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The Joy of Eating

Oh, boy…I can just hear you readers screaming now; “What?!!! Mack Newton’s writing about the “Joy of Eating”! You must be kidding me! Isn’t this the same guy who’s always dissing bread, salt, sugar and almost anything else that tastes good? Isn’t he the one who was trying to get caffeine re-classified as a prescription drug? And now he’s writing an article about the joy of eating….you must be joking!!” Ok, I probably deserve some of that, but you guys have to admit that my heart has always been in the right place. I’ve always been interested in helping people become as healthy as possible, for as long as possible.

One of the main reasons I work out so hard and so consistently is that it allows me to eat almost anything I want and almost as much of it as I want. Why? Because I love to eat! I love food! I love everything about food…I love the way it looks…I love the way it smells…and I really love the way it tastes. I’ve always felt that food was one of the three great gifts from God to all of us to stimulate our senses, the other two being music and dance. Yes, you heard me right. To me, food is much more that just nutrition for the body, it’s nutrition for your mind and your soul. I reward myself with food all the time. If I’ve been a good boy and taught my classes as I should and I’ve done a good job all week, maybe my reward is dinner at my favorite Chinese restaurant. Sometimes the visual of a juicy ribeye steak coming off the grill and being served with some fabulous baked asparagus, lightly sprayed with olive oil and just a hint of fresh, cracked black pepper over the top, with a few grape tomatoes ringing the plate is enough to get me through a tough workout. Hmmm, that does sound pretty good, doesn’t it? See what I mean? You could picture it, couldn’t you? Almost smell it, right? Is your mouth watering yet? If it is, it’s time to eat!!

All that talk about calories, fat grams, glycemic indexes, carbohydrates, blah, blah, blah sterilizes food to a point where we feel we’re just eating to stay alive. There’s a lot more to it then that… there’s got to be! There’s got to be some joy. This is not an argument against eating right, I’m just saying that there’s room for both…to enjoy fabulous food, plenty of it and stay healthy at the same time. This is where your knowledge of food and what’s in it comes into play. After you’ve done your due diligence, educated yourself, it’s time to get down to some serious eating.

When I see people eating in their cars, eating while they walk around on the go, all I can do is shake my head in amazement. These people don’t know how much joy they’re missing out on by eating that way, or they just don’t care. My advice is simple…make a ceremony out of every meal, even a simple meal. Never eat standing up. Never eat while driving or otherwise occupied. Take the time to sit down and make a ceremony of the meal and feel the joy. After the meal is served, take a moment to experience it visually and savor the aroma before you dig in. Don’t rush yourself while eating…slow down so you can taste the delicate flavor of rosemary or the incredible taste of chopped basil over sliced vine-ripened tomatoes with just a ribbon of balsamic vinegar over the top. Are you ready to eat yet? When you do that,you’re feeling the joy of eating.

Food and eating should never have any guilt attached to it. You should always feel good after a good meal. If you feel guilty after eating, maybe you’re eating for the wrong reasons. It could be that you’re eating to punish yourself for what you saw as inappropriate behavior in another part of your life. Maybe you were binge eating. Whatever. So, in those cases it’s not the food you need to change, but your attitude towards food needs to change. Food is never the bad guy…food is our friend.

All this talk about food is making me hungry and it’s just about time for me to eat. When I sat down to write this piece, I promised myself that if I finished it in one sitting, I could reward myself with a special meal tonight. And, I did it. I went to AJ’s on Sunday and picked up three center-cut pork chops. I’m going to sauté those in apple cider for about 3 minutes per side, remove and set aside while I reduce the apple cider to a sauce. Replace the chops for another 2 minutes a side until done. I call these the Mack-Daddy apple-chops. I serve them with the fabulous baked asparagus I mentioned earlier. I have a special applesauce I make with real baked apples run through a potato ricer that finishes the job. Sound good? It sounds good to me. Well, I’d love to hang around with you guys, but my mouth is watering, I’m hungry and I’m ready to eat. Like I said…feel the joy…the joy of eating…and that’s what I’m taking ‘bout! I’m out.

Mack Newton

Copyright Mack Newton. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of the author.