Hello folks, judilicious & nutritious is still fairly young and that is why it is important to me to plant this virtual seed of a fig tree in the very beginning. I want to share with you what this all stands upon, the fundament of what I do, the pillars of my recipes, the chopsticks to my sushi, so to speak. To me, mindfulness is a way of living and shaping our inner and outer surroundings. It does not stop there, it entails everything and anything we do and say and think and eat. So when reading my posts and cooking my recipes, do not forget to stay present, to be mindful, to really enjoy each and every step towards your meal, including the ultimate reward of closing your eyes and tasting what you created. Now, let’s dig a little deeper.
Cooking does not exclude mindfulness
When practising mindfulness, any task can be done mindfully. That is the ultimate goal, do we all agree? Whether you are washing the dishes, watering the plants, folding the laundry, feeding your dog (♥), chopping fresh herbs or sitting down to eat, we should aim to do it mindfully. The reason I am writing about this is because this is a food blog (did you notice that yet?) and I will be posting about many recipes, ingredients and ways of preparing them. Along with that goes the risk of being distracted by the social media platforms through which I reach you, being absorbed by the sometimes stressful event of doing groceries to cook dinner and neither paying attention to the way our food tastes nor where it comes from.
But aren’t our minds already full enough?
At first, the term struck me as incoherent with the constant influx of information, images and social media. I wondered “why do we want to do things mindfully, shouldn’t we rather try to empty our minds and turn off this constant flow of thought?” Let’s break it down: the important difference here is this: that to be mindful means to be present. Not being present means to be mindless. Being mindful is to allow the here and now to be all that matters. To give our full attention, our whole mind, our entire being to the present task. Whether that’s seeing or touching or hearing or tasting. This does not mean that thoughts aren’t allowed to come in, but rather that we should not analyse them and instead simply be aware that they are there. Allow them to exist as a part of us, and let go of them again. Try not to dive into their depth and be consumed by them.
The same goes for eating. With all types of foods available at every street corner, with us being so incredibly busy that we won’t even take the twenty minutes it takes to sit down and eat, with us looking at our phone and laptop screens while eating, we are becoming mindless. We do not pay attention to the food we are allowing into our bodies, we do not admire the vast colours and rich tastes, we do not thank mother earth for providing us with the nourishment we need. We simply gobble it down, already thinking of where we need to be and what we need to do. There is absolutely no point in this. There is no real satisfaction, nor is there true pleasure we get out of eating. I have done this many times, without being aware of it. Food is such a passion of mine and I spent many days counting the hours until the next meal, filling the space in between with mindless activities. Now you’d think that with all that anticipation for my next meal, I would be very present and enjoying every single bite. Nah ah. Didn’t happen. Oftentimes, the anticipation for the meal was bigger than the joy I actually got out of eating it. Now, isn’t that ironic?
Since I am more aware of mindfulness, I implement it in my daily life, including meal times. I try to live more mindfully every day and because food and cooking are such big parts of my life, I practise a lot when doing groceries, trying out recipes, tasting different flavours, sitting down to eat a meal and washing up after. Every single step along the way can be performed in full presence, with wholesome attention and a mind that is not distracted by worries, past events or future plans. This is what it means to be nourished.
A very wise man
I recently discovered the works of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, poet, scholar and human rights activist. His insights are an eye (and heart) opener for me and I would love to share some with you. They’ve helped me to reflect and grasp the simplicity of what mindfulness represents. Such as eating a tangerine just to eat the tangerine, appreciating its glowing red-orangey colour, its fruity taste, its origin and the people who’ve contributed to growing it. An entire world hides in that tangerine and I urge you to pay closer attention to its shapes, its texture, its natural existence. Just take a moment to look at the food that you are eating and recognize the earth’s precious soil in it. Its roots, its dirt, its rain, its sun, all combined in this piece of perfection.
To eat without thinking is to eat in freedom. – Thich Nhat Hanh
Take your time to eat, chew your food properly (which is also good for the digestive process as enzymes start to be released in your saliva), stay present, honour the food that earth has provided and is now available for you to nourish your body with. With this mindset, you will become more and more satisfied with the food you are eating, you will be more grateful for being able to eat food that is fresh and nourishes you and you will get better at listening to what is best for your body. The purpose of eating is to eat and be nourished, that’s the secret, nothing more and nothing less. Go out and buy a tangerine (or ideally you pick it straight from a tree), you will not regret it!
During the time you eat a tangerine, eating that tangerine is the most important thing in your life. – Thich Nhat Hanh