As a chef, I am a big believer that food is something that brings us together, it unites us, it heals us and brings us joy and it should be honoured and respected accordingly. Cooking and eating is a form of self care, regardless of what label we choose to stick the food under. Yet if we are eating mindlessly without appreciation for where this nourishing joy comes from, we are missing a vital piece of what it means to live as a part of nature’s symbiosis.
I believe a huge part of both the zero waste puzzle and modern wellness lies in mindfulness. When we take the small amount of time it takes to tune into the food on our plates before we guzzle down each meal we will be far less inclined to contribute to the £13 billion worth of food wasted each year in the UK alone.
Before you get stuck into your next meal, take just a moment to consider everything that went into getting that food onto your plate. The little seedlings that burst through the earth, the sunlight that nourished them. Imagine that seedling drinking in water through its little roots and growing strong enough to blossom into a beautiful plant. Imagine all of the nourishment and care that that plant received so that it could grow up and out of the earth, the daily life and efforts of the farmer who nurtured it, and who, when it was ready, plucked it from its earth bed. The journey that plant then made across the country (hopefully not too far) to end up in your hands right now. And now it will nourish and care for you, and provide you will sustenance so you may help nourish and care for somebody else.
Now take a bite of that plant—taste it, remember how that mouthful of food got to you, really notice how your body and senses respond to it. Give thanks for the nourishment it is providing your body and the taste it is giving your meal. Just as I view cooking, the beauty of mindfulness is in its simplicity; it takes just a few moments of thought, yet this simple act holds of world of power in inciting sustainable change in our individual mindset and behaviours, and in how we treat our food collectively. This is a lovely little exercise to do with kids, too!
Because I believe in its power for good, mindful eating plays a huge role in my retreats in Bali. In Bali, this mindfulness practice is fairly easy. The food is exciting, bursting with life and flavour and delivered to your plate at every meal. The table is laid out with differently coloured flowers each day, and we have the luxury of time to sit down together and enjoy our meals fresh from a dip in our private pools, in great company, off our laptops.
Back home, though, I realise it’s not always so easy to fit into an already busy day. Which is why I show my retreat guests how to instil these new habits even once they’re back home. The retreat includes workshops on how to make delicious plant based food with love, and without waste. We also visit the local organic farm where all of the retreat ingredients come from, to actually see, touch, and taste fresh, vibrant food. It’s difficult to return to mindless eating once you’ve experienced your food in its natural state and met the farmer who poured love into helping it to grow. That stays with you. Join me in Bali this November on a Food journey that You can bring home. November 23rd -3rd December 2019 Www.BettinasKitchen.Com