The Secret ingredient

A Note From the Chef

As a chef I work with ingredients all the time. Sometimes a combination is simply genius, and others…not so much.

But there’s one essential ingredient that goes into everything I make. It has no taste, smell, or weight. And no, it’s not LOVE (technically) though love is a part of it.

Can you guess?

It’s MINDSET! My intention and state of mind when I cook something ALWAYS effects not only how it tastes but how it’s processed in my body.

The Italians have a great expression for when food doesn’t sit well in your body and gives you heartburn. AGITA. But this word has a more general and far reaching meaning and is used whenever someone or something aggravates you.

Imagine what the mindset of the person preparing the food that gave you agita must have been – not filled with calm and love that’s for sure. But the responsibility goes both ways.

We’re all so concerned by how many calories a dish has, or if it has too much sugar or wheat or dairy. We’re consumed with programing that tells us things like; I can’t eat chocolate because it’s too fattening; or pasta makes me bloated; or eggs are high in cholesterol; or I just look at cookies and gain weight.

Your wish is my command replies your body.

I’m certainly not saying to ignore what your body tells you – just what you tell your body. And certainly using healthy, fresh, non-processed ingredients is a must, but so is how you feel when preparing a meal and how you feel when eating it.

That’s why cooking and sharing a meal is a sacred act – because your intentions are digested by those who eat your food and your feelings or mindset while eating effects how your body processes it.

I know that with the holidays upon us, many of us will be eating food that we normally don’t indulge in, so the intention for this post is to help you truly enjoy every bite during this wonderful time of the year.

  • Prepare the food you share with calm, pleasure and a loving spirit.

  • Eat whatever you eat without guilt and feeling that you’re a loser with no willpower because you ate something you said you wouldn’t or shouldn’t.

  • Let yourself fully feel the sensuousness of each bite.

  • Be grateful for the bounty of the table and for what’s on your plate.

  • Let your heart swell with the joy of sharing a meal with everyone at the feast.

Now I’d love to know what you think of all this. Maybe you found a way to take the guilt out of eating that you’d like to share – or maybe you have a tip that will help us enjoy the experience of food more?

Come on. Speak your mind.

Until next week,

Happy eating, and many, many blessings,




  1. Don Pittman December 19, 2013 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    I think anyone who has a passion for cooking and food feels the same way! It is so rewarding to fix a meal and have your family and friends tell you that it was amazing.I have cooked on a 3 burner propane stove in Costa Rica, a Chef’s kitchen in California, Culinary Center in Kansas City and many other places plus our home,it is always the same if you put love into the process it will turn out great and be rewarding. After all this I find I really don’t need all the gadgets and fancy cookware to fix a good meal just great ingredients and great company to share it with. Merry Christmas

    • chefsilvia December 20, 2013 at 3:34 am - Reply

      Oh Don. I’m so happy to hear you say this. Sometimes I thing I’m taking a shot in the dark. I know I feel this way but sure how others feel until I hear from someone like you. Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing all the amazing places you’ve cooked. Maybe we’ll get to cook together some time. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  2. Nathalie December 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Silvia, I love your mindful approach to preparing and eating food! And I can only agree. I have a very clean diet and take good very care of my body. Sometimes, however, I also feel like having something which I know isn’t really great. When I visit my mum, for example, I ALWAYS go to the Italian ice cream parlor there because Italian ice cream reminds me of my childhood. It’s tons of empty calories with no nutrients whatsoever, but every once in a while it feels so good. Especially when you don’t have a guilty conscience :-)!

    • chefsilvia December 20, 2013 at 3:29 am - Reply

      Nathalie, my sister in this mission to get people eating better both in the what and how. Thank you for sharing this sweet bit of your personal life.

  3. Ursula-the crafting gypsy December 19, 2013 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    LOVED this! So true! And I am not even a cook. Hubby cooks. :-) But I love to bake and this is true for both. Also SO agree on the importance of how you eat.

    • chefsilvia December 20, 2013 at 3:28 am - Reply

      Ursala. So glad you get it. i think that one day we’ll realize that how we eat is just as important as what we eat. It’s just that we’re not there yet. Our minds as so much more powerful than we think.

  4. ollie's mom December 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Beautifully stated! Thank you!

  5. Elise January 1, 2014 at 3:05 am - Reply

    Amazing post! I love the new word and completely agree with you that while food is love, it is so much more…affected by the one preparing the food AND the one eating it. It’s hard to not feel guilt about eating something we think is “bad” for us or outside the “plan”, but, as you know, our thoughts impact not only the way we enjoy (or don’t) our food but also the way we metabolize it. When you invite pleasure to the table and really savor your food like you suggested, it really helps us understand that HOW you eat is equally important to WHAT you eat. Thank you, Silvia!

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