Monday, August 16, 2010

Savoring dinner outdoors

Good evening.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur - catching up at work. Took a break and walked to the Riverside Theater,
Then picked up some lunch with a coworker.
Diet Coke and a mushroom sandwich. Tried out some Popchips on the side... these tasted great.
Due to the fact they have a kinda long list of ingredients, I won't purchase these unless it's a special circumstance, like a picnic or road trip. Then again, I usually enjoy treats like potato chips or cookies on such occasions, and my usual policy is to stick with the favorites. I digress.
Before I left work, I tried out a Cashew Cookie flavor Larabar, from my HLS Swag bag...
I did not like it. Bland. I also had an apple (unpictured).
Once I got home, I felt the need to unplug and get re-centered. You see, toward the end of the day I learned of some very sad news. Almost immediately afterward, I received some very happy news about a friend's scheduled delivery of her first child. This huge contrast between sadness and happiness left my mind boggled.
A quiet dinner outdoors was just what I needed.
Spinach, tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, cottage cheese, pine nut hummus, topped with trail mix.
The Wisconsin State Fair wrapped up last night, so my neighborhood has returned to its usual quiet self. It was great to sit outside and enjoy the cool summer night, listening to the crickets chirp. For a few moments, I didn't care what time it was or think about anything except for the beautiful salad in front of me.
With each bite, I savored the flavors and textures of the salad. I looked around our yard, enjoying the garden with its abundance of green baby tomatoes and carrot fronds.
I felt renewed with each sip of ice water.
Toward the end of this dinner, I got the sensation that someone was watching me. When I looked up, I found out someone was watching me.
Then, Bluegill and Zak came outside to visit.
And then, I felt more centered.
It's important to take time out like this every once and awhile, to unplug from the world and savor a meal. The University of Missouri offers the following tips for savoring food:
Food is a wonderful part of our lives, to be enjoyed and savored. Savoring your food means a combination of the following:
  • Taking time to choose food you really like and food that would satisfy you right now
  • Becoming a conscious consumer of food so that what you eat and how you eat honors your body and your taste buds
  • Being fully present for the experience of eating and taking pleasure in that experience.

Taken a step further, eating with the fullest pleasure includes a recognition of how eating connects us with the world and being grateful for how it gives us life. In other words, becoming a conscious connoisseur!

I know that the foods I chose tonight were exactly what I was craving, honored my body with nutrients and that I was fully present in my dining experience.
Tonight will involve the new episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and going to bed EARLY. I still have a few hours of sleep to catch up on from the weekend!
Question - When was the last time you took time to savor a meal? What is your ideal setting for a mindful meal?

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