One of my most beloved memories from my trip to Spain last fall was sitting on the Mediterranean Sea with my best friend eating a relaxed and truly delicious meal.
Jayne (my beloved roommate) and I had made it a point to attempt eating extremely mindfully in Spain. We both LOVE to eat and experience new flavors... and we figured that while abroad with nothing better to do than explore and EAT, there was no better time to savor every flavor Spain had to offer. We ate slowly, enjoyed conversation and relaxed. It was bliss.
However, in real life, I find eating mindfully to be much more difficult. I eat both breakfast and lunch at work, and I find it very difficult to slowly eat these meals in an environment where there's too much to do in too little time. Despite that, I have made a huge effort to eat slower after realizing a few months ago that I was finishing lunch feeling full but unsatisfied...like I still wanted to eat something else. I couldn't figure it out, until I realized that I was scarfing down my meals so quickly that I was hardly in "rest and digest" mode by the time I was DONE eating.
If you're someone who needs a gentle reminder as to why its important to eat slowly and mindfully, I'll give ya two.
It takes your brain about 20 minutes to receive the signal that you're full. This means every meal should last a minimum of 20 minutes, unless you're okay with eating two PBJ sandwiches for double the calories when you could have been full after the first.
"Rest and Digest Mode" is incredibly important for digestion. Its important to eat when you're relaxed and able to fully chew and enjoy your meal. This not only helps us feel full from less calories, but it aids in digestion to minimize the feeling of heartburn and bloating after eating.
So while life has continued to be as crazy and hectic as ever, I've started implementing my own methods of mindful eating:
Cut my food into smaller bites before eating. The cutting process forces me to take more time before finishing my meal.
Put my fork down intermittently to ask myself, "Is my belly full?" This seems SO ridiculous, but something about this question feels NURTURING to me (& I am a nurturer by nature). Rather than rushing to finish to meal because I'm thinking of the next big thing I have to do, I'm taking the moment to ask my stomach if its full. I'm literally caring for a piece of my body as if it were a separate entity. So silly. But its been effective!
Use your senses! Chew! You have absolutely heard this suggestion before...but it works! Chew your food slowly and enjoy the sensation and texture of the food. Smell! Inhale the food and savor the smell. Smell enhances the taste of to food on your tongue!
ANYWAY, now that I've given ya a little lesson in mindful eating, why don't you practice on this delicious soup - perfect for the hot days of summer. I guess you could eat it hot too, but when I first ate it on the Mediterranean it was served cold and I never want to eat it any other way.
Spring Mint Pea Soup
10 oz frozen peas
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups mint leaves, de-stemmed and chopped
3 cups broth (I used homemade bone broth)
3 Tablespoon hemp seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
6 ounces Greek yogurt
1. Place a pot over medium-low heat, add butter and olive oil. When butter is melted, add the onions.
2. Cook the onions on medium-low heat for ten minutes. Cover and stir frequently. You want the onions to begin to caramelize without burning.
3. Add garlic to the onions and cook an additional three minutes. Liberally add black pepper.
4. Add 2.5 cups broth, 8 oz of frozen peas and mint to the pot. Bring to a boil and let simmer for ten minutes.
5. Use a food processor or immersion blender to puree the ingredients.
6. Add the rest of the broth and peas. Let cook for an additional 5 minutes on a low boil.
7. Chill for 2 hours +
8. Serve topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt, hemp seeds and additional olive oil/mint leaves if desired.