Build a Positive Relationship With Cooking

Have you ever felt so completely into a meal that you wanted to savor each indulgent bite for ages? A meal so enriching and delectable that it it delights not only your taste buds, but your soul as well. This is the kind of experience that calls for eyes half-closed in a dreamy state and a sweet smile on your lips as you slowly taste, smell, chew and enjoy your food.

Think about what it would feel like to eat this way. How would the food taste as it reaches your tongue? How enticing would the aroma be as it wafts through the house? Would you eat this meal quickly, scarfing it down without so much as tasting it, or would you take your time and finish it when you’re truly satisfied?

With all of the convenient options and boxed meals available nowadays, so many of us have lost the sacred art of preparing meals by hand and enjoying them mindfully while seated at the table. When you cook meals yourself, you are taking the time to connect with your food on a deeper level. You have the ability to taste it as you go, smell the delicious spices you’ve used, and have complete control over the quality of ingredients. Chopping vegetables and mincing herbs can be a meditation in itself.

Body + Mind + Soul + Spirit = You card isolated

When you have a positive relationship with cooking, and make meal preparation a mindful activity, you make it feel more special–more sacred. You can infuse your food with love and healing thoughts of nourishment while it simmers on the stovetop, for example. Creating a positive environment around your food, especially when it comes to eating, makes it a safe and enjoyable space. Unfortunately a lot of people are more concerned with counting calories or staying away from carbs, which causes us to fall out of touch with listening to our body and nourishing it on all levels.

That’s where the power of mind-body affirmations and mindful eating comes in to the equation. Imagine that you are about to eat your favorite not-so-healthy dessert. What do you tell yourself before you take the first bite? Many of us would have already begun to berate or punish ourselves for eating something that we know isn’t good for us, even before we take that first bite. This constant negativity and stress around food and punishing ourselves for indulging is what causes us to have an imbalanced relationship with food, which can lead to weight gain, emotional stress, eating disorders, and even worse conditions (Have an issue with one of these disorders? Our art therapist can help).

While you shouldn’t indulge in unhealthy foods too often, tearing yourself apart and causing your body even more stress isn’t going to make that food any better for you. Indulging occasionally is soothing for the soul, but the best way to heal yourself in the food realm is to utilize positive mind-body affirmations before eating your food. You can make meal preparation sacred, positive and fun by playing music, simply thinking positive thoughts as you cook, or other creative therapies.

Another great way to make your dining experience uplifting is to eat at the table. Sit with your feet firmly planted on the ground so that you have good posture. You can light candles or decorate your table with fresh, local wildflowers for a visually appealing meal if you wish. Before you begin to eat, use your senses to engage all that is in front of you, ready to nourish your body, mind and soul. Smell the food and try to notice each scent from the spices or herbs you used. Plate your meal beautifully and use a variety of whole foods for an array of vitamins and minerals that also look nice when displayed. Maybe even taste a small sample from your fingertip. Take these moments to be mindful and associate positivity with your meal.

I encourage you to always practice gratitude at mealtime. Think of the farmer who grew such juicy produce or the earth and appreciate this bounty of whole foods. Now take a quiet moment to breathe deeply and become one with this experience. There are many different affirmations you can recite, whether in your head or aloud, but choose one that fits for you at that particular moment. You can find some examples to help build a positive relationship with cooking listed below:

  • This meal is going to nourish my body and supply nutrients, vitamins and minerals so that my skin glows
  • I am thankful for this spread of food that will heal my digestion, uplift my spirit and satisfy me on all levels
  • I infuse this meal with abundant and healing love so that I may feel energized and recharged
  • I know that my body will assimilate and utilize these nutrients as I need them
  • I indulge in this food, but I know that on occasion that is perfectly okay
  • I choose to consume this meal in a mindful and peaceful manner for optimal healing

If you are going to consume something that is considered more of an indulgence, like the dessert mentioned above, don’t beat yourself up over it. Simply accept that you are choosing this food and say an affirmation such as “I allow my body to have delicious treats on occasion and in moderation because I nourish myself on all levels.” This doesn’t mean that you can make poor eating choices and simply say an affirmation beforehand to excuse it, but every now and then, we all deserve a treat. If you make healthy choices most of the time, you are doing your body wonders.

Having a positive relationship with cooking and a mindfulness around food are incredibly beneficial and will allow you to become more in tune with yourself. When this happens, you will rely more on nature to heal you in the form of fresh, tasty whole foods. The next time you sit down to a meal, close your eyes and just be in that moment. Taste your food, chew it extremely well and breathe deeply in between each bite to prevent overeating. Mindfulness will connect you to your spirit and improve your digestion and ability to detect when you are actually full.

So take this time to play with your food, infuse it with love, and create a positive relationship with cooking. Enjoy!