The third in our series that explores the importance of food and cooking for creating positivity during uncertainty, our guest Nino Asaro describes how the emotional connection we have to food and the kind of food we eat can bring us joy.

One morning, you wake up. Perhaps with the right foot, or for better, the right mindset, you go through your day with an excessive sense of satisfaction. Living is a Joy, and you have embraced every aspect of it. We have all felt those times. Days filled with joy, happiness and content. Such days might have been linked to a celebration, a positive shock or personal meditation. Some of us might say our stars were aligned, while others might embrace its spontaneous nature. 

While there is no one secret formula to have a joyful day, cooking has helped humans rejoice. Whether it was a caveman finding a prey after days of starving, a Roman patrician showing off his power through a luxurious banquet or my neighborhood having roasting a chicken with his family, food brings us joy. Many religious practices sacrifice fruits, animals and nuts to honor the higher gods. We have an emotional connection to food that it’s stronger than one might think. Food becomes a way of thanking life and appreciating our role in it. Food is a way of sharing our affections. It sustains our minds and body. Let’s think! Most of you reading this blog will probably not worry about where your next meal is coming from, and if so you should take a moment to meditate and appreciate such privilege. Access to food, and especially healthy, nutritious food, destroys insecurities. 

Thus joy can differ based on the food we choose.  A study conducted at San Diego State University Trans fatty acid intake and emotion regulation shows a high positive correlation between the intake of fast food and emotional instability. But on the opposite hand, a healthy, diverse diet can improve our emotional well being.  Do you recall that time you added a very heavy dinner? Were you satisfied? Did you feel joyful?. In most cases the answer will be “YES”. However, how did you feel waking up the next morning? Definitely the right foot did not want to wake up. There you go! Food is one of the most powerful elements of human nature. While it’s important to occasionally indulge in a very heavy, buttery dinner, we should also realize that our food choices can change our mood. 

We are bombarded with the words Mediterranean Diet, and how people along these coasts seem to enjoy a happier life. Apart from the food, the secret word is: LIFESTYLE. It’s not a diet. A diet implies that a person has prescribed you something. A wide variety of green vegetables, with an abbondanza of legume and perhaps a side of swordfish anointed with some extra virgin olive oil should not be vandalized with the word 'diet'. Diet is an extremely negative way to describe something so joyful, spontaneous and human. Tonight, or tomorrow, or whenever we interact with food, those of us lucky to have a choice, let’s make a correct one. Joy comes and goes, but we can help increase its chances of coming!! Buon Joyful Appetito.

You can follow Nino on instagram here and enjoy his recipes and positive food stories for yourself.

Don’t miss Nino’s next blog in our Cooking Though Uncertainty series coming soon….

Written by: Nino Asaro.


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