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Why Enjoying Every Meal Benefits Both Your Body and Mind

Why Enjoying Every Meal Benefits Both Your Body and Mind

We don’t just eat to sustain ourselves anymore; instead, we eat for pleasure. It’s a custom—a lifestyle. We have become obsessed with food, but that obsession doesn’t have to be bound by fear or uncertainty. Every meal can be a celebration, ensuring the ultimate well-being of both mind and body.

There are a number of ways that we can enjoy a meal in order to benefit both physically and mentally.

1. DIY

We need to start growing and farming our own food and sharing it within our communities through growers’ markets, small businesses and bartering or exchange systems. Veg Exchange is a great example. It’s about reclaiming our access and ownership of food.

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We have become accustomed to relying on what is being sold to us by supermarket chains. We no longer eat seasonally, we have a saturation of processed, prepackaged and fast food at our disposal, and we are driven by fads, coercion through advertising and fear. Regaining control and self-determination of how we access food will not only give us a sense of responsibility and peace of mind; it is also an opportunity for exercise, getting out in the fresh air and clean eating.

2. Having a Relationship With Food

We must ignite our passion for creating and consuming a meal. Gardening is not only an incredibly satisfying hobby; it also has immense health benefits too, from stress relief to reducing the risk of stroke.

Cooking and creating a meal from scratch is an art form in itself, exemplified by our infatuation with celebrity chefs. It allows us to explore our creativity and nourishes our propensity to nurture. Tasting different food from exotic cheeses to hybrid vegetables can be a mind expanding adventure and can inspire us to travel or enhance a journey we have already embarked on. Cooking a meal for someone is the ultimate way to show our love.

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3. Eating Together

Sharing a meal with someone is an opportunity for socialization and human interaction. If we look to other cultures and how they share a meal we see that throughout human history globally, people make an occasion out of dining and similarly, special occasions are organized around the consumption and presentation of food.

The Chinese, for example have very specific customs associated with eating. From ambiance to seating arrangements, meal times are a way for the society to order itself and the various rituals and practices help to solidify the social fabric and the participants’ relationships. So too around the world, dining etiquette is important and should be observed.

Whether it’s eating with your hands or sitting on the floor, doing it with someone from another country can teach us so much about their culture. Observing our own rituals and formalities, depending on the context of the meal we are sharing can enhance our experience also. It may be a casual lunch in a cafe with a dear friend, a nervous first date in a fancy restaurant or a boisterous family meal; food brings us together.

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4. Mindfulness and Joy

Eating mindfully is essential to our health and well being. It’s not just about eating slowly and really tasting our food, although that’s a step in the right direction; it’s about really experiencing food. Touching it, smelling it, examining every aspect of it, taking the time to really be involved in the act of eating. Due to a fast paced lifestyle, we are often forced to eat on the run and many meals during the day can just become a reflex of just shoving something into our bodies to stave off hunger.

It’s important to make space in the day for eating. It doesn’t have to be an exaggerated effort. Just preparing a meal yourself, even if you take it with you to work and then going outside to consume it, or going to a specific place to eat out, exercising mindfulness becomes a habit and even just 15–20 minutes can feel like an hour. The aim is quality of time over quantity.

Look forward to eating and enjoying food. Eating with mindfulness and joy eliminates the stress and guilt we have come to associate with food. Learning to choose a healthy option, but allowing ourselves to indulge in moderation lets us have a balanced diet that we participate in with ease and simplicity. We can eat whatever we want, stop over or under eating and evoke happiness and satisfaction instantaneously. We can pamper ourselves with elaborate table settings or throw a rug on the ground under a tree in the park. Eating all of a sudden becomes a devotion.

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5. Baby Led Weaning

If we start the habit of appreciating and relishing food in infancy, it doesn’t seem so daunting as we get older. We see this example in the way Europeans enjoy food. The best selling book French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano became a revolution and epitomizes the philosophy of enjoying food as a lifestyle.

In the same way, the theory of Baby Led Weaning aims to establish good dietary and nutritional habits in babies in order to promote a positive connection with food and the act of eating. Letting a baby feed itself suitable food from the age of six months aids muscle development to facilitate speech and encourages the development and appreciation of different tastes and textures ensuring a varied and healthy diet. There is nothing more satisfying than a child who eats willingly and does not turn every meal time into a battle.

The benefits of enjoying and appreciating meal times and food are life saving and pleasure enhancing without a doubt. Reclaiming our relationship with food will ensure a long and happy life.

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Diane Koopman

Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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