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Rainbow heart of fruits and vegetables

https://newfoodeconomy.org/culinary-meal-as-medicine-mindful-eating-trauma-anxiety-disorder/

A must-read article, which explores the notion that “food, and the very rituals of eating, could also have the power to heal afflictions of the mind.” Check out the following statements by Jeffrey Zurofsky, the culinary director of a treatment center in California, who also sits on an advisory board at the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts:

“It’s not just that food can affect and change emotions…but that the entire act of eating, the physical process—farm to table in the most literal sense—can be analogous to the trauma healing process.

We talk about understanding of, and comprehension around, what is the true healing power of this food,” he says. “The ideas around the transformative power of not just food, but the table, and the context in which we enjoy our food, and the memories we create, and the social connections that we make in that experience—how powerful that is to heal us.”

Zurofsky even has a name for the approach: the meal as medicine.

 

Words to live by, in 2018 as well!

a Mindful Meal

between stimulus and response.jpg

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For 2018

Love After Love

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you have ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

 

Derek Walcott, Collected Poems 1948-1984.

A reminder

Family Eating Breakfast

Not White, Not Rich, and Seeking Therapy: “Even for those with insurance, getting mental healthcare means fighting through phone tag, payment confusion, and even outright discrimination…”

If I can’t see you, I’ll direct you to someone who can. Don’t give up. Therapy works.

 

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.

 

 

eating-food-with-mindfulnessLet’s face it, many pictures that we’ve seen associated with the mindful eating “movement” depict some version of a thin woman eating a big bowl of salad, or an overweight woman triumphantly choosing an apple over a cheeseburger. As if there were true “good” versus “bad” foods (or bodies), and one could earn a mindful eating “badge of honor” for overcoming all of those pesky cravings for fried foods and instead proclaiming a newfound love of kale.

As a mindful eating educator for over 10 years, I’m less interested in what you choose to put in your body, than how you choose to eat. Continue Reading »