Pay attention to what you are eating. Be present.
No, I don’t just mean paying attention to your food choices – opting for lean proteins, whole grains, and lots of veggies. What’s on your plate should demand your attention. We have become mindless eaters. We absently scroll through our newsfeeds while we sit down to eat, we eat on the go – on trains, in cars, walking down the hallway in between meetings – failing to acknowledge or even notice the food in front of us. It’s no wonder we are constantly fighting cravings to snack. Our bodies are missing an important sensory aspect of eating when we consume without really paying attention.
Every time you eat, your body responds with many different and complicated biochemical responses involving regulation of blood glucose levels, the break down, absorption, and storage of energy, all while controlling feelings of hunger and fullness. This delicate process is all coordinated by your hormones. It takes time for your body to acknowledge these subtle messages, and mindless eating can make it easy to ignore these cues. This is why connecting with your food can be such a powerful strategy in forming healthy eating habits.
Food should do more than fill an empty hole in your stomach and satisfy a hunger pang. It should stimulate your senses! Pay attention to the colours, the textures, the smells, the natural designs. Play. Create. Make beautiful food that demands your attention.
When there’s art on your plate, you will eat more slowly. You will take your time, trying to absorb it visually, and deconstruct it mentally. You will appreciate the work that went into creating it. You will view it as something to be respected, and not wolfed down absent mindedly. You will be thankful. Every bite will be an adventure of unique combinations of flavours and textures. You will feel the food doing your body good. You’ll finish your plate, completely satisfied. These are the basis for healthy and sustainable eating habits. It’s not an effortless process. But once you start to form new habits, and understand how it feels to eat mindfully, eating for health really does become effortless.
The concept of food as art may not jive with everyone, and that is more than ok. If you’re not a foodie, you may not completely understand this perceived obsession with food, but what I’d like to impress upon you is that there can be more to it than that. Food obsession can be unhealthy, but food appreciation can be the complete opposite.
I absolutely love this photo of my Nonna, and I think it perfectly captures the love of food she helped to instil in me, and all of the wonderful memories of family meals I am grateful to have.
I have no idea what that goop is, but look how happy it’s making her! Just looking at this photo makes me smile. One thing I’m fairly certain of is that it was probably some good tasting goop. Nonna could do no wrong in the kitchen.
I appreciate food because it connects me to family. I appreciate that it nourishes my body, fills me with warmth, and that it has this remarkable power to gather people together to share in something special!
So if you are a fellow food lover, I’d love to hear what it means to you, or your thoughts on foodie culture or food obsession in the comments below. In the meantime, whip up this chorizo fettuccine recipe and call up your closest mates! You might have to double or triple the recipe if you’ve got a bigger squad, but the more the merrier!
Butternut Squash Fettuccine with Chorizo and Mushrooms
- 1 chorizo sausage link, casing removed and roughly chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves roasted garlic, mashed
- 2 cups fresh butternut squash fettuccine*
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup Gruyere, shredded**
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
- Start by placing a pot of water on the stove to boil.
- Cook your chorizo in a frying pan on medium high. Depending on how lean it is, you might need to add a little olive oil to the pan. Set aside once cooked through.
- If you love that smokey chorizo flavour, sauté your mushrooms in the same pan turned down to low. If you prefer a more mellow flavour, grab a clean pan. Once golden brown, add roasted garlic and turn off the heat – the residual heat from cooking the mushrooms will warm the garlic just enough to activate the flavours. Add chorizo.
- Once water is boiling, cook your pasta. If cooking from fresh, your pasta will only take a few minutes, mine took about 5. If using dried noodles, allow for longer cooking time.
- When pasta is cooked to desired texture, use tongs to move the noodles form the pot to the frying pan with the mushrooms, garlic, and chorizo. Hold the noodles above the water to let most of the water drain off, but don’t be too worried about a little water sticking to them – it will help make a bit of a sauce in the frying pan with all the other lovely flavours you’ve got in there!
- Add olive oil, shredded cheese and fresh basil. Gently toss to combine and coat the noodles. Serve immediately.
*I got my fresh butternut squash fettuccine at my local farmer’s market. It’s definitely a specialty item, but don’t stress about hunting it down. You can use any fresh or dried fettuccine or linguine in this recipe and it will turn out just fine. The butternut squash noodles don’t add a ton of flavour, just some beautiful colour, so you won’t be missing out on taste by substituting!
**Again, you don’t have to be too particular about the cheese. Gruyere is just one of my favourites! Parmesan or Romano would be other excellent choices. The chorizo has a very strong flavour and takes the stage in this dish, so think about whether you want your cheese to compete for the spotlight or just hang out in the background. Choose a sharp or mild cheese accordingly.