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Archive for the ‘Know your food’ Category

farm to plate WH photo

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, a physician and well-respected Zen Buddhist leader, engages readers in an exercise she calls “Looking Deeply into Our Food,” which takes us through the origins of our food. Imagine the person who stocked a particular food item – a box of raisins, a loaf of bread, a carton of milk; the driver who delivered the food to the store; the farms that tended to the trees, plants, or livestock. Dr. Bays reminds us of something that is said before every meal at Plum Village, the Zen practice center founded by Thich Nhat Hanh: “In this food I see clearly the presence of the entire universe supporting my existence.”

Water nourished your food. Sun nourished your food. Soil and many tiny organisms nourished your food. Your food has a story, and a family; it possesses deep roots that likely go back hundreds of years. The seeds of  your food may have come from a landscape far, far away from your kitchen. Your food may have been grown, picked, handled, and delivered by someone who looks similar to you. Or very different.

We are united as beings in our desire to live, eat, and thrive. By fully showing up with awareness for our meals, we are honoring our bodies, the food itself, and the many individuals and complex systems that sustain us.

 

 

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In the picture below, a couple of our hens are enjoying one of their first spring days outside. April 2016. They’re little more than scrappy balls of molting feathers, but over the course of four months, they will blossom into full-fledged hens.

During their first winter – despite the fierce weather20160913_114400 (1), which hit us especially hard up here in the hills outside Portland – our girls kept on laying. And laying. And laying. Every afternoon after work, I’d trudge through the snow or rain or sleet to collect a handful of brown, still-warm eggs, often nested beneath a cooing, broody hen.

Frittatas. Egg scrambles. Sunday apple baked pancakes, and other baked goods. Soon we were giving eggs for birthday presents, as thank you’s and house-warming gifts. You get the picture. Our refrigerator filled up with eggs and meanwhile, I started fantasizing about getting more chicks. It was official – I was turning into the Chicken Lady. (more…)

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Some of you might be familiar with his previous books, most notably The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but this short little book is very much worth checking out. Read a brief review – and some of Pollan’s tips – in a Huffington Post article. Advertised, and truthfully so, I believe, as “the perfect guide for anyone who ever wondered, ‘What should I eat?'”

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