Wednesday, April 14, 2010

mindful eating for the mindful soul

As many of my regular readers know, I am a vegetarian. For a basic explanation of my personal reasons for this, please see my post ‘the vegetarian child: part 1”. But eating mindfully is not just about what you consume, it's also how you prepare your food and how you eat it. Here is a basic guide to our family’s diet philosophy. We do not always adhere to every idea and principal, but we try to keep these in mind as much as we can. Since I started to eat more holistically I have inadvertently lost 5 kilos (about 12 pounds) over the past three years. I have more energy and never binge-eat, overindulge or emotionally eat (something I used to do quite often). Above all else, I am truly a lot happier because I feel that I am living more intune with my ideals and my ethics and that I have grown much closer to my ‘true self’.

Shop Mindfully
*Foods that are in season are evolutionarily designed to best serve our needs at that time of year- eating in season is not only an eco-friendly act, but a way to remember the natural cycle of life and to strengthen your physical body and soul.
*Organic foods are free from chemical residues, are generally grown in season and are not genetically modified. They are much more abundant in nutrients and are of course, better for the environment. If you do not have a local organic produce source you can often find online companies that deliver once a week to your neighbourhood.
*Buy whole ingredients and avoid processed and packaged foods. Replace processed and preservative-laden bread with homemade loaves; replace store bought crackers (dry biscuits) with oven-baked homemade pitas; replace packaged sweets with homemade cakes and cookies sweetened with honey, agave nectar, maple syrup or cane sugar, * Buy naturally processed oils from the health food store (not hydrogenated variations). This way, when you do indulge, you have worked hard for the reward and are likely to consume less often.
*Do not buy or consume foods that have been made in an environment filled with fear, terror, painful death and torture. This is a huge reason why I am vegetarian and I consume fairtrade chocolate and coffee. Food is filled with vital life force that is meant to give us energy. When you eat a steak produced in a factory farm, are you not also consuming the negative energy that went into making that meat? The murderous energy from the slaughterer, the fear of the animal as is watches its sisters being killed, the pain of standing in metal pens and trucks for countless days and the shock and horror or the stungun as it enters the animals head. The same goes for chocolate, eggs, milk or coffee beans produced in similarly oppressive environments- do not underestimate the power of these subtle, but negative energies.

Prepare Mindfully
*Have you ever noticed that weekend meals tend to taste far better than a rush job put together last minute? This may seem obvious, but when we put some tender loving care into preparing our food, that love and positive energy radiates into it and our bodies.
*Be conscious of the energy in your grains, legumes and vegetables. Cut vegetables, fruits and herbs along their life lines (following the shape of seeds, veins and leaves)
*Be aware of and enjoy the smells, the textures, the colours and the sounds of the foods as your prepare them- the smell of freshly squeezed lemons or fresh herbs, the velvety softness of black beans, the vibrant colour of a red capsicum (pepper), the crunch of the silver beet under the knife.
*Try to stay in the moment, don’t rush and enjoy the experience. Don’t think of cooking as a means to an end, but a joyful experience that awakens and enlivens our senses.
*Invite love into the kitchen. Have even the youngest of children help to prepare a meal, listen to inspiring music, share a glass of wine or a cup of tea with a loved one while you prepare.

Eat Mindfully
*Eating in a mindful manner means sitting comfortably, (without a television in front of you), surrounded by loved ones and paying attention to each mouthful you swallow- enjoying taste, texture and sounds.
*When we eat mindfully we begin to listen to our wise bodies and become satiated sooner without overindulging.
*Give thanks. You do not have to be religious to be thankful. A simple acknowledgement of the sacrifices that have been made b you, your community, animals and the environment in order to produce the food you are about to eat is an important way to stay present and conscious of food as a life-giving force.
*Be mindful of conversations during meals- engage in calm, soothing and positive conversation, be aware of any negativity or judgement that comes through at the table.
*Eat with your hands whenever you can. The simple joy of hand to mouth is often intercepted by a sharp or plastic utensil.

Simple Vegetarian Curry

Ayurvedic philosophy says that food is composed of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. As animals, humans are also composed of these elements. Therefore, when we take time to ‘nurture’ our food, we are also nurturing ourselves.

For more recipes please go to my 'fork-worthy' archives or search in my left sidebar under season.



Little Ted Canvas said...

This is a great post, thanks so much for sharing. Isn't it amazing how the simple things just make so much sense, like eating the food that is naturally in season, how our bodies need the nutrients they provide us at that time, I hadn't thought about it's fascinating & so obvious at the same time. That porrige looks awesome, by the way.

Mrs B said...

I found the same thing once we went organic and ate more whole foods. I have zero cravings now, and so does Mr B. And we both feel so much better physically and emotionally.

I was vegetarian before Little B was born and now I eat fish and chicken once a week each. But we have our hands tied (not for us so we eat vegetarian most days) but Little B has to eat meat as his allergies rule out so many fruits and vegetables.

Erin said...

Great post! That vegetarian Curry looks sinfully delicious too .... yum!!!! I went back and read your "Part 1" story and just wanted to say that I whole heartedly agree and you summed up why you are raising your kids as vegetarians, beautifully! I have been a vegetarian for 16 years now, my husband for 10 years, and my 4 & 2 year old have never eaten meat, fish or chicken. Our friends and family are respectful for the most part of our decision to raise our children this way, however, just last weekend I was put on the spot by a few family members and told that I should give my children "the choice" to eat meat. I feel as you do that at so young an age they cannot be held accountable for their actions and so therefore, it's my responsibility as their mother to say no to meat for them. And when they are older, they may or may not rebel, and that is fine ... we'll cross that bridge when we get there. I will say though, that what little I have explained to my 4 year old about vegetarianism ... she's totally on board. She could never imagine eating another living being.

Catherine said...

I really enjoyed this post Meagan. I particularly enjoyed reading about eating mindfully and how you have highlighted how important it is to think about the varying aspects of the food we eat. I love sitting down with my family a traditon we have had for many years. Each night we talk about something positive in our day, it encourages happy talking at the table it works really well and the girls miss it if we out for dinner which is really sweet. xo

HiHoRosie said...

Awesome awesome post! I agree with it all 100% and esp the part of preparing with love and mindfulness. Makes the food taste so much better!

Tania said...

What a DOOZY of a post. I now plan to live amongst your fork-worthy archives. So much tasty food for thought and good poke in the side reminders to boot.

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