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Posts Tagged ‘mindful eating’

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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girl-cooking-soup-ladle-home-47328087Yesterday I made an old favorite, Split Pea Soup with Frizzled Ham, from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook. More of an autumn gal, personally, I was thrilled by the morning’s cloud cover and seized the brief spell of cool weather as justification for a kettle of soup. Plus, I love this particular recipe – I’d heard Mark speak at the Schnitzer a few years ago when he was promoting his book and felt a certain affinity for the fellow food enthusiast.

Soup making is a ritual; one I’ve learned to treasure over the years. A way to slow down, savor, and fill up -not just belly, but heart. (more…)

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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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SONY DSCIs mindful eating a practice that is beneficial to everyone, or is it just for the wealthy, the self-indulgent, or the foodie few?

For a number of years, I’ve actively promoted mindful eating as a helpful set of practices which can increase awareness, pleasure, and balance in our relationship with food.  I believe mindful eating practices benefit everyone, and a growing body of research supports this conclusion. At the same time, I need to keep working on conveying a more inclusive message.

I haven’t explicitly addressed the reality that many women regularly face: a reality where they have little time for meal planning or food preparation, limited resources to purchase the foods that might be received best by their bodies, or little support in a life that already overflows with responsibilities to children, employers, aging parents or other family members.

tired-working-woman

The thing is – and folks, you’ve heard me say this before – it’s not just about meal planning or food choices. It’s not simply about willpower, or a lack of knowledge regarding basic nutrition (although we do sometimes hold some distorted beliefs about “good” and “bad” foods). It’s about how we approach our experiences of eating in general, and about our relationship with our bodies, as well. (more…)

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Family Eating BreakfastIf you are interested in learning more about the Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training program as it was developed by Dr. Jean Kristeller, Ph.D., and perhaps want to check out her book or related resource, her website is worth a visit. The Emotional Eating Worksheet (at the very bottom of the page), in particular, could be a useful self-monitoring tool to learn more about the relationship between your emotions, stressful situations, and eating habits. If you use this form to gather information, however, remember to bring lots of self-compassionate “seasoning” to your experience!

As Dr. Kristeller reminds us, “mindfulness can help bring balance into every aspect of how we eat. It involves cultivating a combination of “inner wisdom” (awareness of how our body and mind are responding), and “outer wisdom” (engaging nutrition information and recommendations to meet your own personal needs and preferences)…”

Enjoy!

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fork and plateRonna Kabatznick, Ph.D., a Center for Mindful Eating (TCME) Board Member and an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF, offers some advice on how to set up a daily mindful eating practice.

 

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I learned a lot during this past weekend’s free virtual mindful eating event, and I hope you did too. During future monthly events, I plan to offer only one video and related posting at a scheduled time (likely 9am on a Saturday). Short(er), sweet, and focused is the goal, beginning with a rationale, leading into a guided exercise, and inviting you to develop your own plan for implementation.

By engaging more fully and intentionally with our eating experience, and “listening” to physical sensations such as hunger or fullness, sensory information, emotions, and thoughts, we gain access to information that we can use to guide our decisions in the future…beginning with this: the very next moment. And all of the moments that follow, too.

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