MarketWell Voices: Nishta Saxena, Registered Dietitian
Why Eating for Pleasure is Important for Marketers
We spoke with Felicity registered dietitian Nishta Saxena about a new book that sparked our interest. The End of Craving by Toronto author Mark Schatzer is about how “restoring the relationship between nutrition and the essential joy of eating can we hope to lead longer and happier lives.”
We were curious about how eating for pleasure affects nutrition and what this movement might mean for wellbeing marketers, so we asked Nishta to share her expertise and thoughts.
Can you tell me your thoughts on the idea of eating for pleasure?
I think it’s an amazing idea. I think that when we connect to the sensations we’re having when we’re eating foods that we enjoy, it makes the whole experience of eating much more meaningful and it actually connects you to food in a different way.
If you’re eating in a restrictive or prescriptive way or because you have fear of something, it really does change the way you feel about food and sometimes it can even change your social interactions. I love the idea of experiencing pleasure and having positive sensory experiences while you’re eating.
How does one balance mindful eating and eating for pleasure?
You have to do a little bit of investigative work about how food and eating fit into your life. Look at whether you’re eating in a utilitarian manner, you’re eating foods you enjoy or you’re balancing the foods you like with the foods you know you need to eat so that you’re healthy.
A lot of people also use food as a tool to move through emotions—to process emotions, to suppress emotions—and that’s something that you want to be aware of because if that is you, you may mistake eating for pleasure with using food to mask or suppress emotions.
Do you think this way of eating can be part of a balanced lifestyle?
It can be. But first, you want to start to be mindful of your eating process and to track if you are eating for taste, hunger or emotional reasons. Then you can start to piece together how you can fit pleasure into those experiences and get some tools to deal with any emotional eating.
I do think eating for pleasure can and should be part of a balanced lifestyle. Most of us are going to be very habitual in what we eat and how we eat and we’re going to be drawn to foods that we enjoy eating. People don’t sit down for three meals a day and eat food that they think is disgusting. So we are already kind of eating for pleasure.
Eating for pleasure is something that can and should be part of your life. One of the things it can help with is when you’re eating for pleasure and you’re eating whole food, largely minimally unprocessed foods, you’re doing for your body what we want food to do, which is nourish you, and make you feel great and while you enjoy the process.
Is there a takeaway that marketers should focus on? Food brand or not, what’s the message consumers need?
I would say I think the answer for marketers is really that they don’t constantly have to think about healthifying and haloing things to sell them. I think that if you’re in the food space, marketing can be something where you say “hey, take a minute for yourself and sit down and indulge and enjoy this, just for the pleasure of it.” Don’t feel like you’re enjoying it because it’s good for you or it’s healthy, or low in calories or keto. I think the marketing angle can be simply “try this because you’re going to love it.” And sitting there and having a moment of pleasure and feeling great is something that we all need more of.
I think that could also apply to something like soap or using a beautiful face cream or putting on comfy or silky pyjamas. It’s about feeling good and the sensations that you get when you feel pleasure and a sense of luxury and indulgence. I guess there is a bit of a self care thing that happens when you feel that something is actually pleasurable.
After everything that we’ve all been through and the way the world is right now, we all need to have something that makes us feel better and there’s nothing wrong with pleasure. I heard a really interesting quote the other day that is like “you don’t make good decisions when you don’t feel good”. It seems very obvious but when we bring pleasure into our lives, it could actually shift and change our lives in big ways.