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Posts Tagged ‘food justice’

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!” (more…)

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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. (more…)

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Hollywood winter farmers market 2019

Last Saturday, I visited the Hollywood Farmer’s Market (open every other week during the winter months) and feasted on the usual albeit smaller displays of local food, plants, and produce. From the Persephone Farm stand 

(http://www.persephonefarmoregon.com/), I purchased an aborscht.jpgssortment of beets, which I used to make my first homemade batch of borscht. Who doesn’t love a pot of hearty soup on a cold February evening? And the experience was especially meaningful as part of efforts to connect with my family’s Eastern European roots.

What personal connection can you make with food, in the coming week? Can you experiment with a new dish, or purchase produce directly from a local grower? Find a way to “lean in” that is congruent with your budget and lifestyle – it might be as simple as adding a new fresh herb (purchased from your nearest grocery store or snipped from a neighbor’s patio container – with their permission, of course!) to one of your meals. Or visiting one of the local winter farmer’s markets available throughout the Portland-metro area, and allowing time to savor, with all of the senses: http://www.portlandfarmersmarket.org/

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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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