Why We Eat: Social Health
Food consumption impacts not only our physical health but also our social stability. When it comes to our physical health in general we are aware that food provides water, energy (macronutrients), micronutrients and fiber. However, we are less focused on the way’s food consumption affects our social stability. Communal meals provide for communication, social health, emotional health, history and/or traditions. Food is essential to our overall well being. We are how we eat not just what foods we eat.
Whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner sitting down to a home cooked meal creates environment that fosters communication. Growing up some of my fondest memories were the times spent with my family eating, talking, laughing and sometimes crying. Food and talking seem to go hand in hand. People tend to open up emotionally when sharing food. In several pediatric studies it was found that eating meals together can benefit young people in a family from the youngest to the eldest. Family mealtime offers routine and consistency. These two things provide an opportunity to socialize teaching young people by helping build good communication skills, manners, nutritional habits and good eating habits.
Emotional health is something that we all strive for in this chaotic world. Breaking bread with family and friends allows us the time to nurture our emotional needs. The social atmosphere of communal meals results in closer bonds with family and friends. Multiple studies show that communal meals has a positive impact on eating healthier and self esteem. We have stated many times here at Gastronomer that food is history and tradition. The wine that grows grapes can be well over 50 years old. The Tagines of Morocco have been used for hundreds of years handed down from mother to daughter. Here in Italy family recipes are guarded like national secrets and every family, city and region has their own unique twist. The food you serve to your family and friends is reflective of who you are and how you feel about them. A home cooked meal no matter how simple always says, ‘love’ to the people whom matter in your life. We do not live to cook but cook so that we can live.
Cook, share and love fellow Gastronomers.
Golay, Jenny. Food for Growth: An In-home Nutrition Education Curriculum for Preschoolers. Santa Rosa, CA: Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County, 1981. Print.
Koehler, Jeff. Morocco: A Culinary Journey with Recipes from the Spice-scented Markets of Marrakech to the Date-filled Oasis of Zagora. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle, 2012. Print.
Larson, Reed, Kathryn R. Branscomb, and Angela R. Wiley. Family Mealtime as a Context of Development and Socialization. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006. Print.