The most common thing I hear and whisper to myself is that building routines and rituals around eating the way we want to eat is hard. HARD.
Here’s a little something that helps me, and seems to be helping my sons and daughters too.
I first read about limbic attachments (the way we build our habits around the things we do) years ago and I’ve remained curious.
We create limbic attachments that are either life giving like taking a walk, drinking water, or cooking a healthy meal OR coping mechanisms like scrolling social media, vegging out on Netflix and grabbing fast food. The good news is that both are created in the same way.
These attachments are created by the intensity of the experience and how often we participate in them.
Taking fast food as an example. Our regularity in building that habit is curated just as much by the experience, added sugar & fat, and intensity provided by how quick it is served or the toy that comes with it.
If that’s how our brain works and companies are making a killing, pun intentional, getting us hooked, could I use the same science and psychology to create attachments to preparing healthy meals with locally grown foods at home?
Here are a few ways I’ve done that:
-Keeping research, history, storytelling, beautiful cookbooks and my own personal notes on food and health in front of me.
-Lighting candles, burning incense, wearing comfortable clothes, playing music, using good knives and supporting local potters and artisans that create an “inner fire” to the experience.
-Reminding my family that we use calm and kind voices in the kitchen. It’s got to be sacred to be sustainable.
-Using spices, salts, sauces, and flavor to make our food taste good and memorable. Creating cravings in the good way.
We are a generation removed from healthy and home cooked food giving us life. We’ve lost the intensity and frequency, but we can get it back and feel good by doing so.
This is a portrait of Michelle Howell, a hardworking farmwife, mother of five, author, and advocate. On the left side of the bust you can read text from the poem “Anyway” that was on a wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India. “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.” “The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.”
Leslie Nichols, Artist