The Mindful Palate:
A Guide To Bringing Pleasure
Back Onto Our Plates
When was the last time you made a meal from scratch? We’re talking no bottled sauces or frozen pastry, no pre-marinated meats and chuck-in-the-oven meals. What happened to mixing flours and flavours, kneading soft dough and watching sauces bubble?
We know how convenient it can be to scroll through an app, pick what you like and wait for dinner to be delivered. We’re guilty of it too…especially with a 40-hour work week but what if we told you, going back to the source, taking the time to create a dish and being completely mindful as we fill our bellies, can be a way to feed our minds and unwind?
1. MINDFUL INGREDIENTS
When you’re cooking, it’s easier to be in control of how you’re nourishing your body. Certain foods, especially those high in omega-3 fatty acids (think salmon, walnuts, chia seeds) are particularly good for the brain and other produce such as Jerusalem artichokes, blueberries and broccoli, can supercharge our gut - which, surprise, surprise… is another crucial part for brain health.
We’ll let the folks from Harvard explain how and why:
“Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. Since about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, and your gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurones, it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food, but also guide your emotions.” - published by Dr.Eva Selhub of Harvard Medical School
2. MINDFUL SOURCING
When that pizza or burrito bowl gets delivered to your doorstep, have you considered where the ingredients have come from? Who grew and picked them? When you get a chance, go back to the source. We’re not saying you have to visit a farm every weekend for produce but even a visit to a local farmers market will help grow appreciation and deepen gratitude for what’s on our plates.
If you’re feeling extra adventurous, why not try foraging? Foraging is gaining its place in our society again and it’s such a beautiful experience to be able to get down and dirty, feel the textures and breathe in the scents nature has to offer. It’s a reminder on the patient pace good things take and a lesson on limits, teaching us to be mindful of what we hold in our hands and to only take what we need.
3. MINDFUL PREP
Before cooking, lay out your ingredients on the kitchen bench. Look at the colours before you. Pick up an item and feel its texture. Notice how smooth or rough the surface can be. Give it a sniff… unless it’s an onion, then, put that shit down. This simple act of noticing begins to give our senses a chance to really focus on what’s before us and bring us back to the practice of mindfulness.
As you quiet your mind, allow yourself to focus and enraptured in the steady sound and act of chop, chop and chop. Light the stove top or turn on the oven, let the heat fill your home as you hear the crack, sizzle and pop of the first ingredients in your pan. Take your time with each item to add. Stir, sprinkle and taste with your eyes closed. Your reward is so close.
4. MINDFUL FEAST
It’s done. You plate it up and give yourself a pat on the back. You made this. How good does it feel to create something of your own? Now, we know it’s easy to just devour all of it but we invite you to sit and savour every mouthful. Let its scent waft through your home, taste each bite as it lands on your tongue. Who knew mindfulness could be so delicious?
Food is something that’s so easily taken for granted. We can just get take out, pick it up on the way home from work or sit in a cafe and wait for someone to serve it. But real food for the soul doesn’t come from that. It’s when our entire being is immersed in the process and soaking up the juiciness of the moment. Trust us, it enhances the whole dining experience.
Try setting out one day this week to kick it in the kitchen and if you’re new to the culinary world but want to give this mindful journey a go, join us at Soundscape, where we’ll be serving up self-care, connection and a wood-fired feast with ingredients sourced from within a 10km radius of our retreat. Oh, and to top it all off, you’ll be enjoying all of this with a side melt-in-your-ear ambient tunes.