Reasons to Eat
Updated: Oct 16
On the surface, it's a silly title. But what if you could be happier and more fulfilled simply by being open to there being more than one answer.
I've always been one to seek out new, different and interesting places to eat. I never questioned why, and, well, it's never been very important. But if you're complacent or bored with what you've been eating day after day, year after year, see if any of these capture your interest and cause you to try something different to eat tomorrow.
1) I'm hungry
Of course. The desire to continue living, stave off a headache, or the monster that comes out when I don't eat for too long!
2) It's convenient
This is the happiness killer. Eating what's close by, easy to make, or what I'm used to. Necessary sometimes, but for me, I consider it a fall back only if any of the next 5 reasons are too inconvenient.
3) I'm craving something
An easy happiness builder. If I crave something, it becomes worth going out of my way for. I might have to drive to get it. It might take extra time. It might take longer to cook. But to not be willing to do those things means denying myself happiness. I'm willing to do what it takes to be happy. Because really, if I save a half hour by eating what's convenient, will I really have put that half hour to better use?
4) I can expand my available choices
When I try a new dish, a new food, a new fruit--there's a chance I won't like it. The potential risk is that I won't be able to actually eat it, but most often it just means I may have liked something else better. What's lost is just one meal, or one fruit, or a few dollars. How much of a big deal is that really? But the potential upside when I like it is that is now have one more good choice available for every future meal (aka more chances to increase happiness). And if I love it, there's so many upsides--happiness, more foods to crave, and of course the ability to share your new find with friends on Facebook, Instagram and wherever!
"But I'm not an adventurous eater." You don't have to be --neither am I. I don't try foods that are too "weird", too "risky", too slimy, or too whatever. But I do try to push my comfort zone by 10% when I have the option. When I try just 10% outside my comfort zone, there's not much to be afraid of. The risk is lower. And I've been surprised and rewarded enough times to be well worth it.
5) I learn
As a Caucasian American, growing up in the Midwest, I grew up on good middle of the road food. I was happy and content. But having traveled to so many regions of the US across all 50 states, and many countries, always trying foods 10% outside my comfort zone, what I now know about good foods is so much greater than what I knew 25 years ago! Cooking styles, spices, sauces, preparation, vegetables and fruits I never knew existed, that are as good and even better than what's at my local grocery, in my cookbooks, and recipes I learned from my family.
And with learning comes more choices, more chances for happiness, I can participate in more conversations with more people, and I can understand their perspectives better. I don't always have to agree with them, but being able to understand their perspective makes me more powerful. More on that in another post.
6) Maybe I can prolong my life
Sounds pie in the sky, but now that I have more options, I have more healthy options to choose from. I'm not a health food nut at all, and the local grocery's vegetables and salads get boring fast. But I have so many vegetable, fruit, food and cooking options available to me now by not following the same route every day, I can make healthier choices without sacrificing anything. I can distinguish bland-organic from delicious-organic, and recognize an amazing black-bean vegan burger compared to a boring veggie patty. In fact I think what I eat regularly now is tastier as well as healthier than what I ate 10 or 20 years ago.
7) I've discovered amazing foods and dishes
Ok, this is almost the same as #4, but it's one of my main drivers. To not only expand my choices but to find new favorite dishes, foods, recipes, makes me happier. When I can look forward to something delicious and flavorful, or can make something amazing instead of cooking the same ole' comfort food or sitting at my same table at the same restaurant all the time. Don't get me wrong, I have my favorite haunts, but I don't go there every week.
Try it, and let me know your experience in the comments.