Recently I read a post from Humans of New York (HONY) about a blind woman. Here it is:
“When I’m home, nobody will talk to me. It’s like I am dead. I don’t like quiet because I have nothing. So I ride the train into the city. Compared to home, the city is like heaven. There are a million people you can ask for help. I love the smell of food. Right now I’m trying to memorize my way to Carnegie Hall. I like to go to theatres and museums where my mind can be nourished. Sometimes I can hear tourists talking about the exhibits. Sometimes I hear college students talking to each other and it makes me feel younger. It makes me feel like I’m still alive in this world.”
I follow HONY regularly and make sure I read every post to gain a little insight in to the human race. This particular story touched me as it reinforces the powerful role food has in our lives. “I love the smell of food” (Who doesn’t?) “I like to go to theatres and museums where my mind can be nourished.” Even our senses and minds need to be nourished!
Food brings people together and ignites our senses. Birth, death, marriage, birthdays, Christmas, Easter and other occasions are focused around food. Many hours are spent organising, planning and preparing the food for these occasions creating wonderful memories and bonding with each other as humans. This woman sought the smell of food outside her home to make her feel alive, bond with other humans and feel like a part of society.
We see many clients who are in a similar situation to the lady from HONY, however they are not blind. They are part of a family unit who are disengaged with each other and spend every evening lonely, even though they are not alone. We see teenagers who retreat to their room every night because there is no one to engage in conversation with at dinner time. We have young kids asking us to tell their parents to stay off the phone at dinner time. We see a lack of family routine when it comes to eating dinner, leading to a fracture in family communication and bonding. This can lead to fussy eating habits and anxiety in children as they have no one to talk to about their day, whether it be good or bad.
Let food be the link to re-open the communication within your family again. Use it to nourish their minds. Look at the routine you have each evening with your family and look at the memories you are creating. Are you creating healthy memories for your family? And by healthy, I mean mentally healthy. We want to instil a good relationship with food in our kids, not one full of memories of loneliness and isolation. Get them involved in the planning, preparation and cleaning up of dinner, no matter how young they are. Allow them to help choose what is cooked for dinner and then let them help to shop for and cook that dinner. Allow them to be heard, cherished and included.
Nourish your family and make them feel alive in this world; nutritionally, physically and emotionally. Make dinner time, family time so they have a sense of belonging and not the desire to seek outside stimulation and communication. Nourish your family every day.
Written by Lisa Stegena, Nutritionist
Nutrition Force is a Western Australian based company of Nutritionists and Accredited Practising Dietitians that offer weight loss programs, private dietetic consultations, children’s nutrition & dietetics, school nutrition and Corporate Wellness programs. If you would like more information on our Perth Dietitians and the other services we offer call us today on (08) 9385 7755.