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20190925_134730 (2)My fondest memories from childhood occurred around the dinner table at my grandparents’ house. In this picture taken when I was five years old, I’m visiting our “East Coast relatives” in New York City. My grandfather, a labor activist and steel mill worker, grew up on the Lower East Side, and my grandparents met in Queens, before they eventually migrated to the West Coast.

I remember how my grandfather loved to reminisce about the many diverse foods he missed from his old neighborhood. He’d laugh and slap his knee as he described his own father, a Ukrainian immigrant, peddling fruit on the street corners, calling out: “Apples! Bananas! Pears!” Continue Reading »

health-safety-and-nutrition-300x300From the seminal book, Mindful Eating, by Jan Chozen Bays, MD:

“Mindful eating is an experience that engages all parts of us, our body, our heart, and our mind, in choosing, preparing, and eating food. Mindful eating involves all of the senses…”

Continue Reading »

20191201_124752It’s a relief to catch my breath after the frenetic pace of summer. Winter is a time of rest, both for the soil and for our bodies. Shorter days, cooler weather – an opportunity to slow down, go to bed earlier, take stock of the previous months and contemplate what lies ahead. Recently, however, I wandered outside to visit my neglected vegetable beds and reacquaint myself with my edible garden.

Around the yard, the bare limbs of our apple, pear, and hazelnut trees were outlined against a heavy gray sky. Much of the garden appeared dormant and yet life pulsed just below the surface. A few beds offered their remaining bounty – herbs, a lone rutabaga and kohlrabi hiding beneath an overgrown forest of aragula, a last row of leeks, a small patch of beets.

As usual, I’ve impressed with the hardiness of greens like kale and swiss chard, and how they often persevere through frost and snow.  Aren’t we all like this – surprising in our resilience? Continue Reading »

9389a10aa827004f79c4f63dbe307fd3.jpgIt’s been exactly two months since I’ve closed my practice as a psychotherapist, but it already feels like I’ve been away a lifetime. During that time, I’ve celebrated birthdays and an adoption anniversary, given a whole lot of attention to my edible garden, volunteered at local farmer’s markets as a Master Gardener, written a little, cooked a lot, and read a handful of books.

I do miss sitting with all of you, feeling awed by the courage and vulnerability and determination I saw every day. I miss being of service, feeling connected to a profession that is doing good things and working hard to remedy past wrongs, individually and collectively. I miss bearing witness to so many stories, those jewels of human experience. Continue Reading »

Edible art

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From my garden (clockwise, from bottom): Starburst radishes, parsley seed, red-veined sorrel, snap pea, German chamomile flowers, apple mint, mustard mix, Redbor kale, borage flower, sage flower, New Red Fire lettuce. Tristar strawberry and nasturtium (middle).

Yes, you should play with your food! Mindful eating invites us to feast with all of our senses during our next meal or snack.

For families who want to have fun with gardening, check out this article: https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/gardening-with-kids-how-it-affects-your-childs-brain-body-and-soul.

And here’s another blogger’s perspective on how mindful gardening can connect us to our bodies: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2016/sep/01/if-you-want-to-practice-mindfulness-the-garden-is-the-place-to-be.

Happy summer eating and gardening, friends.

 

 

 

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Recently, my 9-year-old daughter came home from school and shared an event that had happened during recess while playing a game known as “deadly tick tock” on the tire swing. She’d flashed back to a memory of our family’s car accident the July before, and remembered some scary details surrounding her dad’s head injury. Needless to say, she became upset, and she didn’t know what to do.

This is an especially emotionally-laden example but the reality is that life crashes into each of us, in some shape or form. We’ve all had difficult days, at work or at home – and there are more to come, as long as we wake up breathing. Life is glorious…and challenging, and messy. When our bodies feel as if we are in the middle of a four-alarm stress fire and we’re not sure where to turn, we might benefit from a self-compassionate first aid kit. Continue Reading »

Yes! This still stands 🙂

the SAVOR project

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As farm-to-school programs, community gardens, CSAs, and farmer’s markets grow in number, more individuals are participating in and gaining an appreciation for the entire food cycle, from growing their food to procuring, preparing, cooking, and savoring it. First Lady Michelle Obama’s famous White House Garden will continue under the stewardship of new First Lady Melania Trump, who said: “Gardening teaches us the fundamentals in care and the evolution of living things, all while inspiring us to nurture our minds and to relax and strengthen our bodies.”

Here at A Mindful Meal, I’m not just a psychologist and mindful eating educator, but I’m also a cook, hobby farmer, and food justice activist. I love food from just about every angle, and part of my mission is to help reconnect you to meaningful experiences with food, too.

In the book Mindful Eating,Dr. Jan Chosen Bays, MD

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