Did you know that we begin to digest our food before the first bite ever even touches our lips? Using our senses to cook and eat our meals triggers an enzymatic response in our bodies to get ready to eat. This means that our bodies use our food more efficiently as fuel as well as we simply enjoy our meals more. More enjoyment of our food means increased satiety from less food, better digestion, and a boost in health markers. Multi-sensory eating also allows us to listen to our bodies a bit more closely. Food color, smell, and texture prompt instinctual responses regarding what we think we’ll like and won’t like. Additionally, checking in with ourselves and using all of our senses to eat allows us to identify when we’re truly full, not just when our plates are empty – breaking the cycle of over-eating.
The best way to dive into full sensory eating is by celebrating each of your meals and sort of setting the stage. Check-in with each of your senses. Does your mouth water at the first whiff of garlic and butter? Is the plate visually appealing with a combination of several colors from the rainbow? Are there multiple textures to feel in every bite? Does the *snip, snap, crunch* of the farm-fresh produce indicate to you the level of freshness (and therefore nutrient-denseness)? Believe it or not, paying attention to each one of these sensory details has incredible health benefits, from increased satiety to a decrease in overall cortisol production within your body and additional hormonal balancing. Carrying this sensory trend a bit further is the meal setting. Are you sharing your meal with your loved ones, eating slowly, and enjoying the entire process? Or are you quickly eating in the car or in front of the tv? The second option definitely increases the levels of cortisol within your body, which decreases your ability to properly digest your food and has been shown to lead to health complications such as insulin resistance, increased cholesterol, and higher blood pressure.
Moral of the story? Take your time and enjoy your meal. Some ideas to help you enjoy the meal in front of you (no matter how fancy or plain) include: set your table, listen to relaxing music, invite some friends over, eat slowly and intentionally, lower the lighting – anything that relaxes you and reminds you to eat slowly and savor every bite. You’ll never look at a bowl of cereal the same way!
Interested in incorporating more multi-sensory eating into your life? Join us for our Native Plate Series at Woodside Farms! One Saturday every month we’ll be inviting a local chef to share with us creative ways to incorporate farm-fresh produce into our menus. The first of our series will be with farmer and chef, Devon Hammer. You may recognize Devon from the work he’s been doing on the farm here at Woodside, but Saturday, September 25th you’ll also be able to join him in the barn kitchen as he creates a few delicious dishes for you to enjoy and will show you how you can create them at your own home too! Check out the Eventbrite page or our website if you think you may be interested – tickets are required. We’re so excited to bring these events to the farm table and can’t wait to share them all with you.