We all have a food story – a way we talk about and reminisce about food. In this episode holistic nutritionist Loretta Friedrich offers some interesting perspectives on why we eat, what we eat and how to nourish ourselves physically and emotionally.
*Full transcript is available at the bottom of this page.
[Website] Loretta Friedrich
You can learn more about food stories on Loretta’s website.
Her book Your Canadian Food Story is available on Amazon.
[Book] Intuitive Eating
Evelyn Tribole’s book on Intuitive Eating provides ideas for reconnecting with the pleasure of eating.
Something to think about:
What is your food story?
Do you have a pandemic food story?
Something to try:
Tune into the sensory experience of food – from grocery shopping to food prep to eating.
If that feels like too much to take on – focus on one aspect of the process.
You can grab your FREE homework Awareness & Action guide HERE
Scroll on down to the comments section and share your thoughts….
What food stories stand out from your childhood?
What food experiences has COVID-19 created?
Do you like Cheese Whiz?
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CREDITS: The Being & The Doing podcast is produced by Neela Bell. Voiceovers by Jason Harris. Music is GoodMorning Sunshine by Yoav Alyagon and Firefly by Scott Buckley.
Full Show Transcript
Intro: Welcome to The Being and The Doing. Here’s your host, author and life coach Laurel Vespi.
Laurel: Hello, lovely ones. Welcome to episode 34 of The Being and The Doing. Today, we’re talking about food, specifically, your food story and my guest today is Loretta Friedrich. Loretta is the founder of Sprout Natural Nutritional cCnsulting. She’s a food lover and a speaker writer, author, she’s the author of a great book called Your Canadian Food Story and today we’re going to talk about food and the stories that we create around our food experiences and how it is that we nourish ourselves. Hi, Loretta, welcome to The Being and The Doing.
Loretta: Hello Laurel, thank you so much for having me today.
Laurel: And you are coming to us; we have a mountain range in between us right now. You’re in beautiful, Vernon, BC, and I am just here at home in Saint Albert. So Loretta the reason I wanted to have you come and be in conversation with me is about this terrific work that you do around people’s food stories that we all have a food story. Can you start there? Just, what is a food story?
Loretta: Well, everyone has a food story because everyone eats; everyone has memories related to food. It’s not necessarily, oh, I have to now write or think about this big biography or food biography of my life. We don’t have to go far back into our past or I’m hoping right at the moment when we’re eating that there is a whole bunch of stories and reasons behind the scene of why we’ve chosen, what we’re eating. So that’s really a starting point of the conversation because food and food stories are a vital part of our culture and traditions and families and communities and I’d love for people to really recognize the value of their own food stories and it’s all about nourishment, in my opinion.
Laurel: The nourishment, not only of the food, but of the environment in which we’re eating.
Loretta: Exactly like honoring ourselves, honoring our traditions, our culture, there’s a legacy that typically the food legacy that is passed down to us, and sometimes we don’t even recognize that we might start talking about, oh, my mom used to cook this, and now I like to eat it because it reminds me of her or the barbecuing that my grandfather did celebrations and all that cake better be there but is it just about the food always? I don’t think so. It’s about being nourished to our food memories and being nourished in that moment and recognizing the importance of not just what we’re eating, but that whole holistic part about it. Because that’s really what I’m about anyway, with who I am. I’m a holistic nutritional consultant and so that piece about nourishing body, mind, and soul while we’re eating.
Laurel: Do you think that when we think about perhaps the origins of our food stores, the stories that we have from when we were growing up do because I think about some of what fits into my food stories that we don’t appreciate, and we don’t sort of appreciate what the essence of that is until much later that we can reflect back on it. So for example, I think about when I was a kid a long time ago when I was a kid, my mom was a stay at home mom and she cooked, she baked and there was a point at which; we always had my mom baked cookies and usually she baked, there was a pie every week, cakes were kind of a birthday thing but she did baking and I remember really clearly lots of conversations about why can’t we have store-bought cookies and her saying, but I bake cookies and I mean, they were good cookies but there was sort of this; I don’t know whether it was because friends would have store-bought cookies, but there was just this pressure about wanting store-bought cookies. Now as I reflect back on it first, it’s like, what was wrong with us? And the desire to want it.
Loretta: Exactly and that’s part of that community, whether we, at that time, in a lot of ways I can relate to what you’re saying, because there was a lot of the home cooking, though my mom was a part-time professional career as well, but go to school and what, some people have these shiny wrapped kind of cookie thing or whatever it is that you got from the store and here I am eating my home baked, good or my grandparents they would send along care parcels from BC with homemade fruit leather and fruit leather, I’d kill for that right now. Well, pardon me, maybe not kill for it, but at the time, I think really, even as a child, when we’re looking back, of course, with a lot more in that rear view for some of us, including me too. The community that we were raised in, family but then of course at school, we’re always watching, we’re always taking notes and what do we bring to the present from the past held value and what we want to actually serve ourselves up, if you will today and honor ourselves while we’re doing it and recognizing yes, our food inheritance, your mum being that homemaker and making things from scratch. Then how do we take that in an honor our family and bring it into the present.
That’s why there’s so many and even much more now, I feel even in this present time, in the last few months with the worldwide situation, that a lot of people are now looking deep into their freezers or recognizing the value of, oh yeah my mom used to make all that bread because we know bread making right now is really hot out there, but why are we doing that? Because it speaks comfort, love, and all kinds of things that from the past that we really want that right now, because a lot of us are stressed out. So we want that food to be nourishing beyond just, oh, it tastes good, but oh, it reminds me of the warm hug from my mom or whoever it is and I can’t actually feel her right now. Maybe she’s even past, so there’s a lot of that Laurel from when we were in certain age groups and then now what do we want to honor?
Laurel: Well, and it’s interesting as you referenced, I think you referred to it as your pandemic food story, it’s been kind of fascinating to watch people’s relationship to food, because it almost feels like that’s one thing that people feel like maybe they have some control over. So yes, I think there’s truth to that. We revert to the comfort food that makes us feel better in the moment, but it’s just been fascinating to watch. All of a sudden, my daughter said to me, my daughter said, mom, do you have any yeast? And it’s like, yes. And she’s like, can you send it to me? Because she’s like, you have to buy yeast on the black market now because there’s just, you can’t get yeast. And so there’s something about people. And again, it seems to be baking ha some particular attraction. I don’t know if, because that’s kind of a two for one there, we get sort of the comfort food of it. And then we are thinking back to perhaps when we were younger, but we have this control over baking things. I don’t know, what are you thinking about from a pandemic perspective? What are you imagining that the food stories are going to be coming out of this?
Loretta: Well, continuing with that little piece about, let’s say the baked goods, and then moving on from that, the first thing I do want to say is when we are looking at and looking in with a curious mind, well, why do I have this need for baked good, or, okay, well, maybe there’s some fond food memory, but I think it’s got a lot to do with the senses. So the smell and a feeling that the dough as you’re kneading it and all of these things that really are helping in a holistic way to nourish and to soothe. And so it’s not necessarily, I know a lot, I know a few bakers or people that they just do the baking, but they don’t actually eat so much of it because they do love that whole process. I see a lot of that, because I’ve been wearing the glasses in a different way, just observing people’s response to this pandemic.
Moving like from today and onwards, for sure a lot of people are now I see wanting to grow their own food. So this has been something that thankfully has been, I don’t say a fad because I don’t like that word, but in the last number of years, anyway, a lot of people are very interested in growing food, having the container on the patio, even going to forge more for foods, the interest of where the food does come from within let’s say the hundred miles that you live, because of course that’s supply chain, we can’t rely on for supply chain to give us that food. So I love that, that whole kind of food story of the ancestors, we don’t have to go far back into our food story of the past to see a lot of farmers and people in our heritage that one of them work the land and grew food and preserved the food, et cetera. So definitely that, Laurel, of those two things, but to senses to absolutely comfort and sooth us while we’re maybe baking the bread or doing the muffins and et cetera, and then the gardening and foraging and et cetera.
Laurel: Yeah. I think I’m pretty sure part of my pandemic food story will be, I was in the grocery store and limiting when we go to the grocery store and just being very sort of mindful about what we need and how we’re using things and Pat went down an aisle because of course now you’re following the arrows and so you’re up and down aisles, it might be I wouldn’t have gone down that aisle because I don’t think I need anything in that aisle, but now you’re following the path and lo and behold, there was cheese whiz. When I was a kid cheese whiz on toast. That was a thing that we had and I swear, probably when my kids, which was a long time ago when they were very little, we had cheese whiz, but then it was kind of became a thing of, you know, okay, we don’t really buy those types of processed things and there was that jar of cheese whiz kind of calling to me. So I bought the cheese whiz and brought it home.
Actually, it was quite interesting because now it’s like, it actually is made from cheese. I’m pretty sure the cheese whiz I had as a kid had not one bit of cheese in it at all, pretty sure but it was a really interesting experience to open the jar of cheese whiz and put it on toast and enjoyed it and kind of had memories and had conversations with the family, but it kind of wore off. It was sort of like, okay, yeah, I’ve been there, done that. I don’t think cheese whiz now becomes a thing that I’m moving back into my regular repertoire. But, and again, I come back to baking it. Isn’t a thing I’ve been doing a lot of because with our kids all out of the home now I don’t do a lot of baking because if we bake it, we eat it and I’ve really enjoyed kind of getting back to doing some of that. So I’m curious about myself to see what will this look like going forward? Like, which pieces of it…
Loretta: Yeah. Do you want to retain and like, and you made this point too, like when we’re looking at the current situation and what we’re reaching for you can definitely see that this, whatever comfort is like sometimes we’d have to sit here and have a discussion about what does comfort food mean. And then at some point, if there were like a hundred of us on this call right now, somebody would say, well, now that’s usually bad for you because comfort food for some reasons, got this negative kind of a vibe behind it or definition. But comfort itself, when you looked at the cheese whiz, there’s a question for you in the store. Why did you think that you needed that cheese whiz? And I mean, it’s not a judging question. It’s just, I’m very curious, like how come it spoke to you? Why?
Laurel: The cheese whiz?
Loretta: Why did you need to buy it and you put it in the cart and you walked away with it?
Laurel: And then I ate it.
Loretta: And then you ate it, yeah.
Laurel: Yeah. I would think that, I don’t know. It would be great if we were back there and you could ask me that question in the grocery aisle. I’ve been thinking, actually, I think I’ve been thinking a lot about my parents who have both passed during this time and really wanting to be in conversation with them about sacrifice and how it is because, you know, as we do our part and are being asked to do our part in terms of being able to navigate through these times, it seems to me that people are having difficulty with sacrifice, probably because we haven’t been asked to sacrifice for a long, long time, going back to my parents’ generation, probably your parents’ generation when they were asked to sacrifice in big ways.
So I’ve been wanting to be and sort of longing for that conversation with them about what would they have thought or what advice they would have had to say. So I’ve probably been thinking about them, and maybe that sort of puts me back into my childhood where we had cheese whiz, but it was a bit of a treat. You would come home and you wanted a snack, there were things that could be snacks and other things that weren’t snacks because you were dinner was not going to be long off, but one thing was you could have toast and cheese whiz. So I think it had has something to do perhaps because they are on my mind. And so maybe that’s why.
Loretta: Well and then go to throw out the word nourishing, do you feel, and without, and this is where I’m kind of now taking over the conversation.
Laurel: Go for it, go for it. I love it.
Loretta: But it’s something that I just love when I’m in one to one in my practice asking people these questions. So do you feel like the cheese whiz nourished too on any level?
Laurel: It did because there was a couple of things because it was really like, oh yeah, like, yeah, cheese whiz and toast. That was good. There was something that was validating that when I’m reading the ingredients, it’s like, oh, wow, it’s actually cheese, it was like, something has happened to cheese whiz because I’m pretty sure it was some sort of melted plastic in a jar when I was a kid. So it was and it also prompted some interesting conversations with my kids because they were like, oh yeah, cheese whiz, and then it was Mom, I can’t believe you bought cheese whiz that surprises me. So yeah, it was nourishing, but I’ll say that I reached the satisfaction point of I had the cheese whiz and they’re still cheese whiz in the jar and I don’t sort of feel called to go eat the cheese whiz. So whatever it was, it was satisfying in the experience of it.
Loretta: I love that it was an opportunity to be able to have conversations with your family and really when you’re looking at it even more so now, as we’re talking the whole thing about, and this is why I really as a holistic nutritional consultant, some people would maybe be gasping in and going what, how could you even suggest that cheese whiz could even be nourishing? And that’s though, I want people to go beyond just looking at the food itself. Am I at the first one to suggest that we should be looking at food for its nutrition when it comes down to not, and notice I’ve never said the word healthy in this conversation yet, because that typically enters in some conversations where people tend to lock themselves in food prison. So that’s something else that I have conversations with people about like with the diets and the shaming and everything, but nourishment is not just what we’re eating.
Can we move past some of these times where it’s been painful memories and pleasant memories. But at the time though, some of those painful memories, maybe there was some nourishment or some pieces out of there that really make up your whole entire food story and when we look at something like cheese whiz, you said you hit the satisfaction, saturation point pretty fast there, but clearly it was something that you needed at the time to really call up if you will, your parents and have them present with you. I feel there’s nothing wrong with that. Cheese whiz every day, 24/7, probably not going to be on the nutrient level, going to be helping it yourself. But yeah, it definitely was nourishing.
Laurel: Well, I appreciate you sort of bringing that piece forward about just that general relationship with food where so much, it feels like we categorize food and vilify certain foods, and that this is good for you, and that’s not good for you, and it should be like this and it shouldn’t be like that. As opposed to leaning into this idea that you’re talking about, the sensory experience of food. It reminds me a little bit of Evelyn Tripoli’s work about intuitive eating that we can’t name foods as good or bad and start to oh, you should never eat that or not being able to trust yourself with eating certain foods. I can’t have this in the house because I don’t trust myself with it rather than trusting yourself with the experience of what it is that’s happening.
Loretta: Yeah, exactly. So many comments to be made about everything that we’ve talked about, but for sure, the one thing that I’m adamant about having people realize is that if we start saying that that food is bad, then that typically is we’re telling ourselves we’re bad. If we’re saying, oh, that’s good then that means I’m good. Well, okay, I mean, there is something to be said about feeling really wonderful about yourself, but again, like you just said, if we start categorizing foods like that we do run the risk of really shaming ourselves, beating ourselves up. We’re not nourishing ourselves at all. So when we do have that food on our plate or food-like substance in the bag, be there, be present. And I know you, you’re all about that. Enjoy the cheesy, have the brownie and just savor and take a look at why is it something that you really wanted. And maybe it will be like you said, two minutes in or something, okay, been there, done that and you won’t have it maybe for a few years. It’s just something that you don’t need, but be there when you’re eating, because otherwise your body will say, hello, you weren’t there. Can you try it again? So we need to be present when we’re eating, for sure.
Laurel: So Loretta if people are interested in exploring this idea that we have a food story that we’re creating now, and we’ve had food stories from the past and events like the pandemic, all of it begins to create sort of a bunch of stories that I guess goes into an entire book that we have of food stories. We’ll talk about your book in a minute. If people are sort of interested in exploring this for themselves, what is it that you suggest they do in terms of how they approach, whether it’s, I guess, the growing of their food or the grocery shopping, or the cooking, or the eating, what is it that you suggest, where do people begin with that idea?
Loretta: Well, I’d like to put into three categories, ways in which to validate and grow your food story. First of all, to discover your food story through the senses. So we’ve already talked a little bit about that, but when we’re taking a look at the smell and the taste, et cetera, you’re discovering at that moment, what you will or may choose to remember, and that will become your food story of tomorrow. So explore the senses, get into taking a look at the sound of the food and things like that. It doesn’t have to, this sounds almost complicated, like, oh, you’re kidding. I just want to have that Apple. I don’t really want to have to, but be more mindful perhaps or reach for a part where we’re discovering our food story, that we’re actually there and we’re taking a look at the census. When we’re developing.
So from discover, we’re developing, we flipped back and forth. It’s not like a one, two, three step, developing the food story, research in your area. What is the food that’s eaten in your area? Take a look at the farmers who are providing the food develop, get that knowledge about who is providing the food for you. Does it mean you’re not going to Costco ever again, but getting more of an interest in who’s providing that food for you and ask those questions when you are at the farmer’s market or wherever, and be a curious consumer in that way.
Laurel: I think too, around that, and particularly now, there’s just this awareness that’s been placed on the supply chain where I think we’ve forgotten how many pieces there are actually to the supply chain. I was listening to a story on the radio this morning, and I’m talking about potato growers, but the person they were interviewing was actually the seed potato grower, who supplies seed potatoes to the potato growers. And it was like I wasn’t even aware that, oh, that’s an actual different step that there’s another person in this supply chain who does that. So I think that’s a great thing to be really aware of all of the hands that are on our food as it goes along, it didn’t just go from the ground to Costco.
Loretta: Well, exactly. And until that’s all part of that development and discovery and development and expressing our food story too. So then we’ve got, let’s say the potato. Okay. Well, now we know that there’s a difference between seed potato or, oh, yeah. I guess there is a business for seed potatoes versus, oh, now the farmer who’s actually, harvesting the potato and then buying it at the market, but then honor that potato, share it with other people, with social media that we want to do express our food stories. So discover, develop, express, keep going back and forth through all of that throughout your entire life, but let’s move forward with our food knowledge and pass it on. So we’ve got this legacy and share with others. We learn from each other, we have so many valuable experiences, and that’s how we grow together and that’s how we’re nourished, our communities, their traditions, their families, et cetera.
Laurel: Yeah, I’m curious to think when you’re talking about social media there, how does social media influence or impact our food story?
Loretta: Oh, I feel big time, especially if a person just wanders over to Instagram and starts taking a look, most of the Instagram posts are about food or landscapes, people, but there’s a lot of food stories just looking at a picture that you can just, you’re going to relate to or not. Then for a person who’s on Facebook or anywhere, Twitter, especially if you’re following some of these people like at the market. Now you want to now learn a little bit more about potatoes. So the potato farmers association, I don’t think that’s exactly the name of the association, but really start being the person who’s really interested in potatoes and be the one everybody comes to. But honor and show that if you’re on social media, I think it’s just a great way to express your food story and then take a look at other people’s and have a really good conversation.
Laurel: Do you think there’s a danger though on social media where we can look at these spectacular pictures or things that people are done that we begin to feel badly about our own story. I think about my daughter one time, she wanted to make these cookies, not that long ago, and she wanted to make these cookies and there was this picture, of course an Instagram picture and they look amazing and then when you try to create that, it’s like you’re not creating that because it probably didn’t really look like that anyways. Is there a danger in that, do you think?
Loretta: Absolutely. It’s just like seeing somebody who is the skinny person or the person that we all want to look like, because they’re on some miracle diet or we could look at food that way too and the food porn and, oh, I could never plate like that. There’s people that that’s their entire career they’re on Instagram and they know how to beacon you to come back because they just know how to plate things and they make money from that. So there is a danger for sure that if we’re to start looking at a certain cookie recipe and it’s been plated so lovely. And then you’ve got this brown lump in your kitchen, kind of go ah, that’s where though put maybe the blinders on, not literally, but go ahead and taste it so that let’s move past that visual and look at the other senses, but, oh, I so hear you, Laurel, if there’s nothing more annoying than when I go on Instagram and I’m going, I wonder how that tastes. It looks like it’s the most fabulous thing ever, and it’s all shiny. And I wonder how many filters they use. That’s like what a magazine for some model. How many filters, but does it really taste good? Hello!
So yeah, we have to watch, and that’s where; sharing on Instagram is one thing you could get killed for it, but why are we on there to really share what we think is really something that we’d want to share with other people. But yeah, we have to watch as well on Instagram, especially I find because it’s just the place where there’s a lot of them foodporn. Yeah.
Laurel: Cause I know you’ve written this, written, collected this wonderful book called Your Canadian Food Story and so I I’ll certainly be leaving a link in the show notes for people to be able to see how they can grab a copy about that or read more about the work that you’re doing encouraging people to embrace their food stories.
Loretta: Excellent. Thank you so much. Really appreciate that.
Laurel: And so what’s on tap for you to; what are you cooking today?
Loretta: Well, I actually have my own challenge I have done. This is the fourth one, a seasonal challenge. So I’m continuing on the spring local food challenge. And so today I just actually went to the market. We do have a market open in Vernon. I’ve got asparagus, fresh asparagus. I’m going to have some chicken with it and some other, I’m not too sure for a main meal. I’ve had my smoothie already today. So really it’s about focusing in on local food as much as possible. But Loretta does have; she’s a whole person too, so it’s not just, oh, she’s all plant-based and everything’s just all shiny, everything.
Laurel: You have cheese whiz though? Do you have cheese whiz already?
Loretta: You know what, I’m not trying to think about cheese whiz and snacks there Laurel.
Laurel: There you go. Well, you know what, so my story today is it’s raining here quite, it’s been raining since yesterday and steady raining all through today. And so I think there’s some sort of pot of soup that feels like it’s a rainy day kind of a thing.
Loretta: Soup; soup cold or hot I think it’s all season meal, so enjoy it.
Laurel: I will. And thank you for coming and being in conversation with me about food and stories.
Loretta: Well, I thank you. Oh, first of all, I’ll say you’re welcome. And then I definitely thank you for having me on, so appreciate it.
Laurel: Great. Well, that certainly gives us some food for thought, doesn’t it. Hopefully now you’re thinking a little bit about your own personal food stories and what it is you eat and why you eat and what nourishes you. I’m going to leave a number of links in the show notes, links that you can read more about Loretta and about her book, The Canadian Food Story and I’ll also leave a link to the book Intuitive Eating which I mentioned about how it is that we can bring a different presence to the way that we’re eating. So as always, we want to have a little homework, a little something to think about and a little something to do. It kind of feels like it’s a really natural something to think about question this time. What is your food story and what are your past food stories or what is your pandemic food story, or what are the stories that you’re creating right now?
Just work with that question a little bit, whether you go outside and take it for a walk or you sit down and journal, or maybe you can be in conversation with someone about food stories and then something to try have a sensory experience of food. Loretta talks a lot about how the sensory experience of food is what really helps to create our food story. So think about that whole process. Can you have a very mindful sensory experience of the process of food from perhaps going shopping for something and then coming home and then cooking and then sitting down and eating. And if that feels like, Whoa, that’s too much homework, Laurel, maybe take one piece of that. Maybe when you go grocery shopping or go to the food market, can you bring your full senses to the experience or the next time that you’re cooking a meal or the next time that you’re sitting down and enjoying a meal with family or friends, what is your sensory experience of that?
I’d love to hear what you have to say. What is your food story? If you go to the show notes and you scroll on down, there’s an opportunity for you to make comments. So tell me about your food story. What is a story that rises up from your past, or maybe what’s part of your pandemic food story? What sensory experience are you having? I would love to hear what it is that you have to say. So please scroll on down in the show notes and leave a comment. So until next time, I hope that you feel well nourished, and I hope that you’re well, and I look forward to seeing you next time.
Outro: You’ve been listening to The Being and The Doing with your host, Laurel Vespi. If you like this podcast, stop whatever you’re doing, unless you’re driving and hit subscribe, leave a review, then share this episode with a friend. Thanks for your support.