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Food: It’s a Universal Language and Universal Experience

By Keri Stoner-Davis, MS, RDN, LD // Apr 06, 2016

Confession – this is my first blog post I have ever written. This blog post may be a little too academic for some, but the bottom-line is that the teacher and coach inside of me always comes out in all that I do. It’s just who I am. Some say it is because I am the first-born – Some say it is because I am a red-head – I personally believe it is because I love what I do. I know that the teacher and coach always come out in me because food and nutrition are more than just what you eat. Food and nutrition affect and influence so many aspects of our lives – our health, our wellness, our physical strength, our emotions, our empathy and sympathy, our ability to heal, our social schedule, our relationships with friends and family, our celebrations. Food is a universal language that EVERYONE speaks, and food is a universal experience for EVERYONE.

As an instructor, a personal teaching philosophy guides what you want to teach and how you teach. It is a self-reflective statement of your beliefs and approach to teaching1. Over my years of practice as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I have formulated a philosophy that helps to define food, diet, and eating. I often mention many of these definitions when coaching individuals in trying to achieve their health related goals. I believe that understanding what influences eating patterns and food choices is simpler than most believe. It is through the understanding of these basic food and nutrition concepts that a change in the way you think about food is possible and you can achieve your health and wellness goals.

Nutrition – is something everyone knows at least a little, or a lot about; I’ve yet to find someone who does not have an interest in some area of nutrition. Diet – as defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is a food or drink regularly provided or consumed; or, habitual nourishment2. Based upon this definition, everyone is on a diet –A diet is simply the foods we eat on a daily basis. This is the definition that must be used as one begins to look at food differently, and begins to change their eating patterns and habits. What we eat (our diet) provides our bodies with the energy and nutrition it needs on a daily basis. Regardless, of why we eat or what we eat – everyone must eat and consume a daily diet. Food – basically defined, is something that everyone needs and is literally essential to life.

On the other hand, a foodie is someone who seeks new food experiences as a hobby, rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger3Eating – is how we physically obtain and consume nutrition. Dining – brings people together independent of their age, race, ethnicity, or gender.  It brings colleagues, co-workers, friends, family, and strangers together.  The eating and dining experiences also creates memories, bonds of friendship, and helps us unplug from our everyday life. Eating and dining can be pleasurable experiences, but also uncomfortable experiences. With this being said, nutrition is more than a diet and the foods we eat.  It is a social experience.  It is a shared experience.  It is an emotional experience.  We eat based upon our emotions, and eating evokes emotions.  But at the same time, eating brings comfort to our heart, minds, and bodies. We feed and provide food for ourselves and to others for a variety of reasons. We feed children to care for them.  We bring food to our friends and family who are sick. We feed our neighbors to help lend a helping hand.  e celebrate many, many special occasions with food. Providing food and feeding others is a way to communicate that we care, when we don’t always have the words to express what we want to say.

I started this blog with a confession, and I am going to end it with a confession – One of the reasons why I love being a teacher and coach is because I love to learn. The truth is I always learn more from the people who I am working with. As I am contemplating how I am going to expand my own horizons with teaching and coaching, I hope you are thinking about what will make you ready to change your habits in your lifestyle, health, and nutritional status. I look forward to what the future holds for everyone as we learn how to experience food and nutrition in our lives with more strategic, purposeful, mindful, and intentional habits.  Not only must we savor the flavors of food, but must savor the universal language and experience of food and nutrition that everyone speaks.

 

 

Sources:

  1. University of Minnesota: Center for Educational Innovation.  Retrieved from: http://cei.umn.edu/support-services/tutorials/writing-teaching-philosophy; Accessed on March 28, 2016.
  2. Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  Retrieved from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diet; Accessed on March 16, 2016.
  3. Wikipedia. Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foodie; Accessed on March 16, 2016.

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Filed Under: Nutrient-rich Eating, Mindful Eating, Healthy Lifestyle,

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