By Eileen Sherman PhD, MBA, BS, RN
Though it may not seem like it, the concepts of food and love are actually quite tied to one another. I believe that preparing food for someone is an intimate act of love! Even just this morning, I came downstairs to make a cup of coffee, and I found that my love had left me a small but powerful cartoon depiction of a man enjoying his partner’s cooking with the caption “Love is…”
Love and Food in the Media
Cooking and food have served as symbols of love throughout history. Great minds have used the very visual and tangible example of cooking as a metaphor for loving someone. The Columnist Harriet van Horne once said, “Cooking is like Love: It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” The work and selflessness it takes to produce good food are much like what it takes to nurture love and relationships.
And not only is the concept of cooking a great metaphor for love but cooking itself is also an act of love. Alan D. Wolfelt said, “Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” Cooking for someone is not only a kind deed, but it can be an act of sharing oneself. And as the Playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “There is no love sincerer than the love of sharing food.” Look at how the idea of a “romantic dinner” became the standard setting for courtship in the media. And we can’t forget what Dolly Parton said, “My weaknesses have always been food and men.”
There is no question that food and love share a very close symbiotic relationship. So, what does this have to do with health and life coaching? Let me try to explain.
5 Love Languages and Food
Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book entitled: The 5 Love Languages. Although it was published in 1995, it has become increasingly popular over the past few years, especially to health and life coaches who specialize in relationship building—a key component in positive health and life. According to Dr. Chapman, the 5 Love Languages highlight the way we feel loved and want to be loved. Based on our personality, we want to be loved, and often, differently than our partners do. So it’s important to discover what your primary love language is as well as your partner’s needs and expectations. Otherwise, you’ll each remain a mystery to each other. While food is not a specific love language per se, I would suggest that food does fall under each of the 5 languages defined by Chapman. In fact, not only does food transcend all the Love Languages, it appeals to all of our 5 senses. The 5 Love languages outlined by Chapman are:
Think about the nature of how food appeals to all 5 of our senses. We often take these senses for granted; what we hear, see, taste, touch, and smell come naturally and so we tend to ignore how much our senses play a role in health, life, and love. Reconnecting with your senses through food and cooking something special for yourself and a loved one really is truly an example of self-care—reconnecting with yourself in the bigger picture. This concept of self-care is critically important in successful health and life coaching, and it is often the missing ingredient that keeps you stuck in old habits and practices. In reconnecting with your senses through food, you begin to reconnect with yourself and are more aware of timing, purpose, and direction. Life seems a bit less chaotic and balanced. You begin to regain an attitude of gratitude for yourself, and those you love. You to notice what you can appreciate—like good food and great love!!
And there it is: Love thru Food. Enjoy!!!!
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