Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Eating mindfully in May

It seems in the last few weeks, we're hearing more and more about food shortages all over the world. With so many people already starving, the situation is only getting worse in what some experts are calling a "perfect storm" of events.  While some go to bed hungry not knowing from where their next meal will come, and other starve to death, my life hasn't been impacted one bit. Sure, food is a little more expensive and the network news stations have been talking about rice shortages, but in a country with so much abundance, most of us will just eat one of a million other choices. This overabundance has been bothering me. I've had some "poor" months when I was single - eating lots of beans and rice so that I could afford other things, but I have never, not once in my life gone hungry.  And now at home I find I have this horrible habit of grazing my way through the afternoon hours until Dave comes home. Yeah, I may be a little hungry, after all, since I don't drive I get a lot of exercise in the day getting from point A to point B, but much of what I am nibbling on is excess (those extra sweets, that extra slice of bread).  

Having been continuously inspired by other bloggers and books like Michael Pollen's Omnivore's Dillema and In Defense of Food, and Barbara Kingslover's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I've taken a lot of steps in the last year towards transforming the way I eat to all whole and local foods.  But I've been feeling that perhaps it is time to take another step.  Blue Collar Crunch blogged last week on a post entitled "Eat simply so that others may simply eat."  With this topic already on my mind, her post moved me. So the next day when she announced she would host a Diet for Global Hunger Action, I decided to jump on board.  You can check out her site to see the rules, but it's basically eating whole, non-processed foods, buying locally, eating low on the food chain, and taking action to combat global hunger (writing letters, talking to people about it, etc - she has links on her site to more ideas on how to take action).  

Having been on a local eating experiment for the last six months, I am already actively involved in many of the things she mentions.  So, I'd like to take the challenge one step further, to an area where I feel I'm falling short - mindfullness in eating. Mindfulness is nothing more than allowing your mind to rest in the present moment, observe what you are thinking, how you feel, and what is happening in the world around you. So, here's my plan.  For the month of May, every day I will:
  1. Meditate (my favorites are Meditation Oasis and The Meditation Podcast)
  2. Sit down while I eat (no nibbling while cooking or eating standing up)
  3. Enjoy at least one meal per day in the company of someone else
  4. Eat slowly (no rushing to move on to something else)
  5. Do nothing else while I'm eating (no multi-tasking: no watching a movie, reading a book, or working - just eating)
It comes down to stopping everything else and just enjoying the meal. Twenty years ago, this might have been a no-brainer, but I've allowed my life to become so busy that enjoying food for its own sake seems to be too much of a luxury. We just don't have time, right? So I've decided I'm going to make time to eat mindfully, because so many don't even have very nourishment I'm taking for granted. I'll be posting updates throughout the month so I can keep track of how I'm doing and what struggles I am having.  If you'd like to join me, check out Blue Collar Crunch's site (I'll put the logo on the sidebar for easy access). 

Happy (and mindful) eating!


Melissa said...

the do nothing else while eating is the thing I have a hard time with...working on it though!

CindyW said...

Most of us take eating mindfully for granted. We tend to stuff ourselves without actually tasting every bite. It's interesting to watch my kids eat. The older one devours her meal within minutes. The younger one chews every bite for a long time. I usually get really impatient with the younger one, "chew and swallow already! Otherwise we won't have time for a bedtime story" Now I don't actually believe the younger one necessarily savors every bite, but my approach probably needs some modification. Otherwise they may grow up with a wrong attitude toward food - treating it as sustenance only instead of joy. Thanks for the reminder.