Go for Excellence

Insipid food for health, pressure from friends and being bored are just some of the reasons that people are eating and drinking all over the world right now. Reasons that don’t make sense, right? How wrong are these reasons and what ill effects are they going to have?The mind makes us do certain things that are not good for the body. How important is it then…….to control our minds.
Controlling to an extent that habits are made and ultimately we achieve states of excellence and perfection. After all, isn’t that what we all strive for?
Grimod de la Reyniere, the most celebrated gourmet of his day, author of “Almanach des Gourmands,” and a true blue authority on all matters culinary of the last century, said, “A true epicure can dine well on one dish, provided it is excellent of its kind.”
To ultimately achieve the excellence that we strive for, why not start with excellence in the foods that we eat. A true Epicurean is someone who believes that good living is not just high end or expensive living but simply – ” the things on the table are as elegant as the dishes in which they are served.” If all we have is just potatoes and salt ” let the salt be ground fine and the potatoes be white and mealy”. Let there be a window to excellence in our lives, where once you check in , you certainly are hooked.
If we were to assess a chef, we not only look for the technical aspect of the profession what with knowledge of food and hygiene, but the level of a chef goes completely to a new high if his outlook towards food is to the level of art and poetry. A fine chef is he who sees food as an expression of art. Such people create poetry in the kitchen through their creations and are rated as ‘Excellent’. Be it a béchamel sauce , simple sautéing of vegetables or just plain use of spices -they take it to an exciting level of goodness through precision and the love of food. Such people ,whether they are creators of a dish or just connoisseurs of it , see food as a gift of nature or a token of love and medicine from God. An Epicurean is just such a person.
I would think Epicurus, the Greek God of pleasure, must be so confounded seeing the current instant gratification fad and he may be shaking his head at those oblivious souls who think of themselves as ‘foodies’ with nothing really but just a large appetite. Yes, that’s exactly what I mean when I try to tell the difference between a foodie and an Epicurean.To top it all, Gluttony is even considered a sin.

To achieve laudable levels of excellence in our food habits there are these points to consider:
1. Gratitude for food
2. Quality of food
3. Savoring food through eye,touch and tongue
4. Eating slowly
5. Eating for purposes of only hunger or medicine
6. Thinking/ speaking pleasantly while eating
7. Consider eating time as important time
8. After eating…Maintaining a good body image/ loving your body

Learning to cook is an art that we should all try. Following recipes to the T and measuring every ingredient may make us good cooks but if we want to master the art, we need to learn to cook with our hearts . That way guidance really comes from within and we ‘know’ our food better. Such people love to cook and categorize it as even therapeutic in nature. Thus, ‘feel’ the aromas, the touch, the flavors and get to ‘know’ your ingredients before you venture into this art. For example,If you are holding an apple in your hand, know that it is the juiciest, most flavorful and the freshest in nature…don’t just go by the outward plastic appeal or make do with an inferior quality in any case.

Fresh, juicy, flavourful, satisfying.....excellent!

This holistic approach to food gives a wholesome perspective. It gives us a rather Mindful approach in life- a pre requisite to Excellence. Also,whatever we eat, we need to eat in peace, knowing that we are not harmed but benefitting from this act. A happy predisposition to food takes us a long way. Even if it is an indulgence, eat in peace (thus eating in moderation will be easy). The moment we get excited and want a second helping before we even finish the first…we are not in peace…we are eating with greed. That’s never going to take us to levels of Excellence ,be it in experience or health. Being Mindful will be the prelude to Excellence and Success always follows Excellence. So, here’s to success in health-mind , body and spirit!

About Shaloo Dogra

Shaloo Dogra is a wellness coach and director at Epicurean Hospitality Services Pvt. Ltd. in Gurgaon, India. She has been part of the hospitality industry for almost 20 years providing food solutions to industries, institutions and for events. She is dedicated to structured consultation for individuals for fitness, nutrition, intermediate level yoga and meditation. For more on this, please see her website: www.shaloodogra.com She is married to Rajat Dogra and has two wonderful boys aged 16 and 13.
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