With all the white noise out there about food, whether that be the latest trends in food, the hottest new restaurants, the constant Instagram food porn feeds, or food guilt and 5:2 diets, paleo lifestyles, and juice cleanses, the philosophy behind chef, dietitian and teacher, Charlotte Miller’s latest venture, Food & Joy, is simple.
What is the idea behind Food & Joy?
I want to help people create a healthy relationship with food and eating by teaching and educating them about cooking, nutrition and food skills.
How do you go about doing that?
What I want to offer is regular food, real food, with no negative messages associated with it. “A lot of the information available to people seems to be creating more anxiety and panic and quick fixes that are making people feel stressed. So people are either jumping on the bandwagon of extreme diets or they’re feeling as though they are not doing them and they’re feeling stressed and anxious that they’re not good enough in the way they are eating. They’re not failing because they’re not good enough; they’re failing because the eating programs that have been prescribed are impossible. And we can’t keep up.
What Food & Joy is offering is just good food. It’s not “diet” or “health” food, but it is seasonal quality produce with a slightly dietary focus in that they cater for people who might be looking for vegetarian and vegan meals, lactose-free, gluten-free and FOD Map meals..
You’re also a practitioner of Ashtanga yoga. What does that bring to your cooking?
I want to bring some of the mindfulness involved in my yoga practice into people’s relationship with food. Being present in the moment is a challenge for many of us as we rush from one thing to the next, grabbing food on the run, not really noticing or appreciating what we are eating. But mindful eating, or intuitive eating, aims to reconnect us to the experience of eating and enjoying our food. Given that mindful eating is based on the idea that there is no right or wrong way, or right or wrong food, to eat, it is more about the level of consciousness we bring to what we are eating and why. The goal of mindful eating, then, is to base our meals on physical cues, so that we eat because we are hungry, and become more attuned to the kind of food that would satisfy us, rather than eating because we are bored or emotional.
Where to from here?
We’re small at the moment but hopefully as we get bigger, we’ll be able to do more programs for people who are looking for those things. But the whole concept is that I want it to be really positive for people. I want them to feel like they have choices, they’re not being told that what they’re doing is right or wrong. When they come in they have options available to them. They have a positive message from us.
For more information about classes and food, check out www.foodandjoy.com