Food – essential fuel for the body (see Hannah’s recommended program if you’ve had too much and need to take control. She can help you understand macros, micros and everything in between. She will get you feeling lean, clean, healthy and fit!) But whist yes, food is our physical energy source I love how it can almost be a spiritual energy source – it’s such a great way to bring people together, it gets us talking, sharing time.
Unfortunately studies indicate that this modern age we live in has us eating alone and often on the run as we try to keep up with the demands of life. We know the downside of the irregular eating that can be part of our day – poor food choices, eating too fast (contributing to weight gain), alienation and isolation as we eat in the office/car/alone at home as the family goes solo with the pressures of extracurricular activities for kids and long hours for mum/dad.
But making time to eat together has many benefits – very social, a time to catch up, de-brief, chat over the day/week, share details about life’s events, etc. …but interestingly there is also some suggestion that literally sharing food with others does more for us. The act of communal sharing of food where everyone brings something along and shares with others is thought to boost altruistic behaviours. Seemingly we are more likely to ensure others go first or be mindful of making sure we don’t take too much it. We are more likely to embrace trying out new dishes/flavours/food experiences. This creates curiosity and connects us on different levels and gives us the opportunity to explore beyond our boundaries.
In Australia we call this concept “bring a plate” (when I first moved here I literally thought this statement meant bring a plate – on which to eat – I had the idea that maybe people didn’t own enough crockery.) But now of course I understand this means bring a plate of food that can be shared.
Just the other night I was invited to one such event. I experienced a fabulous feast courtesy of a new friend of mine. What came with the invitation was an opportunity to connect with new people from a predominately Indian heritage, and the absolute pleasure of experiencing a tantalising colour and taste sensation that was prepared by experienced hands. I tasted traditional homemade Indian fare, with a much talked about Biriyani sensation taking centre stage. Sharing space and food got us all interacting, finding out about each other, and that connection gave way to a willingness to experience more Indian culture – think “Bollywood” style dancing, laughter and pure friendly fun. Overall a fabulous impromptu evening that brought an eclectic group of people together to enjoy the simple pleasures of life – food, music, laughter and good company! All contributed to a lifting of the spirits, an endorphin boost and a sense that “we should do this more often”. In this day and age where life is so busy this sort of community gathering is great for recharging the social battery and just feeling good in the moment.
So my advice next time you are invited to a picnic or other “bring a plate” event – go – have fun. Enjoy the sense of well-being that you are sure to experience – oh and don’t forget my invitation too!
For more on the benefits of food sharing Click here