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7 “It’s So True” Facts for Foodies

7 “It’s So True” Facts for Foodies

First, the good news. If you are a foodie, you are not elitist, so relax. More good news — you are not a glutton either! So there is nothing wrong with you — you just love food, enjoy cooking, and you know an awful lot about food and nutrition. The bad news is that making good food available to everybody will mean profound changes to the whole food chain, and this is not likely to happen in our lifetime. But we have to start somewhere. Call us the pioneers.

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf, A Room Of One’s Own.

Here are 7 facts that will resonate with all my fellow foodies:

1. We are resurrecting traditional ingredients

We know a lot about all those ingredients that have fallen out of fashion, and we take pleasure and pride in sharing them when we cook for friends.

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Look at the celery root, for example. It looks awful — but if you remove the outer layer, you get a delicious combo of tastes, like parsley and celery. It is great for winter dishes. Resurrecting native plants and ingredients such as mesquite-pod flour and prickly pear cactus fruit are two more examples.

2. We are misunderstood by the masses

Yes, you have to grit your teeth and bite your lip when you hear people talking about us as “food snobs.” They think we are flaunting our knowledge of food and delicious undiscovered dishes just to prove that we are superior to everyone else and that we are extremely picky eaters. Now, who says that everyone has to like everything? Can’t wait to sample those halibut cheeks or caviar on scrambled eggs for lunch!

3. We love sharing food

We are food missionaries getting the message out to the masses that sustainability and organic are the keys to paradise. We write blogs and articles which serve as the gospel. We love going out to eat and discovering weird and wonderful dishes such as curried roasted acorn squash or vegan lemon berry ice box tart at new eateries. We are going to convert the masses and benefit all mankind. Tell me, have you met anybody who is not interested in food?

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”- J.R.R.Tolkien

4. We tend to judge people on the food they order

You know the scene. You date someone for the first time and of course, you go out to eat. Of course we will form impressions and judge the new date on what they order!

I know it is harsh but we shudder as they gulp their food without savoring it or letting it rest and linger on their palate. Is waiting just one more second to do this too much for them? You doubt that this relationship will ever take off if he or she does not appreciate their food.

5. We watch food porn

It is all part of our addiction. We love looking at all those delicious recipes prepared with loving hands and presented so beautifully and artistically. Then we take photos of our own food when we are invited out. The addiction takes hold of us as we shop for food and we can’t wait to eat at the next reputable restaurant. We think nothing of travelling 20 miles to find the correct berries for a tart. We dream and fantasize about our passion 24/7.

Instagram is the go to source for our sinful pleasures.

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6. We know our restaurants

Everyone should appreciate how well we know our favorite restaurants at home and abroad. Paris, France is a hot favorite.

Locally, we also have inside information because we know one or even two of the servers and we also know which days they are working. Because we are on the fast track, we can get first choice on dishes that are supposedly sold out. We also know some of the secret dishes that are not even mentioned on the menu.

7. We are experts at meal prepping

You should know by now that we will do everything in our power to avoid those fast food places at lunchtime when we are at work. This means we have to become expert at meal prepping. This is when we do a cook-in so that all our lunches are prepared in advance and it saves us a ton of time and money. We know exactly what we are going to eat every day of the week for lunch! Also, we are experts at using the latest soft-sided containers which are BPA-free and can be stored flat as well.

Finally, let us put one stereotype about foodies to rest which is that we are likely to be overweight from all that eating. Absolute rubbish.

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The Cornell Food and Brand Lab surveyed about 500 women who were into beef tongue and kimchi and other foodie fads such as yuzu and grits. They claimed to be extremely active and interested in nutrition. They also, not surprisingly, loved cooking and were more than willing to invite friends to dinner to try out their latest discoveries. (These people are known as food neophiles, by the way.) The researchers discovered that they all had lower BMIs. As Dr. Brian Wansik of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab remarks:

“There’s a real advantage of liking a wide variety of food and being adventurous. If nothing else, you seem to have a lot more fun in life, and it might even get you a little healthier.”

It’s so true!

Featured photo credit: Taste of Ethiopia, Doro Wot, Lamb Tibbs, and Yemisisr Wot, served on injera/ Kimberly Vardeman via flickr.com

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More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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