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’.
*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.
*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.
*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.