Stop Dieting Already! Sensual Eating for Health, Beauty and Piece of Mind

Here we go again. It’s the beginning of the year and I hear all the same old buzz about resolutions to lose weight and get fit as new years past. “I’m going on the pickles and beef jerky diet!” “I’m never going to eat another cookie again!” “It’s turkey breast and broccoli for the next 6 months!” Inevitably, by January 15, habits will revert back to the way they were in December, if not worse, as failure-induced depression sets in. But wait, there is no need to hate food to love your body, or vice-versa.

Take this advice from a serious foodie (a person devoted to sensuous enjoyment of good food and considers food to be an art, on a level with painting or drama) who read my mother’s college nutrition texts cover-to-cover from the time I was ten, on how to make the healthy connection between food and sensuality, no matter whether you are a gourmet or can barely boil water.

Skip fake foods and supplements, and eat real.

To make your healthy transformation easier, the first step is to change your thinking. Look at the whole picture. Sure, you may want to drop a few pounds of extra fat, but is that all? Do you want healthy, supple skin? How about more energy for doing fun activities? Would you like to enjoy gorgeous shiny hair? How about fewer bouts of influenza, constipation, or indigestion? What you put into your body directly effects how well or poorly it functions. Nutrients from supplements are generally not as complete as the nutrients found in foods, and supplements contain only the ones that have already been discovered by scientists.

There are still loads of nutrients that have not even been discovered yet. Think of all the new ones just brought to our attention in the last decade alone, so just eat the foods and gain the benefits of the known and the unknown goodies. Eat as many whole foods – unprocessed foods that are in their natural state as possible.

Focus on adding more nutritious foods to your diet, and don’t dwell on depriving yourself of less nutritious, calorie rich foods.

The point is, the more you eat the foods you want in your body, automatically, the less room there will be to stuff yourself with the things you could stand to eat less of. In this day and age I should never hear comments like, “healthy food doesn’t taste good”. Although it is best to eat fresh and local, we have access to an infinite variety of things to eat, and all of them can’t taste horrid. Unless an item is chocked full of calories and completely empty of nutrients, don’t label it a “bad” food. These may be foods to not eat every day, but don’t focus on them and you’ll be surprised, your obsession with them will subside.

Honor your sense of taste–promise yourself never to eat food you don’t like.

Eating unsatisfying food adds unnecessary calories that could better be used eating what you truly love. This rule applies to healthy foods and junky foods alike. If you are repulsed by cabbage, don’t force yourself to eat it. Eat broccoli or spinach instead. If you think Hershey’s chocolate tastes grainy and sickeningly-sweet, don’t settle for it just because you are hungry at the vending machine. Grab some nuts and save yourself for a nice couple of Godiva squares later.

Savor your food, don’t stuff your face.

Mindful eating is one of the most enjoyable and beneficial methods of controlling weight. Take your time and chew each bite thoroughly before swallowing. Don’t multitask while eating, turn off the television and pay attention to your food. Eat with all of your senses. Let yourself discover how it smells, the temperature, the texture, how it looks, and even it’s sound. It’s sensual and pleasurable and you will inevitably eat less because you will notice that you are full sooner.

Embark on food adventures regularly.

Variation keeps boredom at bay. Here’s a challenge: vow to try 2-3 new foods this month. Either prepare them at home or order them in a restaurant. What’s the worst that can happen? If you think something tastes hideous, then it’s not for you, big deal. If it is not so good but not terrible, consider trying the food again prepared differently. As a child I hated zucchini because my mother steamed it in the microwave. When I rediscovered zucchini sautéed in olive oil with spices, sweet onions and red peppers I fell in love. This month I am trying:

  • Quinoa
  • Butternut squash
  • Ground flaxseed

When experimenting with cooking, there are a few suggested items to have on hand that are nutritious and extremely versatile to cook with to make all the difference between bland and exciting. These are extra-virgin first cold pressed olive oil, fresh garlic, turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper, and whole black peppercorns.

Here is a list of highly nutritious food items to try for the first time, or to just add more of to your diet. Be adventurous and try other things not on this list as well. I would love to hear all about your experiences.

alfalfa

avocado

asparagus

artichokes

beans

berries

bok choy

Swiss chard

dark chocolate

extra virgin olive oil

garlic

scallions

shallots

leeks

chives

honey

oat bran

wheat germ

ground flaxseed

brown rice

barley

buckwheat

quinoa

wild rice

couscous

pumpkin

butternut squash

sweet potatoes

pomegranates

açai

wild salmon

soy

spinach

tea

nuts

yogurt

kefir

spelt

stevia