Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Leek Forest

Here I am peering through the forest of leeks at the last week of examining my relationship with food for self portrait challenge. Obviously from all of these pictures I've posted this month, I have a pretty lighthearted approach to food. Even silly perhaps. But not really, I'm just relaxed about it.

I think that our culture is food-phobic and food-obsessed at the same time. And separating myself from all the hoo-haw surrounding eating the "right food"all the time, or consuming the smallest amount of calories to stay alive, or worrying about grams of fat or fiber or whatever hot topic of the day, has kept me really a lot healthier in both body, mind and my overall relationship to food than a whole lot of people.

Sure I eat junk food, just like anyone else. But I also really really enjoy it when I do. I don't feel guilty about it, but I thoroughly sink into the experience of the salty flavor of a bag of chips, or the smooth heavy coolness of a great dark chocolate bar. That is the difference I think. Not that you are giving yourself "permission" (?!) to eat what you want. More that you not only take responsibility for what you eat AND even more importantly you Pay Attention to what you eat.

Here are some of my techniques for paying attention to what I'm eating:
I know myself, I can't pay attention to what I'm eating when I eat and read or watch tv. I'm a good multi-tasker, but I'm not that good. So I know to only eat boring stuff then (like cereal in the am). But even then I still try to bring my attention around to it once I've woken up a little.

I talk to myself. "Wow that was a really tart pomegranate. I really love that flavor. And the color is just so beautiful." The inner dialogue helps me wake up to the experience of what I'm consuming.

I Try to use all my senses. "That bunch of bananas sure smell good, I'm glad that we can eat bananas all year around, I wonder what it would be like to climb a banana tree and eat them right there?"
"These leeks are so yummy smelling, not too oniony and kind of grassy, and I can still smell the soil on the bottom. I love how they look sliced up with their translucence and circular pattern. They make such a crinkly and squeaky sound when I hold the bunch tightly"

I think about how the plant grows, I've seen by my personal gardening experience, how different plants grow when they are pampered versus ignored versus rushed or planted at the wrong time. This is why I find the organic produce we get from our CSA at Camp Joy so superior to giant grocery chain produce. The people who grow it have a personal relationship with the plants, the soil they grow in, and a real stake in the process.

I also consider how the animal lives. I've noticed how different our eggs from our own chickens look and taste from the factory farmed ones. It is important to me to eat humanely produced food. Also, the chicken and beef that is farmed in this manner just taste better. I suppose the stress and fear hormones have something to do with this. Makes sense huh?

I wonder how the food gets to me. Who farmed or raised it. Who picked it? What were their lives like? It isn't just majicked onto my kitchen counter. The whole process is indeed crucial to how we are going to make these changes in how the world lives or dies.

Do I do all of this everytime? Of course not! But I find when I do even one of these practices, the experience of the food for me is more well-rounded, I feel fuller because I eat slower and I am happier in general because I've used my brain. To sum up, since we've got to eat something to stay alive, we might as well enjoy it!


Melba said...

What a healthy and wonderful attitude towards food! It is difficult to cultivate that attitude in our society, but I try to too. Just last night I had some ice cream and really payed attention to the smooth creamy texture. It does make eating more fun and I think how we feel about what we eat is just as important as what we eat1

Colorsonmymind said...

Oh this made me smile and LOL. Great reflections and awarenesses.