Yesterday I posted a recipe for my Keto Ramen. As I took my full bowl in my hands, the warmth of the broth drew me into the moment. I love to focus on heat. It calms me, it soothes me, it makes me feel secure. I closed my eyes for a moment to savor the comfort.
With my eyes closed I could smell. I imagined the cartoony cloud of scent, swirling over my bowl and around my nose. I began to feel the difference in my mouth. The lovely aroma had triggered my salivary glands, and my body prepared for delicious food.
I was excited to finally taste it, and it was delicious. It warmed me from the inside- yes, obviously the heat from the broth, but more than that too. I was warmed by the accomplishment of making something delicious, something nourishing. Being successful and fruitful, providing for my family- there was more satisfied in that moment than my hunger.
Giving up processed food has been difficult for my husband, less so for me. I like knowing what’s going into the things I eat, and I enjoy therapeutic art of cooking. Similar to meditating, cooking lets me slow down and focus. It’s grounding and centering. It has a clear purpose, (feed and nourish) but also allows room for creativity (flavor, texture, temperature, plating.)
The need for producing food has been around since the dawn of life. There’s the obvious perk of cooking your own food to make healthy. There’s also a bonus of saving money, versus eating out. Cooking can be so much more than that.. So much more than checking that dinner box on your to-do list. It can be an opportunity to work on *you.*
Preparing meals for the family is a necessary task, so it’s a good chance to turn it into a positive, mindful experience. Being present in a small task, such as chopping vegetables, keeps our brains working with small motor movement. When our bodies do something mildly physical, the brain naturally wants to focus on what’s in front of us, resulting in organic mindfulness.
Creativity found in cooking has been shown to improve memory and intellect. Preparing food in a low-stress environment boosts happiness and confidence. Being able to take your time and focus on the preparation strengthens your bond with your meal, inducing feelings of both physical and emotional fullness.
Recipes and techniques are typically learned from observation and modeling. Preparing food can often become nostalgic as we reminisce about the friends and family who taught us our skills. Family traditions begin to surface in our minds, even happy memories of family gatherings and meals. Making dinner can increase your connection to family, and even become a platform for bonding with your cultural roots.
The best part for me is the appreciation for the food I have, for I know what it has been through. I do not take it for granted. It can not be replaced by reheating another box from the freezer. It may be replicated again with the same recipe, but it will never again be exactly like this one. It is mine, and it is my effort.
I find all of this incredibly helpful in overcoming my binge eating disorder. Slowly, mindfully preparing food reduces my desire to overeat. I appreciate what is on my plate, instead of mindlessly rushing for seconds. Being able to immerse myself in the process, from preparation to consumption, elongates my time with the food. I feel more satisfied and often like I’ve eaten more than I have because I’ve been exposed to the aroma for so long. I’ve been able to leave the “clean plate club,” stopping when I’m full instead of when we run out of food.
You have to eat today, so try making it a positive experience. What can you take from your meal aside from nourishment? How do you feel eating your food? What did you think of as you prepared it? Try it, and see if you find mindfulness like I did.
With healthy hearts,
Kate and the Kids.