This is the third entry for this topic.
The last time I shared that what is in our kitchens can lead us to eat more. If you get bored and can reach in the cabinet for chips, soda, candy, canned food items or anything filled with chemicals then it becomes easy to indulge. If you eat in front of the television with commercials bombarding you, it becomes easy to overeat or eat unhealthy choices. If you can make it a daily challenge to eat only at the table, to cook only health meals, to not purchase fast food on the way home you are making the right decisions for your health. The first time I sat down to eat after my children left home I made a decision that I would not allow myself to eat in front of the television. I made my dinner – stir fry with chicken and vegetables – played Enya and lit a candle. Then I sat with my food and ate slowly and mindfully. That was a changing point in my life. Although back then I still had processed food and indulged in some junk food. Sitting at the table while eating became my way to enjoy dining whether the children were with me or not.
That was over ten years ago. Recently I went on the Whole30 challenge with my youngest daughter. It taught me quite a bit because I had to read every label to avoid all sugar, additives, soy, legumes, grains, and corn. So after cleaning and rearranging my house it was time to go back through my cabinets and remove what little processed food remained. After decluttering my home I wanted to do the same for my body. At this point in my life I am looking at food as nourishment, not enjoyment. This change has assisted me in losing weight and focusing on being mindful about how and when I nourish my body.
It is really not our fault. We are bombarded by television commercials that focus on food and make it look like it is part of relationships, lifts our emotions and brings happiness to our family gatherings. My questions is — How we can make ourself feel good by allowing the media and businesses to determine what is good for us?
Food is really for nourishment and the processed food we purchase is empty calories that many times poison our body and affect our physical and mental health. If we can change our behaviors and only bring in what is nourishing to our body, mind and soul then we can change our lives. One thing you can do is shop the periphery of the grocery stores avoiding the middle aisles and end caps. Read labels and you will be surprised at the amount of sugar in products, even those you wouldn’t think sugar belongs. Do a little research and discover all the names for sugar and sugar substitutes. Remember the soy products that were supposed to be good for us. Research a little and you will discover that businesses have moved in and eliminated those health benefits just like they did with corn and grain products. I have eliminated condiments and almost all canned food from my cabinets. Only crushed tomatoes remain however those I purchase have no added sugar and only three ingredients. If there are more than five ingredients on the label I avoid the products. As a result my diet consists of fresh vegetables, fruits, and high quality meat which means I eat less food but highly nutritious food. I have been able to shed 15 pounds and kept it off for several months.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself. I still treat myself to an occasional dark chocolate, latte, or a few chips but it isn’t an everyday occurrence. A treat is just that – something that happens once a week or every couple of weeks. When I do treat myself I am very mindful of the experience. If I am having a piece of chocolate I will sit down and look at the smoothness of the dark piece lying in front of me. I will touch the surface with my finger then slowly take a small bite appreciating the feel of the sweet smooth bar on my tongue. As I bite into the chocolate I take a second to feel the break under the pressure of my teeth noticing the small segments as they scatter across my tongue. It is a process that allows me to slowly enjoy the experience. This is what will last until the next time I decide to treat myself. I do the same with a small bag of chips as the saltiness of each piece breaks off scattering in mouth soaking up the saliva on my tongue. I listen to the crunching of the chip as my teeth break it apart. It becomes a very mindful experience which brings more joy to the random indulgence.
I am stepping back to enjoy the experiences in my life whether that be the feel of watermelon on my tongue with the cool sweetness it provides or the sourness of the lemon as it squirts into my mouth and makes me pucker. Just as my house provides me with a sanctuary, my food provides me with pleasurable nourishment.
If this has inspired you to look at the way you eat, what you purchase in the grocery store and why I would love to hear from you. Even if you take one thing out of your cabinet, start reading labels, and eat at the table instead of in front of the television or on the fly I hope that you can look at food differently. It is up to you whether you make the right decisions, whether you allow the media to control your decisions, or whether you take a stand to improve your life. I hope that you will at least time time to think about the way you nourish your body.
Love and Light,