How is it that if a baby is happily gulping his mother’s milk he has a healthy appetite we all admire, but if an adult was to eat an extra large bowl of food (or two) that same healthy appetite becomes something to question, something to frown upon, and even something to fear?
Appetite is the body’s way of ensuring that it has all the nutrition and energy it needs to prosper and thrive. It is an instinctive emotional and mental desire for food. Taken further it can be seen as a desire for wellness and a desire for life.
Listening to our natural appetite is fundamental to health. Our desire for food is vital to ensure that we get all the important nutrients and energy we need. An untainted appetite helps us understand what foods we should be eating and when. If we have been skimping on a vital component of our diet, a healthy appetite should ensure we won't be missing it for long.
However, in today’s society appetite is a concept so distorted that we have lost our innate understanding of it. We have forgotten that a healthy appetite is a positive sign and should be valued. Instead, in our culture that craves thinness more than it craves nourishment, we see a diminished appetite as a sign of strength and health. At the same time, we have forgotten how to listen and respond to our own appetites. No longer are we the baby suckling at our mother’s breast who knows exactly when we are full and when we are hungry again.