Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nourish Body & Soul With Vegetable Stew!

I’ve been writing for several months now about the importance of mindful eating, but this time I recommend testing this out by preparing and savoring a recipe for Moroccan Vegetable Stew.

After you’ve eaten a bowl, notice how you feel? Do you feel satisfied? Do you still have strong food cravings?

Typically, when you eat something that’s void of nutritional value, the opposite will be true. You’ll crave more food.

With some experimenting with foods in their natural state, you’ll find you’re much more focused and you’ll feel a calmness you’ll never feel when you eat foods laden with sugar, fat and salt.

So without further adieu, here’s the recipe ~

First peel, seed and slice one medium butternut squash, and cut it into 1-inch pieces. Slice two carrots into ¼ inch slices, a chop up a medium onion. Stir all those together in a 12-inch skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat until golden brown.

Add one 14-oz can of garbanzo beans (drained), one 14-oz can of stewed tomatoes, ½ cup of chopped, pitted prunes, one 14-oz can of chicken broth, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp salt, 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper and 1/1/2 cups of water.

Get that to boiling, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in two tablespoons of chopped, fresh cilantro, and enjoy!

(I’ll demonstrate how to prepare it ~ along with several other tasty soups ~ this week on "Mealtime in Mesa County". It airs on Channel 12 round-the-clock at 3, 6,9 and 12! I am also doing a series of group sessions on Mindful Eating at the Academy of Yoga. The next one is Sunday, Dec. 13th. For information, call 683-0166.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mindfulness Is Key to Mastering Appetites

Food is an arena we all share.

It’s therefore something we all think about at times. A fortunate few see it quite simply for what it is ~ a means of nourishment so we can perform to the best of our ability during the day. But many of us have elevated its place in our lives to mythical proportions, and to that degree, it has great power.

I believe the resulting dysfunction of it all is a “we” versus “them” paradigm, separating those who control their food urgings from those who don’t. You may as well substitute the words “winners” versus “losers”, or “right” versus “wrong,” or “fat” versus “thin.”

What happens, then, is we mentally establish camps ~ sort of like Republicans and Democrats ~ and if you’re in one, you can’t be in the other.

But unlike the polarity we project as reality, I rather think we abide not in camps, but on a continuum where we are at times more or less dysfunctional, more or less in control of ourselves ~ more or less at peace.

So while we might look with disdain at the person with the belly overhang who loads up a second plate at a restaurant buffet, we would be well-served to check in to see what might be bringing up all that judgment.

There’s a saying: “You spot it ~ you got it.”

It’s worth paying attention to, I’ve found, if I cast a critical eye at someone else.

I see that from the food journal I’ve been keeping. It’s rather simple. The calmer I am inside, the healthier my choices. More healthy choices lead to an even greater sense of well-being. Things begin to shift as my ego takes a back seat.

Ah, but that’s where it gets dicey. It gets very uncomfortable to give up any of that ~ and it’s at that point important choices are made, every time.

Mindfulness is the orienting compass, because I felt my agitation this evening, and that caused me to review what I put into my mouth during the day.

It was quite clear. I was going in too many directions, with that well-familiar, ego-driven sense of urgency. It was a though the food I ate presented an emotional map ~ instead of starting with a calming, energy rich bowl of oatmeal, I chose a breakfast bar; lunch was light, but dinner wasn’t. Unlike the soups I usually prepare, I had enchiladas and rice, followed by German chocolate cake. By evening I was buzzing, and at 10 p.m. I was wide awake.

If I stay with the “camp” theory, I have to concede that I’m hanging out in both ~ though one, more than the other.

But the continuum idea makes a lot more sense. It’s like a journey, and it has nothing to do with winning or losing, or who’s right or who’s wrong.

It’s whether you are mindful. Because if you are mindful, you can better control your choices.
And isn't that what we really want?