Conscious eating

I’ve had a snuffly nose, so have had to sleep with my mouth open instead of breathing through my nose as normal.  Where I’ve been gunky and horrible, my mouth got very dry overnight on Friday and developed a little ulcer on the top left, right where your tongue hits the roof of your mouth when you chew.  So far, so oweee.

Imagine that itty, bitty, tiny ulcer (I’ve checked, I can hardly see it) with vegemite in it, or Marmite if you’re from the old country.  It’s enough to make your eyes water.  And believe me they did when I ate the eggy bread that Dan made me on Saturday morning.  I love vege/marmite, I smother my toast and bread with it like it’s chocolate spread.  So when my normal amount hit the hot spot, I nearly went through the roof.  Solution, rinse mouth with green tea.  Not good solution, neither was water – and, no I didn’t try orange juice before you ask.  I may be blonde on the inside, but I am not that mad!

What this itty, bitty, tiny ulcer has taught me, inadvertently is to chew slowly.  Little delicate mouthfuls, like one would if one was taking tea at The Ritz, which I can heartily recommend as I’ve done it twice.  It also means that one is more aware of when one is full, instead of eating at what would be considered a normal speed in the Western World.  Still nothing to the speed Asians eat at though, when they shovel their food in; incidentally watching and listening to that is enough to make me stop eating my food completely.

One of the reasons a lot of French and Italian people don’t gain weight is because they linger over their food.  They pass the time of day with their family, friends and even their spouse, drink their wine, chat, laugh and make their food an event – not something else that needs to be ticked off their to-do list.  This is something that has frustrated nutritionists for years, because the French and Italians eat all the wrong foods: they eat butter, red meat, bread, pasta – everything that people are warned about, because nutritionists look at one part of a chemical, and say “Whoa! You can’t eat that!”  Why else do people buy margarine by the bucket load, because they are buying into the myth that butter is bad for you.

Tell that to our ancestors who’ve been eating butter; pure, unadulterated butter, the sheer bliss of the creaminess of it, smeared on your bread, or used in cooking, for 1000s of years; instead of something that is a by-product of the plastic industry and has to be dyed yellow from grey and is so manufactured, the latest super food can be added in a heart beat.  Don’t believe me??  Omega 3 is naturally present in most if not all green leafy vegetables, if you eat your veggies, ergo you will get all the Omega 3 you need (and more, as vegetables are also full of other vitamins, minerals and good stuff too).  But people want you to buy the produced food, not produce.  Because if you buy fresh, you aren’t buying into advertising.  You’re buying into Jamie Oliver, Hugh F-W et al, and real food and putting manufacturers and advertisers out of business.  Which comes back to conscious eating.

Notice what you are putting inside your body, the sum of all its parts.  Do you want to eat foods your grandmother won’t recognise?  Do you want to be able to chew your food, or are you eating in the car or standing up instead so your body has no way of telling you when you are properly full, so you eat more to compensate?    And by food, I mean food, not crap. 

I cooked an organic, free range chicken yesterday.  It fed 3 fully grown adults at one meal, we have enough meat left over to feed another 3 fully grown adults tomorrow.  The carcass will be made into stock, which will go into another meal again.  Dan and I chopped vegetables, made gravy, served it up and followed it with artisan cheeses.  We split a bottle of wine, stayed at the dinner table for 4 hours and had a whale of a time with our friend.  We talked about everything, nothing and we had one of the best nights we’ve had in ages.  I chewed my smaller mouthfuls slowly and carefully, I felt my body get full and say ‘thank you’.  I slept like a baby.

It’s not just about what you do, it’s about how you do it.  Every day, with every mouthful.  Why do you think one of the most popular ways people are learning how to eat properly is by taking photos of everything they eat.  So they look back and go ‘Eh?  Why did I do that to myself?’  I want you right now, to stop and say thank you to your body.  Because despite your best efforts, it is allowing you to read this.  Doesn’t it and you deserve better?  Don’t you deserve produce, not produced.  And don’t tell me it’s easier, because I’ll bet you can find time to park your butt on the couch for at least an hour everyday watching TV, get off your butt and get into the kitchen.  Your body will thank you for it.  And if you think I’m ranting on about this, don’t get me started on breakfast cereal.

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