Purpose of a Meal

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2012/05/16 by nikkiledford

Eat these

Food is a tricky thing. It’s most basic function is to fuel and nourish our bodies. We eat because we need to live. And in order to live well, we must eat things that are good for our bodies. A secondary function is taste. We eat things that taste good. Food is used as fuel, but it also is used as a reward. Our brain sends out “pleasure” signals when we eat something yummy!  We often get in trouble when we prioritize the reward function over the fueling function. For this reason, it’s important to eat food that is both delicious and nutritious. Food’s third function is a social one. Meals, traditionally, have been used to join people together. For centuries, a meal was a communal practice from killing the animal, to preparation, and into the actual consumption. Our food culture has shifted away from the communal aspect of the meal; i.e. eating in the car, at the kitchen counter, at your desk, etc.

It’s not difficult to see that our society has it ALL WRONG, when it comes to our food culture. We eat things that taste good but don’t provide us with adequate food. We eat fast and alone most of the time. Our food supply is greatly deficient in quality. It’s no wonder we’re all fat and sick.


  1. Food is fuel
  2. Healthy food can be delicious
  3. Food is social

Food is Fuel

And we’re not just talking mere calories. Nutrient density is a big portion of the fueling process. Eat a bunch of cereal; you are not fueling yourself properly. Same if you eat apples all day. Our body needs a variety of healthy natural foods in specific amounts. There is a balance. Just because it’s good for you doesn’t mean you should over consume it. We also  need quality foods instead of crappy ones as well as restraint to stop eating when we are full. Overeating healthy foods is still overeating.

Food is Delicious

It doesn’t have to be this way!

Sure, a piece of cake may sound tasty right now, but have you ever given your taste buds a chance to change? Try this for 30 days: no processed food and no sugar (including honey, dates, maple syrup, etc.). I’m not even talking about a Paleo challenge, just take out the really basic stuff. Watch how your tastes change. Carrots become incredibly sweet, berries and other fruits even more so. And once you finish… go ahead and try that cake. Chances are you’ll spin-off into a sugar coma. That stuff is no good. The point is, if we give our bodies a chance to actually feel good by removing toxic foods from our diet, our tastes will change. Healthy food is delicious. Check out some of my recipes.  They don’t suck. I promise.

Food is Social

Ah, those crazy Romans

If not social, at least it’s meant to be enjoyed (even if you’re by yourself). Scarfing down every meal at the counter or in your car is no way to enjoy food. I’m just as guilty as the next person of this. I chew like a duck… meaning, I don’t. So I have to consciously make an effort to chew my food and avoid malabsorption and gut irritation from huge chunks of food hitting my digestive tract. If you do have other people in your life (like family, friends, coworkers), try your hardest to enjoy your meals with them. Sit down. Have a conversation. This will automatically slow down your eating (unless you’re one of those people who likes to talk with your mouth full… not recommended). Invite people over for dinner. Share your food. Expose yourself and others to new types of foods. Go out for ethnic food once a week and see how people eat around the world!

This is meant to encourage you to not only fuel yourself properly, but also to start enjoying the food you eat. We need to start making time for our health; physical and emotional. By prioritizing the food you eat, where you eat it, and how you prepare it, you will see your health improve in all areas.


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INGREDIENTS // one of my favorite activities is going out for coffee. For me, the sights, sounds, and smells of a coffee shop signal rest and I enter into a state of slowing down, more observing and less doing. Lately, I haven't been out to coffee too often because 1. It's expensive and 2. I don't tolerate dairy and I'm not much of a black coffee drinker so at most shops I'm limited to their dairy-free options. While it's nice to have nut milks available, I have discovered that all the other ingredients in these alternative drinks do NOT do my body any good. 
A solution to would be to bring my own homemade milk, but I don't always have some ready or I forget to put a bit in a small container (which then gives me the fun task of toting around a dirty jar in my car all day). These smaller bottles of almond milk are perfect for adding to my coffee when I'm out as most dairy-free milks come in huge cartons and are inconvenient for a coffee outing.  @popandbottle only uses basic, real food ingredients for their almond milk. They even sweeten it with a bit of date! 
I like to think that I always have a choice about what I put in my body. Sometimes I'll have to settle for black coffee, but if I plan a bit, I can still enjoy my coffee outings without ultimately compromising on what is best for me in the long run. SNACKS // kept it really simple today during meal prep. This is a tasty bowl of yams, banana, almond butter, and coconut flakes. FAST FOOD// Roasted all these veggies last night for a tasty quick lunch. Added a new find from Whole Foods. @goodlovinfoods lemon garlic dip. If you like bitchen sauce, you'll like this (!! bonus, they don't use any soy ingredients either !!) ROUTINE// Who else is meal prepping today? It's a small step that has big impact on your health... body and mind. One less stress to consider in a week full of choices and obstacles. #paleomealprep #sandiegoprivatechef #sandiegopaleo

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