So it’s the New Year and we are back in the grind. Although it has taken a lot of willpower for most of us to shift from holiday mode to reality, the first month of 2013 has flown as quickly as the arrival and departure of the last Christmas rush. But here I am still reeling from all the indulgent eating, now desperately trying to shake off all the extra weight gained from the holiday sins.
You know what I’m saying, especially if you tried our recipes – the savory herbed chicken mushroom pasta, the filling shrimp paella and the delectable crab nuggets – and tell me what it has been like for you! At every potluck and every party, did you find yourself thinking that Christmas comes but once a year and going, “just a little bit more of this, just another serving of that, promise this would be my last bite,” until you find yourself swollen from so much great food by the stroke of New Year?
I did. And before I knew it, January was here. And unlike all the New Years that came before us where I got all excited to face a new chapter in my life, this time it felt a little “different.” In the past two weeks, I have managed a few random rounds of brisk walking at the park where I see more joggers and runners than usual. They all wear the look of determination to make good with their New Year’s health resolutions.
Do you feel the same way?
Well, thanks to the positive spirit of the New Year we can turn around all these bitter feelings of regret and transform them into hopeful possibilities by asking ourselves the following questions:
1. What do you like to eat and why?
2. How much of it do you eat? Do you eat in moderation, or for as long as there’s food and room in you?
3. How does a particular food make you feel? Does it cause allergies, or make you sick in some way? Does it make you feel sluggish, or keep you energized through the day?
4. What is your relationship with food? Do you eat only when you’re hungry? Do you eat to feel happy? Do you see eating as an adventure, where you explore new flavors and discover different cultures?
5. Do you care about what you eat? According to lifestyle and spiritual gurus, we should treat our body as a temple and preserve it for its higher functions. Eating is a very intimate process that affects our health and well-being. Do you care what stuff you put into your body?
6. How fast or slow do you eat? Studies have shown that eating slowly and lingering around the table after a meal is good for the heart. Conversely, bolting your food causes indigestion. Yes, eating hurriedly with little chewing causes stress, therefore increasing the risk of heart disease. So sit back, relax, gently sip your tea and have a little conversation!
7. What do you do before your meal? While most of us like to take pictures before meals these days, there are still many of us who still carry the habit of praying before eating. This ritual allows us to express gratitude for the abundance that we enjoy and lets God bless the food we are about to partake of so that it will be safe to eat, it will nourish our bodies and keep us healthy.
8. Do you share food? Food is best enjoyed with others – our family, our friends, our guests. But have you tried sharing food with strangers? Candies (and a bottle of drinking water) for the hardworking traffic aide will give him more energy to work amidst the heat and pollution. A leftover sandwich handed out to a street kid will ease her hunger. Treating old folks to a party with spaghetti, rice cakes and cold sweet drinks at my favorite home shelter will always be one of my most memorable birthdays. It made these abandoned lolos and lolas feel loved and like children again. Charity provides us a different sense of satisfaction – it is good food for the soul.
With all willpower, let’s do our best to be mindful of these reflections as we go through the year. So that when the holidays and the next life celebrations come, we won’t feel too guilty. We can do this together if we remember to eat with love, gratitude and thoughtfulness, always. Happy New Year!