Life in Progress: A weblog by Heidi Price
12/14/2006

Mindfulness

So on our little getaway (see previous post), I was determined to try a Buddhist meditation practice I had read about that is supposed to bring mindfulness to the act of eating.

The practice involves putting a raisin in your mouth and keeping it there for as long as possible while paying attention to its taste and texture. Dr. Andrew Weil writes about this practice in my new favorite cookbook "The Healthy Kitchen: Recipes for a Better Body, Life and Spirit" which he co-wrote with Rosie Daley.

I knew I had to try it when I read what Weil writes about mindless eating. "Many people perform the the act of eating semiconsciously, swallowing food without really tasting it or focusing their attention on the next bite before they have enjoyed the present one. Others talk, read, or watch television while eating, directing their attention incompletely to their food. One consequence of unmindful eating is overeating."

This is me. I inhale food. I can get to the bottom of a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos with the only one thought - Maybe I should have bought two bags.

I don't like raisins so I started with dry roasted peanuts. At first, it didn't go so well. Putting one peanut in my mouth at a time and really concentrating hard on its taste and texture, I meditated my way through half a jar in about 30 minutes.

I switched to raw almonds. This was easier. For one thing the taste and texture of raw almonds reminds me of tree bark. I started at 15 minutes an almond and quickly worked my way up to 45.

I do seem a little more mindful of my food these days. I'm eating more slowly and trying not to eat so many Doritos.
I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, go to the library and check out "The Healthy Kitchen." It's a wonderful book filled with completely doable recipes and health tips that make sense. I've included one of my favorite recipes below:

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Grilled Ahi Tuna with Cilantro Ginger Sauce
From "The Healthy Kitchen" by Dr. Andrew Weil and Rosie Daley


Two, 4 to 6-ounce ahi tuna steaks, about 1-inch thick
2 tsps. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the sauce:
1 Tbsp. canola or grapeseed oil
2 Tbsps. peeled and finely-chopped fresh ginger
1 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
2 Tbsps. shoyu or other natural soy sauce (I used La Choy)
1 Tbsp. light brown or raw sugar
1/4 cup purified water

- Rinse the tuna steaks under cold running water and pat them dry. Rub them with the olive oil and season them with salt and pepper.
- Preheat grill or boiler.
- While the grill is heating, prepare the sauce: Heat the canola or grapeseed oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and add the ginger. Stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the cilantro and stir-fry for another minute, until the cilantro is bright green. Mix in the soy sauce, sugar, and water and cook for 1 minute over high heat. Remove the skillet from heat.
- Grill the tuna steaks on high heat or broil them until desired doneness; for medium-rare, about 2-3 minutes per side. Spoon the sauce over the fish and serve immediately.

* Word to the chef: It's really easy to overcook the tuna (we did) and it basically tastes pretty bland once you do. I recommend going the medium-rare route.

2 Comments:

Paul said...

45 minutes of a raw almond? Yuck. :-)

9:19 AM  
Kim said...

As long as I could wash that 45-minute almond down with a glass of chardonnay, I am totally on board with the mindful eating gig.
Or are you supposed to serve red wine with nuts?
I can never remember...

:)

8:52 AM  

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