I love food. I love what it does for people’s bodies and brains. I love its role in culture and relationship building. Unfortunately, as a registered dietician and a nutritionist, I realize that I am constantly consternated by the typical gut (no pun intended) reaction people get when they hear the words, “nutrition talk”. I realize this can be expected since the all too common approach when speaking about nutrition is that of deprivation, guilt, pain, and the overall absence of pleasure.
This is why, when we first started designing our Tignum Performance Nutrition approach 14 years ago, I wanted to make it clear that we had to embrace the pleasure that we as humans get from eating. It had to be founded on the idea that when we combine enjoyment, awareness, and an understanding of the “why” we are eating, that beautiful things will occur. It had to provide tangible, practical, and pragmatic strategies to help our clients make effortless change.
Recently, while in Philadelphia with a company who is leading the way in Sustainable High Performance, Franklin Square Investments, I was reminded of one of my favorite ways to eat - as a family. Growing up in the midwest of the US, mealtime was always a special time. To me it was special because it was a time of sharing. We shared in the cooking, the setting of the table, and my favorite - the passing and enjoyment of the food. This experience was probably the foundation of many of our Tignum Performance Nutrition principles such as: eat a variety of colored vegetables, feed your gut bacteria (a concept we didn’t know the science of but our ancestors had figured out), eat smaller portions, eat slowly, and enjoy every bite.
One common challenge that many of our executives share is the challenge of following these principles when they have to eat out, attend a business dinner, or even attend a family function. A great solution is to employ family style dining. Rather than ordering an entry for each person, order 3 entrees for 5 people. Add some variety, order a few salads, and maybe share just one appetizer. When the food comes, pass it around, take a small portion, and pass it on. Before you know it, you are discussing the food, you are trying foods you may never have tried, you are eating less, and you are enjoying your meal more. You have combined the big three of family style eating: connection, awareness, and pleasure. Additionally, you've avoided overeating and you've avoided throwing away a bunch of wasted food.
The next time you are eating out, think: order less, share more, and enjoy every minute. Before you know it, you may just learn to love food as much as your Tignum nutritionist. As always, I would love to hear what you think.
By Patti Milligan
Tignum Director of Nutrition