On a more serious note, as I was enjoying a piece of dark chocolate embedded with red chili peppers this afternoon, I was flooded with pleasure and it came to mind how concerned we are with food. My husband is away on a trip, so I have not been cooking much. What I have cooked, like curried rice and sweet potatoes, I am perfectly happy eating over the course of several days. It's come down to a sort of minimalism, eating the left-overs, using the same bowl and cup (rinsing after each meal rather than using the dishwasher), having a square of chocolate after a small meal, and feeling fully satisfied. Yes, we have turned into an obese nation, and it's sad to see other cultures around the world who are beginning to adopt the western diet and falling down the same rabbit hole. But Marc David, in his book, The Slow Down Diet, talks about how we get stuck in the idea that because foods like chocolate "are bad for you", eating them under any circumstances is bad. Then the researchers say, no, chocolate (dark in particular) is good for you because it contains antioxidants and magnesium when in fact, both sides are right. What matters is how much we eat...too much of anything, even water, can be toxic. I like the idea of "slow foods"...eating in a relaxed, aware and celebratory manner and enjoying what we eat; that's how the French stay thin (think of thick buttery sauces), by not overeating, and staying conscious while eating (distractions such as TV, working on the computer, even reading a book puts on pounds).
It took a silent meditation retreat a few years back to help me understand this; all meals were taken in silence, which forced us to pay attention to the texture, temperature and flavors of the food, and to consciously eat slower. And although I love the lively conversations around the dinner table, this taught me to pay attention to the act of eating and was a lesson to take home and put into practice while sharing meals with family and friends.
For more information and guidance about conscious eating, click on Jacqui Brooks' blog:
May we give thanks, enjoy our food, and eat it slowly...