In 2021, we’re focusing on joy. After the year we’ve had, cultivating and celebrating small moments of happiness as they come has never felt more cathartic, life-affirming, and essential to lasting well-being. In the coming weeks, we’re going to laugh, experience new things, and revamp stale aspects of daily life. Come back each day for a new “Resolution Joy” installment, where you’ll find inspiration and expert-backed advice, free classes, and dare-we-say fun activities.
I was listening to a podcast recently when three words resonated in my ears: “Food is life.” For me, this simple phrase spoke to the importance of my field, nutritional psychiatry. The message was clear: what, when, and why you eat is critically important; but above all else, it’s essential to respect and enjoy your food.
So many people are preoccupied by calories, grams of protein, or whether to become vegan. As a nutritional psychiatrist, I remain diet agnostic, especially for patients who seek to improve their mental well-being. In my experience, a healthy eating style is less about sticking to a specific diet and more about simply doing your best to make better food choices. So whether my patients are carnivores or vegans, I remain open to helping them eat better for their mental health.
It’s important to remember that nutrition is a marathon and not a sprint—any positive habit you adopt is helping you on your way to better overall mental and physical health. Everyone can elevate their food game, and we all have to start somewhere.
Now, back to that “food is life” sentiment: One of the best steps you can take towards healthier eating is finding more joy in food and cooking. It’s not challenging to improve your experience with food—it merely requires paying better attention to your body and mind. Here are a few things that help personally ground me in the joy of food and nutrition, which may benefit you, too: