Being on a therapeutic diet can bring up a myriad of feelings – from frustration to guilt to boredom. Here are seven easy ways to help you enjoy your food more NOW.
- Set a beautiful table. Sit at the dining room table instead of in front of the TV. Set cut flowers on the table. Bring out the nice dishes and the cloth napkins. Make it an aesthetically beautiful event instead something to get through. You may not have the time to do this at every meal but incorporate special touches when you can.
- Chew and Taste your Food. This isn’t meant to bring back memories of your mom yelling at you at the dinner table or slipping unwanted food to the dog on the sly. Nor do I recommend counting how many times you chew every single bite of food. But it can be helpful to be more present while you eat. Taste the texture of the food in your mouth. Does it change as you chew? How long after you finish chewing does the taste linger in your mouth? Does it feel ok to put the fork down in between bites? There are no right or wrongs here; the key is being present, even if it’s for a short period of time.
- Let go of Anxiety and Guilt when you Sit Down to Eat. Whether you’re testing a new food or you’ve decided to eat off of your regular therapeutic diet, once you’ve made a decision, let it go. If you are in a state of anxiety while eating it will definitely affect your digestion. Once you make a choice to eat a certain way, do your best to enjoy your meal as much as possible.
- Accept Help. If a friend or family member offers to do the cooking – accept! If you’re worried about ingredients, offer to give them a specific recipe to follow so you’ll know exactly what is in the meal. Hiring a personal chef can also be an option. It sounds expensive, but there is a wide variety of price ranges and since it’s a professional, they may be able to produce a larger quantity of meals in a shorter amount of time than you can. If you think of it as part of your health care it can feel much less extravagant.
- Eat a Variety of Food. Eat the largest variety of foods in your diet as possible. This will guarantee better nutrition and higher food enjoyment. This might mean eating smaller amounts of certain foods or eating certain foods with less frequency if they cause symptoms in larger/more frequent amounts. If you need to make larger batches of food, freeze some portions to eat later.
- Express Gratitude. Expressing gratitude before a meal, silently or out loud, can help us enjoy our food and slow down before eating. It can be in the form of a prayer, or simply thanking the people (the farmers, the truck drivers, the cook, the grocery store clerk, etc.), who helped bring this food all the way to you. It can also be helpful to feel gratitude for the nutritive and healing qualities the food has for you.
- Try New Recipes and Foods. Sure, there are some foods and meals that are part of everyone’s regular rotation. But mix it up now and then by trying new recipes or ingredients. When you find a website you like, subscribe to their newsletter to get their latest recipes. Also, shop at the farmers market for what’s in season to get inspiration. Food that is fresh and vital will taste so much better! Having issues figuring out which foods to test and when? Feel free to set up an appointment!