Plant-Based Table - Chef AJ’s Yummy Sauce

I am not a doctor, nurse or dietician. I am dedicated to educating myself and others about nutrition and wellness. This column is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.

Everything starts with a conversation. If you’re like me, you may be talking to yourself but nonetheless… a conversation. These days we’re more likely to have that kind of interaction via email, text orsocial media. Log into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and we can instantly know everybody’s business. No question that technology helps us to connect across time and space, share special events and feel closer to those far away - but is it helping us to communicate WITH each other? I’m not so sure.

Wekeep up with the latest posts, events and milestones. We comment, reply, argue and commiserate – that’s sort of like a conversation – but aren’t we talking AT people rather than engaging in discourse? It’s far too easy to speak our mind and then disconnect when the topic becomes uncomfortable, boring or seemingly unimportant –a bit harder to do that face to face. More importantly, there’s something that conversation requires which is lost in our frenzy of technology.

LISTENING. A conversation isn’t just words. It’s inflection, expression and the pregnant pauses in between. A smile, shoulder squeeze or “I’ve been there” groan are the vital signs that let us know we are heard and understood.

What does this have to do with me, or plant foods, or anything? A lot. I dragged myself into the social media age to support a new career focus. To that end it’s been amazing. Without a computer, I wouldn’t have had access to classes or certifications. Technology lets me share ideas, strategies and inspiration with clients and colleagues all over the globe (did you know there are lots of vegans in Australia?) Plus, it is nice to be able to keep up with friends, family and community events (who knew!) This super-accessible connectivity pushed me outside my comfort zone and challenged me to grow in all sorts of ways. Good stuff.