Friday, February 1, 2008

A Reason to Break Bread Together

I ate lunch alone today. My son was spending a day with a sitter so I could get some school work done, but I had a work lunch date that didn't show, so it was just me and I was actually pretty sad to be all by myself. I was reminded of some amazing information that I read in Sarah Buckley's book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, about love hormones and how they affect us emotionally and physically both during and after birth. The same hormones that are produced during labor and nursing are also produced while sharing a meal with a friend or loved one.
This goes beyond birth in many ways because in today's fast pace of society, we don't often have time to just sit, share and enjoy...things that we do when we are nursing or sharing a meal. Sure we eat, usually fast and without much thought to what we are putting into our mouths. But do we really enjoy most of the food we consume these days? How often do we potluck, finding ourselves laughing over warm bowls of soup and homemade bread. Finishing over cups of chai tea or hot cocoa. How often do we have the time?
I think to truly share a meal is to put yourself into the food and then reap the benefits of presenting that meal and watching it be consumed with pleasure and zeal...much like a baby nursing at the breast and very much like a mother putting heart, soul and energy into birthing a baby that they then take in with all of their heightened senses;absorbing every smell, movement and sound with unending pleasure.
This is not new information.
I have often wondered about the traditional American diet of meat and potatoes. How it could sustain multiple generations without problems of obesity or diabetes or keep young men during wars healthy and fit, though lacking in vitamin c and other long term essentials. Jerky and hard tack can keep a person alive for a long time if necessary, and with very little ill effect.
Then there is the typical European diet, lots of bread, cheese and red wine, consumed by a population that far surpasses the US in health and vitality, and recently made popular by the book "French Women Rarely Get Fat." Yes, we eat more processed foods now; Yes, we get less exercise, both of these are significant changes. What we have lost most though, over the period of industrialization, is The Family Meal. Not even to mention the need for mothers to have time to spend with friends just being.
Family, Friends, Food. The 3 F's.
The pace of our lives gaining in speed is analogous to the pace of our births. We are rushed into and out of our lives. Perhaps, because of this lack of time, we are missing out on some of the essentials that make us human. Will those hormones continue on through future generations if we no longer take the time to welcome them and put them to good use?


simplemama said...

I just saw this 'latest' post. Thank you for it, I sometimes wonder if I overthink meal time. There are times I also wonder if it would be easier to just pretend like I don't care; just pop in some sort of processed-ready-made dinner an wa-la: instant family meal with so much stress and clean up. But, then I guess we'd be wasting time being sick eventually when we could be having fun being healthy together. :)

nicole said...

hi, there. :) I just came across your blog, from your web site, and am so happy to have done so. I am living in wichita, too, and am about to begin my postpartum doula training through DONA. what luck to find a companion in the area. do take good care!

Erin said...

Blog. Blog, woman! I love hearing what you have to say :)

Kneelingwoman said...

I just discovered that you are "following" my blog so I thought I would come over and see yours! Very nicely done and good stuff too! I'm very pleased to see that you are an "Ancient Arts" student; it's a very good program! Are you nearly done with your apprenticeship? Let me know if I can be of any help to you at any time. Yours, Kneelingwoman