Have you ever heard someone say “I can taste the love” when eating food prepared by caring hands? Or have you noticed yourself how a dish made by a loved one tastes different somehow?
These subtleties come from what my health counseling program refers to as “vitamin L” - the love that goes into food as it’s being made. While this is not recognized among the standard micronutrients, the idea is that this is beneficial, and that food including this ingredient is better for us.
To be honest, I’m not quite sure how I feel about the concept of energy impacting the nutritional value of food. If something is made by a person who is angry, depressed, stressed, or lonely, does that really change the composition of the dish so that those eating it absorb those emotions via the food? I’m not sure.
What I do believe is that if someone is relaxed and joyful when cooking, and they’re making food for someone they care about, they are apt to be more careful. They will likely pay more attention to not only the quality of the result but also the presentation, wanting the food to be pleasing in every way. And I have to admit that given a choice between something mass-produced and packaged, or something homemade, even if they have the exact same ingredients, I’ll go for homemade every time. Whether from the nebulous vitamin L, or simply my perception being different when I know it was made with care, I find such food does taste different.
I’ve been keeping this in mind as I do my holiday baking and potluck cooking. Instead of getting stressed out by the busyness of the year, I put on music I enjoy, breathe deeply, relax and have fun with it.
But the other piece I like to remember is that this also holds true when I’m cooking for myself and no one else. Too often we neglect ourselves, thinking it’s too much effort for just one person, but I am just as deserving of food made with love and attention as anyone else. And so are you.
Approached this way, even the simplest of foods - scrambled eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, steamed vegetables - are more satisfying. I can truly feel and taste the love, and I hope that you, too, find ways to add vitamin L to your meals and to all areas of your life.