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       Eat, Drink and be…social?

The connection between ‘eating out’ and well-being

Food glorious food…’ that’s what they say. Whether it’s going out for a family meal or a friendly lunch with some colleagues, eating out brings us closer together. It’s a great way to celebrate every milestone on our social calendars as we go through the thorny pathways of life – birthdays, graduations, dates, reunions, getting a new job, a pay rise…you name it and I can bet you someone will find an excuse to bring food into it. Because truth be told, food makes us happy. It makes everything better. A dod here, a bit there, a few helpings over here why don’t you! A piece of chocolate when you feel down and want a boost. A strawberry tart when you feel like spoiling yourself just a little bit. A double-sponge, gateaux cake with extra cream…Now that’s just sin.

Eating food is as natural as the air we breathe. ‘Eat, drink and be merry’ is a time-honoured motto.…Except that I feel it would have been better to say in the first place, “Eat, drink and be social” rather than ‘merry’. Why is that, you ask?

Quite simply it tells us something important about dining itself. Having a special meal is much more than merely acting lazy, pigging out and savouring your favourite Italian pizza or crème boulait– or indeed a full tummy from time-to-time (although that’s good too!). To dine with other people is an expression of our social natures. Man is a social animal. At heart, even if we’re shy or retiring types, we’d all probably like to be social butterflies. Eating out, with some wine to loosen our tongues and good tastes, we let ourselves go and this allows our social sides to come out in the open. Everyone wants to be that jovial, ‘larger-than-life’ person at the dinner table who not only benefits from his own food but brings joy to those around him and helps them to enjoy theirs too. We all hate those uncomfortable silences when people sit there like stooges twiddling their thumbs, playing with their hair, clattering their forks against the mango chutney, pouting at themselves through their reflections in the spoons or – god forbid – that sorry soul who happens to be the one scraping his knife against a plate to create that awful grating noise that goes right through you.

Food occasions are always social occasions. The two are synonymous like heat and light, fish and chips, male and female…They go together, hand in hand. We want to talk at the dinner table, interact, schmooze with others. We don’t want to be segregated into our own little worlds apart from each other with no ‘good chat’ to keep us occupied and socializing.  That’s why I say that eating food with friends or family is a holistic experience. Big word, I know. Holistic dining (I emphasise with a line). Now, just what do we mean by, ‘holistic’? We mean to suggest that there is a very real connection between eating food with others and well-being, and by that I mean on the personal and interpersonal levels.

That is why here at Holistic Dining Blog – brought to you courtesy of the Secularfood UK Restaurant Guide- we’re going to be looking at the eating experience from a new and (hopefully) fresh perspective. A ‘holistic’ one. We’ll engage with dining in its whole and most inclusive definition – as a social, joyful, meaningful, community-driven, even soulful experience that goes right to the heart of our everyday existence. It isn’t just about hamburgers, French fries, pancakes, pasta and cream…well, ok, it is actually about those things for most of us but what I’m saying is that it’s much bigger than that. Dining out with friends or family is about living and interacting through the food we choose to eat and more importantly to share with others around a common table. It’s a way of living. Food is pleasure, food is danger (if you eat too much of it!), food is friendship and fun and good times and much else besides. And so for us food is holistic too.

Therefore without further ado let me welcome you to Holistic Dining Blog where we’ll mull over topical issues relating to the food industry, restaurants, eateries, tips and the like – keeping in mind always that food is a social experience, good for our whole bodies, minds and souls and not just about the act of eating itself. In other words it’s Holistic.