Have you heard of the Five Love Languages? They are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. I propose a sixth - Nutrition.
Nutrition as a love language is two-fold: An act of self-care and a source of joy. Self-care is a way to show love to yourself and we enjoy (and maybe even love - I'm looking at you, dark chocolate) nutrition.
Nutrition as Self-Care
We can show love to our bodies by nourishing them. Nourishment sustains us - breathing life into our days, giving energy to conquer mundane and heroic acts, and providing the micronutrients needed to keep our systems finely tuned.
Ways to nourish our bodies include:
- Hydrating adequately. Aim for 90 oz of water as a start. You may need a little more depending on your exercise regimen, environment, and season of life.
- Getting in a variety of plants. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Plants provide the fiber we need to stay regular and maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
- Eating consistent meals. Skipping meals is no bueno and it can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. Having meals at regular intervals with enough energy will help you crush your goals.
- Fueling our days so we can rest at night. Getting in enough energy during the day helps us improve the overall quality of our diet. When we don't skimp on meals during the day, we are more likely to have a moderate dinner, allowing digestion to occur before sleep so we can best utilize our night time zzzzzs.
Nutrition as a Source of Joy
Some meals are out-of-this-world amazing! Some desserts are mouth-watering and ridiculously delicious. I'm sure you've experienced some food or meal or dessert that was tantalizing to your taste buds. Food serves as a way to nourish us, but also as a means of a delightful experience. When it comes to enjoying our food, we should focus on these recommendations:
- Treat treats as treats. As enjoyable as food can be, if we have it too frequently or too much of it, the food loses its appeal. By design, the amazing taste of a food diminishes the more we eat it. The first bite of that scrumptious cupcake will be much better than the last bite. Our taste buds tire and no loner derive the same level of pleasure as they did with the first bite. The infrequency and moderation of the treat makes it all the more treat-worthy.
- Be picky. Not every dish or dessert offered at the party is going to be amazing. Take some time to consider your choices and choose what something you will truly enjoy.
- Be present. In order to really enjoy a food, you need to be actively participating in the enjoying. Actively participating includes noting the aroma, presentation, texture, and flavor of the food. Sit down, remove distractions, and focus on all the deliciousness that's about to go down.
Nutrition is a way to show love to yourself and to enjoy. It's a robust love language. As you prepare for Valentine's Day, don't forget to shower yourself with some solid nutrition and enjoy a delicious dessert with the love(s) of your life.