In many cases, COVID-19 has caused loss of taste and smell, yet I wonder if most of us actually tune into these senses regularly.

Certain foods are so powerfully tasty, so undeniably savory that not only are we compelled to slow down and revel in their natural potency, but we can sense their enrichment in every sniff, salivary excretion, taste bud and cell. These foods propel past simple satisfaction—they elicit the exclamation, “THIS IS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!” And we feel perfectly satiated by Mother Nature’s abundances, appreciating the sustenance without need to overconsume.

What foods offer such sensory experience?

Fresh strawberries picked in the morning sun; handcrafted cheese from pasture-raised sheep; raw goat yogurt from a small, beloved herd; elk sausage lovingly spiced with garden herbs; sun-kissed spinach straight from luscious soil; powerfully, punchy microgreens; heritage barley berries from a friend’s farm; wild mushrooms foraged with kids; barrel-aged bourbon maple syrup; handcrafted rhubarb and local honey cocktail syrup; carefully cultivated sourdough bread straight from the oven.

We invest effort in cultivating natural foods and vision in creating those that highlight nature’s gifts. Patience, focus, appreciation for the earth, desire for craftsmanship—these are ingredients artisans, farmers and foragers alike pour into their work, doting on details and guided by senses.

Foods grown in fertile soil, accompaniments reinvented using age-old, family recipes or raw elements enriched by local terroir emit the essence of the good life. A life of slowing down, noticing, valuing subtleties, epitomizing the pleasure of eating.

    When savoring foods bursting with nature’s nectar and earth’s ingredients, our bodies respond with delight and our cells reverberate. Fresh vegetables can turn even novice cooks into masterful chefs.

    Every human requires food to survive. Can survival be intentional?

    Consciously selecting high-quality, small-farm-or-business- and artisan-crafted foods is more than being a “foodie.” It’s paying attention to the seasons of the earth, aligning with the energies of the food’s creator and believing in harmonious connections between humans and the earth. Real food is the essence of life, distinctly opposing bland, boring, boxed factory foods that are a far cry from food consciousness. The food monoculture is sense-less.

    Imagine honoring the journey of one intentional carrot—from seed, soil and sprout to tending, timing and tasting—seeking beyond the “nutritional benefits” of carotenoids and phytonutrients. Consider how our choices can nourish not only our bodies, but our entire ecosystem. Envision celebrating food anthropology, rather than destructive narratives and control.

    Can our culture reinvigorate a connection to the earth through sensory food experiences?

    Real food. Toxin-free, consciously cultivated, pleasureful. Foods that nurture our senses to the core. Food that bonds us, help us be present and celebrate the ideal. In this view, food can be fodder for cultural change, earth vigor and human harmony. Globally, we are at a breaking point, and this change is necessary.

    What if we shift our food paradigm to include energy exchanges, synchronicity with the earth and introspective self-discovery? Food is a vehicle for connecting humans back to nature and its reconstruction; a catalyst for going deeper; a bridge toward understanding. We seek truth, connection, depth, beauty and a sense of vibrancy and purpose. We can find all of those things in food; it is emotional, economical and controversial and connects everything, living and inanimate.

    Jamie Truppi, MSN, is an integrative nutritionist focusing on functional foods and family wellness.

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