A Love Affair with Food: Being a Foodie Can Mean Good News for Healthy Weights

by Marsha Hudnall

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How my love of food and good eating helps keep me healthy and fitA love affair with food sounds like a recipe for weight struggles. Yet our chefs at Green Mountain both have lost a significant amount of weight after taking over the helm of our culinary services.They haven’t given up a thing to do that, either. Instead, they’ve done it the Green Mountain way – learning how to eat the food they love in a way that makes them feel great. The weight loss – well, it’s just something that happened naturally on the road to feeling great.

Do You Love Food But Fear It?

In our Healing with Foods class at Green Mountain, director Marsha Hudnall, MS,RD, talks about a new personal mission for her at Green Mountain: To help all the women who come to us become foodies. That is, if they love food.

When she asks who loves food, many in the class laugh sheepishly. They think their love of food is something that has caused their weight problems. Yet could the seeming conflict between enjoying food and weight be one more example of diet thinking? Diets essentially teach us that food is the enemy.

That’s where Marsha’s personal mission comes in.

What is a Foodie?

Foodies are defined as someone who

  • Has a refined or ardent interest in food
  • Has an enthusiastic interest in the preparation and consumption of good food

When preparing to eat, a foodie makes sure it’s something she really wants to eat. It’s usually high-quality food – very few highly-processed foods prepared quickly meet her standards. And it’s varied. She’s interested in exploring the world of wonderful food.

If it takes time to make a meal or snack, she’ll invest the time. But that doesn’t mean all her meals and snacks take hours in the kitchen. She knows that sometimes a hunk of cheese, slice of great bread, and juicy piece of fresh fruit is all she needs to satisfy her hunger.

As she eats, she savors. Her food has her attention; she enjoys the taste, eating just enough until her hunger subsides. Then she’s done with eating, getting on with other things in life that are important to her. Which may mean shopping for a future meal or something that has nothing at all to do with food.

You could also call a foodie a mindful eater.

The Time is Ripe

Summer in our part of the world means fresh fruits and vegetables that actually taste like, well, fruits and vegetables. As farmers markets pop up in more places, we have the opportunity to rediscover the taste of pampered produce, enjoying old favorites as well as finding new ones to feature in meals and snacks.

But there are many other routes to becoming a foodie, too. Television cooking shows abound. Okay, you have to be somewhat choosy about which ones you learn from – go for those that feature olive oil as the primary cooking fat. Cooking magazines can be instrumental in helping us understand the art and science of cooking; one of our favorites is Cook’s Illustrated. Then there are the kitchen supply stores where we can spend hours perusing all the clever gadgets that make cooking easier as well as the quality ingredients that take food preparation to a higher level.

Bottom line: Now is the time to ramp up the attention we pay to our food, enjoying it fully, understanding that enjoyment includes how it makes us feel as well as how it tastes. And understanding, too, that that enjoyment can play a central role in helping us achieve our goals, not only with health and healthy weights, but also in life.

Enjoy!!

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