It's snowing at the cabin today which means our usual spotty internet has given up and snuggled in next to the fire so I'm sitting at Whole Foods enjoying good wifi and outstanding people watching. A couple in their 60's is dressed head-to-toe in yellow track suits (Big Bird yellow, they're utterly fabulous). They're taking turns giggling, talking and feeding each other. I want to hug them. I also reeeeeeeeeally want to take their picture but I will respect their space and take a mental image instead.
The girl at the table next to me is about my age, younger probably since I'm 37 now and just like that I've left the category where everyone is about my age. She's wearing yoga pants, ugg boots and a sweater. My immediate thought is that she's friend material. She has a slice of cheese pizza and a coconut water. She's eating so quickly while on her phone that it was making me feel nervous. I keep thinking --- "chewwwwww, your stomach doesn't have teeth." As soon as I noticed what was happening I took a deep breath and grounded myself by feeling my feet, my connection to this seat and this body.
Of course as I sit down to write a blog post about the energy that we bring to our meals these people would be sitting here illustrating contrast in real life. The cute older couple will have the opportunity to feel their bodies, know when they are full and respond in kind thanks to the happiness bubble they've created. The girl will likely not be able to check in with her body because she's moving so quickly and doing so many things at once.
How we eat is just as important if not MORE important than what we eat.
Yes, it's a good idea to eat healthy foods. That will always be true. But there's so much more to explore here. The energy that you bring to your meals is HUGE.
I have been experimenting with my own mindset around food lately (and you know how I love a good experiment!). I'm finding over and over again that HOW I eat, the environment I create for myself, the things I say to myself while eating, the way I chew and when I stop eating all effects how the food digests and my own body image.
There's an old story about a wise business man who would always do his deals over dinner. How the meal went down would inform how the deal went down! Powerful, right!
Here's what I've been noticing:
Intention is everything. If I sit down to eat a meal with the intention that it will serve my body well, provide nourishment and leave me feeling light and good it does just that. When I eat without setting intention I tend to overeat and feel incomplete after the meal. Also at meals when I eat with intention for the highest good of my body I feel thin, fit and healthy. At meals when I neglect setting intention I feel thick, slow and judgey about my body.
Taste, Texture and Breathing are helpers. As long as I am aware of (and come back to) my breath while I'm eating I tend to stay present to the taste and texture of the food and I'll immediately notice when it no longer tastes good. It's a literal sensation on my tongue - it feels like a coating that signals to me that it's time to pause and ask my body if it's complete with that food.
Be in conversation with your body. That's what mindful eating is all about for me. Have you had enough? Would you like some more? This tastes good to me, how does it feel to you? In the early stages it feels like a lot of work to open up this dialogue but soon you'll be engaged in the conversation effortlessly. Of all the work I've done over the years joining on the same team as my body has been one of the most worthy practices. Cultivate the conversation, work with your body and let it help you get to where you want to be!
Something for you to try:
- What if you brought the belief that everything that enters your mouth is going to expertly nourish your body?
- What if you could sincerely look at your food and see it's potential no matter what it is? You'll find that you become an expert truth teller and foods that have little potential begin to feel like the fakes that they are.
- What if you really looked at your food and said thank you to it before you began eating?
Give these a try for a day and see what you notice. Get ready for your mind to be blown.
Collard Green Stir Fry
I made this stir fry this week and Cliff asked if we could have it weekly so I figure it deserves a recipe share!
- 1 bunch collards, remove center stalk, chop or tear the leaves
- 1 small head broccoli (about 2 cups when chopped)
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled into strips
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 box soba noodles
- *1 egg (optional)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2-3 tbsp braggs liquid aminos
- 2-3 tbsp cashew butter
- Add oil, garlic and onion to stir fry pan
- Cook until the onions are clear
- Add broccoli, carrots and zucchini and stir fry until broccoli begins to soften
- Add collards and cook over medium/low heat until they wilt
- Add sauce mixture when the pan needs deglazing and cook until the veggies are soft
In a separate pot boil water and cook soba noodles
- Serve stir fry over noodles adding salt + pepper to taste
*Optional add over-easy egg to the bottom of the pile! I served Cliff's with an egg with tomato diced in