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The Art of Eating, a Cultural Heritage Protected by UNESCO

Wellness

The Art of Eating, a Cultural Heritage Protected by UNESCO

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Eating: A Science

As a nutritionist, I hear daily about diet, ketogenic diet, calories and pounds.  This is normal because part of my job is to help people lose weight healthily, get back in shape and be at the top of their energy.

Are you looking to find out how many grams of protein to eat, or if it’s true that bread and potatoes should be avoided?  You want to have examples of healthy recipes or to know if the new fashionable diet is the right way to go.

Many come to me with applications that measure their energy intake and compare it to their diet of 1200 calories or less.  The calculator, the food scale and the bathroom scale then have a central place in their diet and lifestyle.

Eating well becomes mathematics; a daily mental gymnastics. Reduced to simple restrictive diets.

Restrictive diets, counting calories.

Except that eating is supposed to be much more than that. After all, it is one of the most complex human behaviors.  

We eat to survive, yes, but we also eat to please ourselves, to have a good time with people we love, to enjoy new dishes and new flavors. But diets tend to isolate us.


Eating: An Art of Living

Just like the art of sleeping well, the art of eating is a whole concept! So much so that UNESCO has decided to define and protect it as a cultural heritage of humanity.  Let me explain...

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Its mission is to cooperate internationally to achieve sustainable development goals and, among others, to protect and promote cultures and their diversity.

In an increasingly globalized world, it has found that the art of eating, eating out, taking the time and the customs that go with it are under threat. There is a tendency to eat faster and faster, to botch the moment and to follow ketogenic or other generic diets in increasing numbers.


In 2010, UNESCO decided to classify the "gastronomic meal of the French" as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

UNESCO gastronomic meal of the French.

You know, the French and their reputation of being food lovers, the wine that flows and the bistro atmosphere à la Parisienne? Well, the UNESCO committee defined it as: "customary social practice designed to celebrate the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups" and it is now a protected concept!

The same goes for cold-pressed olive oil, octopuses drying under a beautiful Greek sun, or fresh, homemade fettuccine... During the same year, UNESCO also classified the "Mediterranean diet" in its heritage list and described it as "a collection of skills, knowledge, practices and traditions".

Mediterranean diet.

Just as sleeping goes far beyond just closing one's eyes; eating, too, goes far beyond just what's on the plate! Practicing the art of eating also means enjoying a moment of conviviality, the pleasure of taste, sharing, the terroir, etc...

I, therefore, invite you to resist the culture of diets!  That with your initiative to get fitter, you don't lose the pleasure of eating and gathering around a good convivial meal.

Diet culture demonizes certain ways of eating while overvaluing others. You become hypervigilant about your plate and even ashamed to make certain food choices.

Diet culture makes you feel like you are all "crooked" and shaves off your "real" culture.

 

It is possible to be fit and have fun at the same time. It is vital to safeguard the art of eating.

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