So here I am, a psychotherapist, why am I writing about food? Surely you’ve got enough to cope with on the food front without me weighing in? I guess it seems to me that there are some common ideas about eating that don’t help our health and happiness and I wanted to share with you what I have learned over the years from my clients.
I love food and I love my clients. I don’t like to see them unhappy and not uncommonly it’s food that’s making them unhappy. You don’t have to have an eating disorder to stand in front of the fridge mentally dividing the contents into ‘good’ (yoghurt) and ‘bad’ (ice cream). (You will have noticed that the food ads play into the same splitting with their ‘naughty but nice’). Listen to the conversation inside for a moment. Not only is the food you want either good or bad. You may find you are labelling parts of yourself good or bad according to what they want. Okay, let’s stop right here! Splitting things into good and bad is the foundation of so much suffering and, like the man said, stuffed full of good intentions which lead straight to more suffering yet. Whenever we decide to be ‘good’ it is just a matter of time before the ‘naughty’ one within throws its toys out of the pram.
So instead of good and bad, I want to introduce you to the idea of kindness around your food. All food is good. All of you is good. Change begins with love. Love from you to you. Love from you to the planet. I’ll come back to this next time but for now, food time!
What better recipe could we turn to for our first experiment with love than Prosciutto Melone – a wonderful treat for all the senses that involves no cooking at all but a lot of love. You will see there is also a VEGETARIAN version and in this blog there always will be.
Prosciutto or Formaggio Melone. You can have this for lunch if you’re trying to lose weight or as part of a bigger meal. I have even been known to have it for breakfast. Make sure you cut the melon into reasonably thin slices because it looks prettier. Have as many as you like.
Small, sweet, ripe melon. Cantaloupe, Galia or Charentais. Salty, sexy ham. Traditionally cured like Parma ham (crudo) rather than cooked (cotto). If you don’t eat meat, turn to your favourite and saltiest cheese cut in wafer thin slices. Ricotta salata (ricotta with salt) is a hard cheese which you can get from Ocado and other places. Halloumi you can get everywhere. Choosing and arranging your ham or cheese and melon with love is part of respecting what you eat and respecting yourself. (In my book it is also an honouring of the people whose labour brought you the food and the animal who gave up its life.) And that’s the happy discovery : respecting yourself turns out to mean that you respect the planet and its inhabitants. The two go together.
Would you like to feel more self-esteem? Start by treating yourself as though you are worth time and trouble. Wait for the melon to get ripe – you can smell melon when it is ripe. Go somewhere where they’ll cut the cheese or the prosciutto for you, if you have time. It’ll be fresher that way. Choose a lovely plate and lay the table. Is it getting dark? Light a candle.
Make yourself an Aperol Spritz and bask in the loveliness.