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6 Reasons Why Everyone Should Be a Foodie

6 Reasons Why Everyone Should Be a Foodie

It’s no surprise to anyone that the word “Foodie” and the people it refers to have a bad rep. It seems that now a days, anyone who enjoys food trends, cooking, kale, or restaurant culture is the butt of a millennial themed joke made by someone who considers chain restaurants to be the top of culinary food chain. No disrespect to chain restaurants, but there truly is a whole world of food out. And everyone should be a part of this world of new flavors, cuisines, and dining experiences. Here’s why. Here are the 6 Reasons Why Everyone Should Be a Foodie.

1. Helps you out of your comfort zone

That hot new restaurant that Eater’s been talking about presents the perfect opportunity for you to introduce your tastebuds to a new world and hopefully introduce you to a new side of town. It’s so easy to get into a food rut – after all as human beings, we are creatures of habit. However, that’s no excuse to eat at the same three places every week. Switch it up! Add some new places to the roster. Becoming a foodie allows you to literally spice up your life.

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2. Contribute to your local economy

It’s hard not to scoff at a question like “Is this locally grown?” But contributing to your local economy is no laughing matter. Spending money at your local farmer’s market or artisan sandwich shop is more beneficial to your community than throwing money at your mall’s Jamba Juice. When you invest in local business, they are more likely to stick around and make your community a better place to live in for everyone.

3. Make new friends

There’s a reason why you always see a group of well-dressed people, tapping away at their smartphones sitting at the same table, and that’s because foodies stick together. Foodies, now officially a classified subculture according to Ken Gedler, author of the book Subcultures: Cultural Histories and Social Practice, tend to seek out others who share their love of food. Foodie forums, events, and MeetUp groups allow food enthusiasts to forge friendships online and in their favorite restaurants and bars. If meeting friends online is not your speed, there’s always the old fashion way. Strike up conversations with nearby tables and the wait staff.

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4. Learn new things

Foodies throw the best dinner parties. That’s not an opinion, it’s a tried and true fact. But even if you have no interest in wowing a crowd with quinoa salad, adopting a foodie outlook to cooking can be beneficial. Pinterest accounts, food blogs, and magazines like Bon Appetit and Savuer can teach you new things or help you spice up some old favorites.

5. Understand the food you’re eating

Food engineering has changed the way that we as Americans eat and interact with food. We expect strawberries during the winter and perfectly blood red tomatoes all year around. Beyond the unrealistic beauty standards that are placed on our food, these aesthetic touches are riddled with chemicals and eliminate natural flavors. The foodie lifestyle allows you to interact with in season produce, organic meals, and healthier options.

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6. Expand your (Flavor) horizons

Experiencing new flavors here in the comfort of your own neighborhood isn’t just delicious, it can help you plan your next big adventure. Familiarizing yourself with a culture’s cuisine before arriving can help you avoid the disappointing fate of ordering a subpar hamburger in Spain or wasting money in tourist trap restaurants in France. When you find your new favorite dishes, narrowing down the places that you want to travel will be no problem. After all there’s nothing better than experiencing fresh cacio e pepe pasta in Florence or spanakopita in Greece.

Featured photo credit: Wall Food by Michael Stern via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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