Health Matters,  KJ's Kitchen

Eat mindfully

I am not very good when it comes to mealtime and following my “golden rule” to eat mindfully. I am always being distracted by a book, a newspaper, a television program or my smartphone. If we eat mindfully, we are concentrating on eating, the food, the experience, the taste and what is happening with our body as we eat. Ideally, to eat mindfully I concentrate on one activity at a time. Sometimes this is a very difficult task for me when I am a multi-task type of person.

On the other hand, conversation when having a meal is not so much a distraction as it gives us time to pause, time to digest and savour the sight of our food, while we are mindful of talking to another person for a short time.

When we eat mindfully it allows us to fully concentrate on what we are doing and as we do this we may even find we eat less. I am starting the experiment. I started a few days ago. I want to fully experience my food, enjoy it and enjoy the moment of time as I eat mindfully. At lunch time today I went out on a tangent (a better way to say I failed!) and read the Sunday Newspaper while I had my lunch.  How does such a habit develop? Does it happen because we eat alone or does it happen because we are so busy and develop the habit of multi-tasking? However it happens, it has happened to me and now it is up to me to break the habit of multi-tasking at mealtime. I know it will be better for me if I concentrate on one thing at mealtime – and just eat mindfully.

But it is one thing to eat mindfully and another to be mindful of what we eat! I like to follow the 2&5 rule; two pieces of fruit a day and 5 vegetables a day. To achieve the 5 vegetables a day I have developed the habit of making coleslaw and having this with a salad at lunch time, most days of the week. My coleslaw consists of cabbage, carrot, capsicum and onion – 4 vegetables, add tomato and beetroot and now there are six! My “One & Only” and I also like our “one slice salad sandwich” (OSSS)  – see the photo below of my OSSS made on a slice of Swedish Rye Bread. We also usually add ham and mustard to the OSSS to give it that extra delicious flavour. It also tastes better if I eat mindfully as I am fully aware of the sensation and experiences of eating the food.

Enjoy a one slice salad sandwich to get your 5 vegetables a day
Enjoy a one slice salad sandwich to get your 5 vegetables a day

While I practice eating mindfully I have to eliminate a few items from my grocery shopping, if I am being mindful of what I eat. One of these is Hollandaise Sauce in a packet. It is such an easy option but there are all sorts of emulsifiers and stabilisers, anti-caking agent, modified starch, colour and the list goes on. There is a healthier alternative and I have it at my fingertips. All I have to do is take a few minutes to make my own. I have an easy recipe and I am determined I will make it this week when we have a fish meal. Are there healthier alternatives you are dishing up in your kitchen? I would love to hear about them to encourage me in my cooking so I can enjoy my meal even more while I eat mindfully.

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