About a year ago, I was fortunate to catch up with my friend and culinary visionary Deborah Madison today. Deb helped me develop a food concept that enables us to pairing produce by flavor versus nutrition. So if you like sweeter foods, then sweeter vegetables and fruit may be more logical choices for you. Anyway, Deb and I started talking about taking spin class. She is a newbie spin enthusiast and I am a returning “spinner,” supplementing my love for road biking in the off-season. Deb talked about how this rigorous form of exercise has reshaped her food choices.
Now you’d think this James Beard award-winning chef-author would be pretty well in touch with her palate. Rest assured, she is. (She is also as beautiful a gardener as chef). But what she was talking about was the fact that this sweat-drenching exercise touched her at a deep level that seemed to wake up her carnal, or maybe genetic need for certain foods. So some days she’d get off the bike and would not need to eat for hours.
Other days, she’d want a simple tortilla-based breakfast (She’s in New Mexico!). Other days, for dinner she needed meat. Note the word “needed” versus “wanted.” And trust me, there would be plenty of fruit of veggies accompanying any choice Deb makes.
What Deb is referring to, is connecting to an inherent desire choose foods that are deeply nourishing. It’s as if your body, or your soul or your genes or your cells are telling you “this is what you need to eat so we can do our work.” And this deep connection is what so many Americans are missing and why our nourishment compasses are simply “off.” Many of us are fundamentally disconnected from what deeply nourishing and flavorful foods taste like. Our palates have been obliterated or de-sensitized by highly processed foods that have been artificially flavored, salted or sweetened. Our senses have been dulled or manipulated by flavor mimics or intruders that manifest as “nourishment,” like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
I maintain that the further we digress from whole food fundamentals, the more detached we are from the innate needs of our bodies. Once we tune back in to ourselves, through whatever means we need to, our innate nourishment signals become clear. Our body has a unique ability to heal itself, but requires the critical nourishment building blocks and observant self-care. When we listen to our bodies, we awaken the deep connection to nourishing fulfillment.
Amanda Archibald, is a culinary-nutritionist (R.D.) and Founder of Field to Plate. She teaches the visionary Hearth to Health series. E: Amanda@fieldtoplate.com Tel 301.865.4607