My Food Role Model: Mastering a Love of Food!
What is your relationship with food? Is food the enemy or is food your friend? Be honest now! After all, the feelings stirring inside are subconsciously shaping your eating patterns and possibly your health.
Last week, I experienced the phenomenal Tony Robbins up close and personal at his Toronto workshop. He inspired us to think about how our feelings (or body movement) influence our emotional state and our reality. Tony got 5,000 people out of their seats and dramatically moving in order to reach their “peak energy state”. Tony said, “Where focus goes energy flows”. This got me wondering, where is our focus when it comes to food?
If your goal is to eat for better health, the secret to your success lies in not only adopting healthy eating habits, but also changing how you FEEL about food! Today, I will be sharing the story of my food role model and how he shaped my relationship with food.
Who is my Food Role Model?
My Nonno impressed upon the grandkids the importance of food and family – ideally enjoyed together. He took pleasure spending hours cooking; I can now see that this was his “labour of love”. I still remember entering their home to the smell of fresh tomato sauce, garlic and parsley. These aromas were always followed by a comforting smile spread across my face.
From a young age, my siblings and I were involved in the food preparation process. My nonno, with his Italian accent, would delegate tasks, “Andrea, please turn the wheel of the pasta machine”. This was my favourite task and one that both took muscular strength and endurance. It was also one of the most rewarding tasks because sheets of pasta would be transformed into bunches of spaghetti or fettuccini before your eyes! This valuable hands-on experience built food confidence that would enable me to make food for myself when away at University.
I am grateful that Nonno allowed us to see where food comes from. He also made food a fun and enjoyable experience. He encouraged us to go on “treasure hunts” in his garden to find the tomatoes, fresh lettuce, parsley, zucchini, plums, pears, grapes and more! But most of all, Nonno created a positive, safe environment where we were encouraged (never pressured) to try new foods. We were just having fun and enjoying delicious homemade meals.
My Top 3 Teachings from Nonno:
- Good food takes time and the more you practice cooking the easier it becomes.
- Food can be grown in the garden and there are many different ways you can use the same ingredient.
- Enjoy and savour your food, ideally, together with family or friends!
My memory of Nonno is one of love for both food and family. My unwavering love for food was a major influence in me choosing my career as a Dietitian. When working with my clients, I hold the core value that food is beyond nutrition! Food is love. Food is connecting with others. Food is enjoying the simple life pleasures. By adopting a positive relationship with food, we can reshape our feelings around eating well for health and enjoyment. Buono Appetito!
“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” —Alan D. Wolfelt