When talking about nutrition and healthy eating one of the common comments will be “but, eating is about pleasure”! Exactly, eating shall be pleasure. To be precise, eating shall also be pleasure.
I just wonder when and where the “nutrition part” in eating has gone missing? Focusing heavily on gustative pleasure and creative culinary expression – aren’t we neglecting nutritional concerns? We praise chefs for inventive excellence and artistic creations, yet, do we ever challenge them on dietary criteria? As Tom Jaine (British Editor of The Good Food Guide) said in the Daily Telegraph in 1989: “If cooking becomes an art form rather than a means of providing a reasonable diet, then something is clearly wrong.”
Over time we pushed creativity and inventiveness in the kitchen further and further. Chefs, for example, have developed haute cuisine into a heaven of personal imagination and refined originality. Indeed, it is impressive to see the most beautiful, extravagant and elaborate creations, or rather artworks, leave their kitchens. Artistry is the overriding paradigm, whereas food as essential nutrition has somehow disappeared.
And, yes, alternative and “healthy” eating – even today – often lacks appealing presentation and might taste bland. A bit of shredded carrots with a rather pale soy burger, so the story goes. At least, that is what we habitually have in mind… unappealing and boring an experience.
The point is that pleasure and healthy eating are not opposites, but can – and shall – go hand in hand! Even in case of a vegan lifestyle one can play endlessly with colors, textures, and the use of lesser known ingredients (for example chia seeds, hemp seeds, Irish moss, algae…). Techniques such as fermentation, dehydration, blending and coloring open the doors to the creation of healthy, appealing and beautiful food with healthy ingredients. Think about fermented nut cheese, creamy pasta dressing, airy chocolate creams and lemon cheese cake…
We just need to familiarize ourselves with different kitchen techniques and cooking principles, how to use popular or new ingredients and getting inspiration. Cooking classes, classy cook books (such as from the American chef Matthew Kenney), exiting eating out experiences (in restaurants like Pure Food & Wine in New York, Nama Foods in London, 42 degres in Paris – especially check the vegan “cheese” plate,…), and personalized nutrition/cooking education are good starting points. And yes, a basic understanding of nutrition and our body is helpful too! Learning about detrimental properties of certain food items, what they can do to our body, how to replace them, how to take better care our ourselves, how to feel fitter and more vibrant…
A new paradigm in eating is possible and slowly but steadily emerging: an equilibrated triangle of pleasure, artistic creativity and nutritional quality. As stated in the title… “Fusion cuisine reinvented”!
©The Vibrant Factory
About Stefan Lehner: Nutrition Coach & Educator based in Paris, available worldwide. He previously worked in management in an international corporation. Advocates the tremendous impact of food and lifestyle choices on our health and wellbeing. He puts his focus on durable transformations and challenges quick-fixing.
http://www.thevibrantfactory.com, on Facebook and Instagram