Thursday, September 20, 2012

mindful moments


I have always been drawn to food in a very deep, very feeling sort of way. I love flavor and texture...the process of starting with raw ingredients in the kitchen, and ending with a beautiful, delicious masterpiece. And as a result, as I've grown, I've been very drawn to food photography. Stunning food photography compels us to recognize the experience of eating as more than just sustenance. It is a ritual, an appreciation, a meaningful moment in our lives that recurs many times a day, day after day.

Even with my amateur food photography skills, capturing the visual subtleties of a dish is always a pleasure and a surprise for me. When I looked at this picture of a (failed) plum cake, I noticed the range of hues in the plum flesh and the aura of caramelized juice that seeped over the dish. This, the appreciation of what goes into our bodies and keeps us running, is one of the simplest and most beautiful aspects of our daily lives.


But the average American spends just 1.1 hours per day eating. At three meals a day, that's 22 minutes per meal. That's not a lot of conversation with the family. That's not a lot of savoring. That's not a lot of listening to your body.

We're all guilty of it. It's just too easy to use that time to multi-task, or to see that time as less valuable than the time we spend Getting Things Done.

But we pay a price. These data indicate there is some relationship between the time we spend eating and our obesity rates. Maybe it's causal, maybe not. But I'd be willing to bet that the mindfulness we engage when we savor our bites and chew our food can help us feel more satisfied and in tune with our hunger signals.

And let's not forget how culturally meaningful the dining table is. It is our time to bond with others, to be thankful, to take care of ourselves. If we don't invest time there, what does that say about our values?

We should find the time. Even if it's just once a week, for a Sunday breakfast or a mid-week dinner...we should find the time to be present with our food, to appreciate it and the company of those that share it with us. I have a feeling it's a big part of our joie de vivre.

9 comments:

  1. Amen!

    And what do you mean "failed" plum cake?! It looks delicious!

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  2. You're right - I'm caught all too often reading or on the computer while eating and the movement of food to my mouth is almost mechanical. Great reminder!

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  3. We try really hard to sit down for dinner every night, we are mostly successful and it is a really nice time to talk to each other, see what's going on with life. At my house in Brasil we used to do the same and on weekend we would spend hours talking! It was really amazing :)

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  4. Irony: reading this as I inhale a bowl of cereal when all day yesterday I told myself I was making a delicious omlet for breakfast this morning. Reading while eating, eating something quick instead of good. You're right, I make too many excuses to not take care of what I put in my body.

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  5. The failed plum cake looks really delicious!

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  6. I totally agree with you Clair! While I love good food too, sometimes I just make the choice to take the easy way out and eat a simple dinner sitting in front of the computer instead of celebrating the meal and enjoying it with others.
    Growing up, my parents would never allow us to eat in front of the TV and they still don't like it when we do (on very rare occasions only do we actually do that). This post was a great reminder to enjoy my food even more :)

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  7. Well said. We could all take more time to appreciate the entire process of cooking, eating, and enjoying with the ones we love.

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  8. That quote is amazing; I love it!

    xox Elizabeth

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  9. Haha, how true!
    We rarely bond over the dinner table anymore..it's incredible how times have changed. Work is more important than eating - how many times to we scarf down something quickly just to get to the next task!

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Thanks for making me smile. =)