For better or worse, we are living in a frenetic world unless you are one of the lucky few that live someplace like the Scandinavian Countries or Bhutan. Food can be our ally or our enemy. The brilliance is that we get to choose. We can indifferently stuff our faces with the proverbial twinkies and fries or we can mindfully approach the feeding our ourselves. Many people will argue that food is just calories in, calories out. I pity those poor souls. Food, to me, affects our life in multiple ways. Of course, there is a purely physical component but there is also a psychological element. We feel differently depending on what and how we eat, which is why I think it’s important to be mindful of where to acquire and how to prepare one’s sustenance.
Food plays a huge part in our lives even when we’re not “foodies.” Without any food, we will perish. Without eating regularly our blood sugar drops and creates havoc. Without a sufficient amount of nutrient rich food, our health will suffer and we will fail to thrive. So, we need food. However, what food we eat and the setting in which we eat it is important too. Ever have that perfect cup of tea that calms your nerves when you’re having a stressful day? Or, the perfect lunch to celebrate something in your life? Food is one of the easiest ways to create hygge in your life. It justs takes a little time and can restore a weary mind and body.
Before we talk about food, let’s talk briefly about water. It’s also important to stay hydrated. When you first wake up in the morning, drink a couple of large glasses of good, clean water. Try to wait a little while after the water to have food or other drinks. Give your body some time to flush the toxins.Being well hydrated will help with your digestion, your mood and even your skin will look better. Water is so important to us that there will be an entire post devoted to the subject coming soon.
Eat your larger meals earlier in the day if possible and stop eating a couple of hours before sleeping. This gives your body time to digest your food so while you sleep it can do other important work. Having a longer fasting window is highly desirable for a healthy life. You will sleep better and wake more refreshed if you do this. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, I am working with Ari Whitten, who teaches a course called the Energy Blueprint which covers this material in great detail.
I would never tell you what food you should eat. I believe in the concept of N=1 which basically means that what works for me might not work for you and vice versa. So N=1 is basically a self-experiment.
I will say that I think that it helps to cycle our foods and that the easiest and most natural way to do that is to eat seasonally. We tend to eat melons in summer and winter squash in well, winter. Greens are good all of the time but do try to mix them up for variety. Your body will get bored with eating the same thing all the time. Eat some protein with every meal. Although I don’t completely understand the science, when you eat protein it signals to your body that you are full so some nutritionists advise to eat some of your protein first especially if you want to slim down.
Our family grows some of our food on our tiny postage-stamp city lot and we buy much of it from local farms. We try to eat organic but will buy no spray locally farmed. We try to get to know the farmers and learn about their farming practices and do our best to buy foods free of pesticides. I find that if you can go to the farm and buy directly from them you can often get more information then you can at the farmer’s market. Many times the farmer is not at the farmer’s market and the stands are too busy. We also belong to a co-op and normally can buy organic vegetables and meats at a better price than retail because of the buying power of the co-op. I don’t know if it is inherent with all co-ops but with the two that we have belonged to there is an intrinsic value being in community with people who are also passionate about their food.
Preparing your food can be a calming, grounding act in itself. Taking care with the preparation while being mindful and free from distractions. If you think you have no time to prepare your food, you might want to reconsider. Nourishing your body with food that you have prepared or co-prepared mindfully can be deeply satisfying. One thing that we do is to prep some elements of meals so that we can relatively quickly put a “bowl” together. In the winter we mostly do this with warm foods and then in the summer, mostly cold or chilled foods. We will steam greens and other veggies, roast some veggies and meats and prepare soups. We have an Instant Pot which is an electric pressure cooker that makes reheating food a snap. It’s also great for cooking, especially soups, beans, and stews.
When you are plating your food, be mindful of the presentation. It sounds silly but put your food on dinnerware that you like and that compliments your food. This doesn’t have to be expensive. If money is tight you can find interesting pieces at second-hand shops or rummage sales. Just only buy what you love. Try not to eat standing in the kitchen, well unless you’re having a fabulous party and that’s where everyone is eating. Giggle. Be mindful while eating, try to slow down and chew your food thoroughly as it’s good for your digestion. Maybe play some calm, beautiful music. Create a mood and nurture yourself. All of this will help you connect with the sense of hygge.
If your food is not nourishing you, please try some of the ideas I’ve discussed. Just making some small changes can bring about big improvements in how you feel. I would love to hear your experiences with food and life, here or on our FaceBook page.
Don’t forget to Hygge, especially your Mind.
This post is one in a collection of posts arising from the Frenzied Mind.