An Exercise In Conscious Eating
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates.
Organic food & herbs from the earth can nourish our bodies, delight our taste buds, perfume our olfaction, vitalize our creative juices, and satisfy our innate gravitation toward beauty.
Our meals are almost always enhanced by the vibrant colors that adorn the plate. They remind us of & infuse us with the powers of the Elements of nature that permeate all of life - the greens of wood, reds of fire, yellows of earth, silver/gold of metal, and the blues of water.
In Winter time we are focused on the Kidneys, the Water Element, and deep dark, hearty, warm tonifying meals. As I sit here watching the rain fall outside my window, wondering how much longer this unusually wintery Santa Barbara Winter will grace us with its presence, I have to admit I’ve been spending quite a bit of time daydreaming about Summer.
When discussing nutrition, however, we are naturally led to the element of our center: Earth. In late summer the Earth season, we aim to incorporate more yellow & orange whole foods into our kitchen to support our Spleen & Stomach (the primary organs of digestion according to Chinese Medicine). There are so many reasons to intentionally bring more natural color into your diet, but our favorite is simply the sheer pleasure it elicits in our beings. And we know that eating is so much more than just a physical act. You can enhance your digestion, and therefore your vitality, by consciously engaging your miraculous mind-body-spirit in the act of consumption.
Steps for happy, mindful eating:
Shop locally - we are huge fans of our local farmers markets (or even grow your own!). Get to know the people who grow your food, ask questions about how it is cultivated, harvested, etc., where it comes from, and how it might best be enjoyed!
Prepare your food with love and intentionality. Slow down, chop mindfully, cook lightly, get creative, make it fun, try something new. Seek out the help of cookbooks, knowledgeable nutritionists or other practitioners, friends, and family.
Sit down to the table with those you love (whether in thought or in the flesh). Take three slow deep belly breaths to enter the present moment and move into your parasympathetic nervous system (the "rest & digest" mode).
Give thanks to all of the forces that contribute to the food on your plate and the soft animal of your body that gifts you the experience of eating
Maintain that yummy state of gratitude and receptivity as you chew each bite fully, savoring the textures, tastes and temperatures that land upon your tongue. There’s a saying in Chinese medicine: “It’s better to eat the wrong food with the right attitude than the right food with the wrong attitude.”
May your mealtimes be joyful, nutritious, delicious, soul-lifting, life-affirming, colorful, mindful moments of bliss.
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