Savor the flavor

So although today is Wednesday and I will be joining in on the traditional party, I won’t be sticking to the theme at all. This is going to be more or less me rambling with a photo dump thrown in there ;). So here goes.

 

One thing I’ve really been trying to focus on recently is the ability to enjoy my food and eat slowly and mindfully. This is a key concept of intuitive eating (more of this topic in a future post), and one that I agree with 100%. Unfortuntalty it’s one I often fail to put into practice, and that I struggle to find balance with.

 

Oats are back! After a long break a week of rainy weather brought them back – with yogurt, sour cherries, banana and dark chocolate -yum!

I seem to go between two extremes – one where I become obsessed with planning the perfect meal, getting the perfect balance of nutritents, eating at exact times in an exact way (obsessive!) and not wanting to think about food at all, eating very repetitive “convenience foods”, scarfing my food down in 5 minutes flat and not listening to my hunger/fullness cues. This last point might not be so bad if I pushed myself beyond my fullness point a little more often then not – but sadly this isn’t the case. What happens more often is I’m still a bit hungry , but I just decide to “wait it out” till my next meal because I simply can’t be bothered to grab anything else to eat.

Both extremes in my opinion are unhealthy, but it’s taking a real effort on my part to find a balance between them. I want to be spontaneous in my eating, be able to enjoy random treats here and there without freaking out if something doesn’t go according to plan. On the other hand, having some sort of a plan is helpful, especially if you find yourself very busy with an unpredictable schedule. Also, if you have struggled with disordered eating in the past chances are your first choices aren’t always the right ones.

 

 

More breakfast love – oatmeal with cherries (frozen and sour) and almonds. Oat bran cooked in soya milk with flax and almonds.

The way I eat my food is generally a reflection of how I view food. Either I put it on a pedestal as the secret to living a healthy life and freak out if I don’[t get the perfect balance of food groups and don’t eat perfectly clean 100% of the time. Or I almost loath it and treat it like a chore, rather than a pleasure;  then it becomes something I’d rather not do but since I have to, I grab something and get it over with as quickly as possible.

 

Leftover love- leftover pasta, kidney beans, sauted zucchini, eggs, cheese and ketchup – and obviously someone got a little too hungry before snapping a picture 😉

But the truth is that food is fuel, but it is also enjoyment. Eating is an experience you share with loved ones and family – it’s memories, laughter, conversation around the table.  Eating can be an adventure of discovering new textures and flavours. It’s also enjoyment and pleasure.  It’s not some sacred ritual that can never be changed, but it’s also not something to be suffered through simply because it’s a necessary part of life.

 

Lovin’ French toast recently

That being said I am  trying to learn to savor my food without obsessing about it. There are times I eat “on the go” because sometimes eating quickly is better than not eating at all. But I’m trying to have at least 2-3 meals a day where I can sit down and enjoy it. Pre-planning is also something I need to work on, because of my IBS and other weird stomach issues I need to eat slower, chew my food properly and eat the right kinds of foods (less dairy etc.). My family is not big on joint meals at all, but I’m also trying to implement that into routine, because I think it’s a great way to bond and keep in touch with all the other members of the family.

 

So here are the small changes I am trying to make into my life in order to really savor the flavor:

–          Allow enough time in the morning for proper breakfasts. I’ve become sort of a night owl recently, so I’ve been waking up late = not having time for a proper breakfast so scarfing down a bowl of cereal has been my first choice. But since breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I DO notice the difference when I eat a proper breakfast or not, I try to make time for it.

–          Not getting too hungry before I start cooking. Chances are if I’m starving once I get into the kitchen – I just grab the first thing that’s around and call it a meal. Also at that point I don’t eat, I inhale my food – and I don’t have time to listen to my hunger cues. Also, my digestion isn’t the greatest after that – if you know what I mean.

 

Rainy day lentil soup with a slice of toast and cottage cheese

 

–          Eating with family members. Eating with someone else is much more enjoyable (in my opinion) then eating alone. There’s that whole extra element of bonding and conversation that really enhances the process so much more. Same goes with cooking – it’s way more fun when done as a team sport 😉

 

 

A morning baking  project followed by snack – oatmeal raisin cookies with milk

–          Cooking foods I enjoy. When you put thought and preparation into a meal, eating it is a much more enjoyable experience then if you just slap two pieces of bread together with cheese and call it a meal (been guilty of this on more then one occasion)

 

A delicious family dinner – Greek split pea hummus with veggies and unpictured flat bread. I enjoyed this immensely

 

This week I’ve already been making an effort to implement this concept, and the pictures are proof of that. They’re not all beautiful, but you can bet I enjoyed every bite 😉

If you are really busy, what are your tips for eating balanced, wholesome meals?

Do you cook most of your meals, or do you rely a lot on convenience food?

What’s the balance between eating mindfully and obsessing about food?

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9 comments

  1. i try to enjoy my meals and take time to savour them. i even make salads for the office the day before so i would have something proper for lunch. most of my colleagues rely on convenience food and the same sandwiches every day which i could not do if i sit at a desk 8 hours a day. like you said though it is not always perfect and it does not make sense to obsess about it. you should never stress about what is healthIER and BETTER etc.. food is part of our lives and nourishes us but obsessing about it just makes you stressed and you wont enjoy a meal out or with your friends. finding a balance takes time but is totally worth it 🙂

  2. I can totally relate to being obsessive with planned meals, exchanges, and eating times, and then other times not wanting to think of it, not tasting food, and eating like a chore just to get it in. It’s either one or the other, never an in between! I think eating with others helps to be mindful while eating or make it a goal before eating.

    If I know I’m going to be busy, pre planning works, but can also get very frustrating for me. I’ll usual cook the night before so I can just grab and go.

  3. When I know I have a busy week ahead, I spend a couple hours on Sunday preparing some food that I can make into lunches and snacks for the coming week, such as a batch of hummus or a cold bean salad. I try to plan breakfast ahead of time too, things like overnight oats or a batch of granola bars. I prefer to cook most of my own food so I that I know what’s going in it. I enjoy taking time to eat and I don’t want to have to eat convenience foods that I don’t like or eating the same thing everyday. But you’re right; it’s definitely a challenge to balance eating mindfully without obsessing about food. I try to remind myself that food is to be enjoyed, but it shouldn’t be the primary source of enjoyment in my day. If all I think about it food, I’m missing out on a lot of other enjoyable experiences.

  4. Yum! Your french toasts look awesome. I’m sad to say that I rely a lot on convenience foods. I’m a terrible planner, but I’m seriously trying to change that!

  5. I do the same thing as Laura. On Sundays I’ll prep up a large batch of some kind of main dish, a side dish, beans, a grain, hummus, and bread if I’m out. I also freeze batches of veggie burgers, pancakes, and tortillas.

    I think Laura also summed up the balance thing quite well: “I try to remind myself that food is to be enjoyed, but it shouldn’t be the primary source of enjoyment in my day. If all I think about it food, I’m missing out on a lot of other enjoyable experiences.” – I just eat slowly enough to make sure I don’t have a stomach ache later and do my best to enjoy what I have in front of me.

  6. I cook most of my meals. I’m insanely busy and find that planning takes a lot of the pressure off. I keep a spreadsheet with my meals for the week. That way there’s never that “OMG I’m starving and I don’t know what to eat” moments, and I don’t waste groceries. I also prep as much as I can ahead of time.


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