The antidote to eating out in a hurry was the inspiration behind this week’s article. I was out and about feeling under the weather as I rushed around a busy shopping centre. A sea of people splashed at me in all different directions, and I was almost swept away by their tide.
I can’t eat wheat or dairy so it can sometimes be challenging for me to find something to eat out, no matter paired with being in a hurry. In the end, after rushing around, I bought a salad but didn’t really enjoy it. The lettuce was limp and the vegetables tasteless. Still, I woofed them down before rushing off to my appointment.
On reflection, maybe it isn’t always possible to have the time to sit down for a proper meal. However, the plus side of my experience was that it inspired me to come up with a way to find more calmness and enjoyment out of food. So as distant as it may sound, cooking and eating can become a meditation to help bring calmness and enjoyment to your life.
How to do this? Start by making a commitment to make yourself a home-cooked meal at least one day a week. Finding the time to do this is a good way to treat yourself with care.
- Pick a healthy recipe that you will enjoy eating. For those of you stuck for ideas, try my Rainbow Pasta
- 1 red pepper
- Healthy cooking oil
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 courgette
- 1 onion
- 2-5 cloves of garlic, depending on your taste
- A handful of mushrooms
- A tin of organic lentils, or cook some dried lentils that have been soaked, or some other form of healthy protein
- Freshly chopped parsley
- A little cream or coconut cream
- A little vegetable stock
- Pasta (wheat or gluten-free)
- Optional: a sprinkle of chilli flakes
- Optional: organic cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
Tip: Goes great with a green salad and some nice crusty bread.
- Give the preparation of this meal your full and undivided attention. As you wash the vegetables, don‘t be in a hurry. Breathe and stay present. If you are doing a different recipe to me, see my method below and apply my tips to bring more awareness to the moment into the food you are making.
- Cut the vegetables into thin strips with total awareness, honouring them. Prepare the garlic so it is chopped into small bits.
- The onion takes the longest amount of time to cook, so start them slowly on a low heat; they are not to be rushed as they make the dish. Let them manifest into a translucent, tasty delight.
- Add the garlic, and then the courgette, followed by the rest of the vegetables.
- Cook until tender then add the lentils, most of the parsley and the chilli flakes if you are using them (keep a little to garnish later) and add some of the stock: not so it is soup-like, but so it has the texture of a sauce. You will need to make sure you don‘t overcook and burn it. You may need to add more stock as required. Add a little of the cream as it comes to the end of cooking, and don‘t forget to have cooked your pasta alongside so that it is al dente and not soggy.
- Serve with great presentation and then sit and eat this meal so that you taste every mouthful, feeling the texture, sniffing the smell, seeing the colours and taste so that you have total awareness of the present moment.
- Take your time.
- Try and do this for yourself at least once a week and see how it can enrich your life.
- Also don‘t let it stop you there: you can apply this to everything, like really listening to a piece of beautiful music or making something artistic, or by taking in a beautiful sky at sunset.
Tip: You could take this one step further and spend the morning sourcing your vegetables from a nice farmers market or greengrocers.
If you only design menus that are essentially junk or fast food, the whole infrastructure supports junk. Jamie Oliver
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The Word Sprite