What is the key to food freedom? Try approaching food with a childlike awareness. Kids are curious, free of self-judgement, taste with all their senses, and are usually very decisive if they want seconds or not. A little girl caught my attention last weekend at the farmer's market, where I demonstrate ways to use the market ingredients. Using just 4 ingredients, I quickly whipped up an asparagus soup (see recipe) topped with a piece of local crusty bread. Not knowing what I put in front of her, this darling girl, featured above, shyly approached the table for a sample. Before I knew it, she sweetly returned to the table two more times to ask for another, and another tasting. Each time she examined the soup, smelled it, sipped it, and licked the cup with sheer delight.
Students and clients often confide in me that they are stuck in "food paralysis." I don't mean they can't decide whether to eat a double cheeseburger or kale salad. I mean they are in a daily battle about what healthy whole foods they can eat. Either their doctor has eliminated so many foods without a compass to move forward, or they are reading hundreds of recycled blogs that give unsubstantiated information of a particular nutrient and it's effects on human health. My opinion: stop reading and start cooking. Notice how food makes you feel and make sound decisions based on your own experiences. It's the only way to connect with your inner healer and know what you like, what feels good to your body and mind, and how to stay fluid in your eating patterns. Judging food "good" or "bad," worrying about the source of every ingredient, and living in a constant fear of food keeps you in a state of flight or flight, which overburdens the adrenals and can cause downstream effects on digestions, metabolism, and hormone function.
If only adults approached food with a similar delight as this little girl. As people grow older, food is tied up into many physical, emotional, cultural and social associations, which all contribute to our present day habits. Feeling stuck with food? Start with curiosity; your family may even jump on the bandwagon with you. If you're not used to eating a healthy dose of greens in the morning, try my Minty Green Smoothie. Afraid of eating fish because it smells when you cook it and it tends to come out dry and boring? Dive back in with this easy Roasted Salmon with Tomatoes and Fennel. Give Vital Choice seafood a try; I promise you a "smell-free" kitchen.
Use the kitchen as an outlet to play and discover new pleasures. Cooking is a practice in staying flexible in your tastes. It's also one of the best ways to practice self-love, the antidote to fear and anxiety.