Life is full of surprises. If there is one certainty in life, it is each day is different from the last. Guaranteed, there’s no way to predict what today will bring, let alone tomorrow.
Seemingly though, at this stage of life there’s many more action-packed days than the kind that you get to drift through in a chilled-out haze. Certainly a symptom of the times we exist in, where “over-extended” is the new normal, and we all strive to have our cake and eat it too.
But can we really? Everything has a price and the reality of the push for the kind of success many aspire to is that the very things we crave – quality time with loved ones and unhurried enjoyment of the many pleasures life can offer – are simply unobtainable for the majority of the time.
When exactly does one get to enjoy the fruits of their labour? Retirement still feels a long way away, and it would be kind of nice to enjoy some of the finer things whilst the body and mind is still functioning at a reasonably high level … Hmm, it is indeed a dilemma.
As always, however – it is possible to throw in the concept of “food for thought” into this discussion. As in, exactly that – how we perceive food on a daily basis, how we deal with the physical, biological necessity of it and counterbalance that with the pure pleasure food can give us – not just through its potential for deliciousness, but the opportunity it provides us for a much-needed time out, as well as its importance from a social and cultural perspective.
Of course, sometimes it simply isn’t possible to even remotely have the luxury to think of food in any other way that without it we would die – it is purely a fuel for our bodies to go on functioning as they should.
Luckily for many of us in this very lucky country, however, food is abundant and available, and we have the luxury of being able to make choices in what we like and don’t like, feel like or don’t feel like on any given day.
Yet often within our busy days filled with tasks, stress and distractions – when we eat, it is without tasting. It’s quickly grabbing something – anything – when we have a free moment. It’s eating leftovers of leftovers or raiding the pantry because that’s all there is in the house, and it’s too late and we are too tired to go shopping.
Yes, when it comes down to it, food is undeniably fuel. But also, it remains one of life’s great pleasures, and it is important for us humans, apparently civilised and social creatures, to make time for it.
Why are there so many rituals all over the world involving food? Food festivals, harvest celebrations, special meals for a myriad of religious and cultural occasions – the list goes on and has endured generation after generation.
The benefits of stopping to taste and enjoy are limitless. Instant relief of stress, allowing time to relax and enjoy the company of fellow humans, better digestion and overall wellbeing, consuming better quality foods with a higher nutritional profile, creating new traditions and positive food associations for the next generation – not to mention – just YUM!
Even if it’s not possible at this time of life to pause and truly kick back and savour many moments, it is important to try to keep our food time a bit sacred. Or at the very least, show a bit of love to ourselves and our loved ones through the food we share.
So even if it means taking time to plan meals, getting organised, scheduling time out to dine with family and friends, or bringing in fresh and tasty home prepared lunches into the office, it’s worth a go and way to approach this new year in a most delicious way …