The Wellbeing Series: Eat Better, Not Less

As we gear up for Part II of the Wellness Series this week, I  cannot express my love and gratitude enough for the people and sights of Lamu.  The one week I spent there was a life-changing experience that allowed me to appreciate the need for self-care and reawaken my interest in wellness.

It was here that set the ball rolling for my #21DaysOfSelfCare challenge on Instagram. Lamu is what inspired Your Little Book of Pleasure, an awesome freebie that features 14 easy-to-implement tips to help you bring more pleasure into your everyday. {Grab your copy now if you haven't already}

Curating this series took me back to the lessons of self care as experienced through the lives of people who were probably just going on with their day to day lives, oblivious of the fact that someone else was watching, observing, taking in and learning. 

p.s: {did you miss out on the intro post? and on week 1?}


WEEK II: Eat Better, Not Less

This week, let's look at an essential part of our survival; food.

The Go Slow philosophy extended to how the people of Lamu ate their food and had their meals.

The locals took their food very seriously.  We had freshly squeezed mango juice with a hint of lime every time, small cardamom maandazis, fresh fish from the Indian Ocean and lots of masala chai with spices as only those from the Coast know how to get done.

fruits in lamu

It was not uncommon to discover the smallest eating places that served up their meals with all the goodness in the world. We discovered little gems where good food was the order of the day. My favourites were the chicken biriyani, tamarind juice and we even had fish that was taken straight from the ocean and grilled to perfection. Yummy!

pancakesinlamu

My best experiences during the Lamu Yoga Festival were the first community meal we shared and the Last Supper at the Fort. The women of Lamu outdid themselves, coming together to prepare the most delicious picks for over 200 yogis from all over the world. We had a taste of local cuisine, ate like the locals all the while listening to taarab and other songs. Meal times then were a celebration of culture, community and camaraderie. 

Food is our common ground.

Most of us have had a love-hate relationship with our food, myself included. We over-eat, under-eat, eat the wrong things, ignore the right ones and so on. What this does is harm ourselves.

In order to truly benefit from the goodness of what we are eating, we need to bring back the practice of celebrating food. This has everything to do with eating food to inspire you and help you feel satiated and vibrant.

It looks to food as our source of life and going back to an age-old tradition of listening to your body and eating when you are hungry. It goes beyond counting calories and trying countless diets.

4 Ways To Practise Conscious Eating

1|  Celebrate your meal time

What I learnt from the Swahili dinner at Lamu was the importance of embracing meal time as an important part of the day.  Turn meal time into a big deal.

Image courtesy of lamu yoga festival

Image courtesy of lamu yoga festival

Set aside time to sit down and eat. Bring out your best plates. Gather your tribe at the table.

My friend likes to say that mealtime is an intimate moment. I hadn't quite gotten it until I sat down to pen this post.

Bring mindfulness to your eating.  Instead of chomping down your food, take time to savour the meal and enjoy the sights, scents and tastes accompanying each course.

Turn off the distractions. Concentrate on the moment.

The eating moment.

 

2| Eat foods that are in season.

What this means is that you always get the freshest. In Lamu, you would never miss limes. Or tamarind. And fresh fish from the ocean.

If you have access to a food and fruits market, allow yourself to be inspired by the never ending rows of color and the smells and sights of the market experience.

As much as you are able to, make a trip to the market and pick the best of the season.

 

3| Make Use Of Color

For a healthy meal, all you need to do is full up half your plate with a variety of fresh, naturally colourful vegetables. That I think is what makes salads so enticing.

There is no shortage of ideas or inspiration. Think reds, greens, yellows, purples....

White crockery frames food perfectly or try black plates to add some drama to your meal if you are up to it.

Remember that eating food is very much a sensory game. 

guacamole_salad

 

4| The missing ingredient:

When I was younger, my favourite author was Enid Blyton. What I mostly admired about her writing was the way she set the scene for meal time in the story. A tureen of boiled potatoes, fresh peas with mint, raspberry scones all for high tea. What that did was create in me the desire to serve up the same for my family and friends. In fact I badly wanted to be a housewife just so I could spend endless hours in the kitchen.

Serve up your meals with plenty of love. 

The Lamu women outdid themselves, waking up early in the morning to peel, cut, chop and prepare. The friendly banter and the stories shared around the kitchen set the base for the big feast that was to take place in the evening.

I know from experience that when I prepare meals with the intention of sharing good times with my loved ones, they more often than not turn out well. 

If everything is sensitive to energy, food is ten times more.


Your Turn:

I would love to know: Do you love to eat? How do you eat?

What is your relationship with food look like? 


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