I was reminded of the importance of “mindful eating and cooking” at a recent event. Both Slow Food Sacramento and Sacramento Food Co-op Chef Adam advocate this philosophy.
Slow Food Sacramento has a worthy mission of wanting to provide good, clean and fair food for all. At the same event Chef Adam advised guests to use their hands, put away electronic devices and be mindful while cooking.
Being mindful of not only eating but paying attention to every aspect of life is something we should all try to do. We let our electronic devices control us and so we end up doing more than one thing at a time. This multi-tasking can lead to an unfocused life which in turn leads to stress.
I was fortunate to have someone very wise in my life who always urged me to “slow down and take my time.” This meant doing one thing at a time, being mindful of every action. It was not easy to follow this great advice. When I was a reporter in a busy newsroom, I was expected to do more than one thing. Later on motherhood meant multi-tasking in another way. It was hard to do just one thing at a time when there was so much to be done. However I did learn that teens responded better to undivided attention and one-pointed listening. Life on an elementary campus was not conducive to doing just one thing at a time either.
But now that I stay home I have the time to be more mindful. I begin my day early so that I can enjoy a quiet cup of hot tea and not feel rushed. My dog, Duke, is a great at doing just one thing at a time. When he eats, all his concentration is on his food. When he goes for a walk and stops to sniff a blade of grass, he takes his time and doesn’t move until he is done.
Most afternoons he quietly (and persistently) insists on me joining him outside. Instead of being annoyed by his loving request, I put aside my work and go out into the fresh air. My hound and I sit together in silence, listening to the birds and buzzing bees. During this time I let my mind slow down and soon my breathing and my body quieten down. I look forward to these moments of mindfulness now. I find all my senses are alert after my afternoon session with therapist Duke. A cool glass of lemon water is refreshing and enjoyable. Cooking our evening meal is a pleasurable task that I take my time doing. I am more focused at an evening exercise class. Being in the moment helps me relax and get ready for bed.
I urge you to try a moment of mindfulness every day and reap the benefits and if you have a four-footed therapist to enjoy the moment with, so much the better.
A programming note: Please tune (or set your DVR) to Channel 31 on Friday, March 18. At 9 a.m. I will join Good Morning Sacramento host Tina Macuha to demonstrate how to make Aviyal stew and to promote my book.