"Bringing peace to the world... one cup at a time"

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Knowing of the Nose

"And when you crush an apple with your teeth,say to it in your heart,
"Your seeds shall live in my body,and the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath, and together we shall rejoice through all the seasons" Kahllil Gibran
How was Thanksgiving? This is the beginning of the Holiday challenge. We so often feel guilty if we overdo but don't. Life is so much about the lessons we are willing to learn. What was the experience around the feast. Did your eyes get the satisfaction they needed? I made food preparing a high priority. I wanted everyone to see all of the beautiful colors of the harvest feast. And to whiff the aromas coming from the kitchen to set their pallets. We lit an old fashioned kerosene lantern on the table and built a fire in the fireplace. The mix of the roasting bird, (we have family members that are not vegetarian) with spiced yams, sage stuffing, all accented with the raw cranberry relish made for a heavenly, tantalizing nose experience. The hunger for loved ones was definitely satisfied by having all the people around me that I love deeply. Seeing their faces glow at the table, and as we sat by the fire watching a movie with laughter thrown in to balance the whole occasion. Have you ever had one of those exasperating days where it seems nothing is going the way you planned? Have you ever had the experience of walking into a room and the aroma of something fantastically delicious smelling triggers every cell in your body to seek comfort in that food? We see that happen pretty regularly in our teahouse. Good food smells wafting out from the kitchen into the entryway seem to set people up for the comforting experience for the wholesome meals they are about to receive.  I have had it happen to me. Sometimes it is for the right food but sometimes people get hung up. Their  nose is triggering a response to the emotion which then sends them spiraling into poor food choices for comfort(the drive through at Kentucky Fried Chicken). More evidence that the disharmony with food begins with lack of awareness within the body, heart and mind.
What we call taste or flavor of a food is almost entirely smell. Our tongue is only able to taste five flavors. These are sweet, salty, bitter,and amino-acid/protein. If you have ever lost your sense of smell for any reason such as colds or sinus issues, it can be quite distressing. When we can't smell food properly, food seems to be rather tasteless and bland. So if you experience lack of taste it most likely has something to do with sinuses.

BECOMING Mindful of Nose Hunger: Before you start to eat a meal, sit up straight, smell the food you are about to eat by lifting the plate or bowl to your nose and inhale deeply. Try to detect as many components of the smells as you can. Close your eyes and imagine that you are doing an investigation of the ingredients. As you take the first bite, continue to smell or be aware of the smells. Chew and chew, notice whether the tastes get stronger on the in-breath or the out-breath. Try not to take another bite until you can no longer taste the last bite you swallowed, in your mouth. This could mean sitting between bites. How does this make you feel? What emotions if any are recalled?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Feast For The Eyes

Raw pasta with Raw Alfredo at Shangri-La
November is the beginning of the feast season. We tend to go internal, light candles more or linger near a fire. As the darkness outside begins to consume more of the daylight it is important to feast with the eyes. Create a feast once a week for yourself. Treat yourself as a most treasured guest to the banquet. Flowers or greens on the table, tablecloth, nice dishes and flatware, candles, these will set the stage for your eye feast. Plan and prepare a nutritious beautiful meal for yourself. Remember that this is a meditation. Start with an exotic tea in a favorite teapot and cup. Notice the simplicity of this practice. How do you feel just watching the steam rise from the cup. Keep your meal simple and small and elegantly arranged. Remember that your stomach when empty is only as large as your closed fist. how do you feel hunger. Sit before your table and let your eyes be filled. rate your eye satisfaction from1-10. Be thankful for the gift you have given yourself. If you need help get yourself a book on Japanese food and flower arranging. Even if you don't particularly care for Asian cuisine the Japanese know how to present food and flowers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Are The Eyes Hungry?

So, when are you hungry? Is it satisfaction of a beautifully presented plate of food that brings you to eating? It should play a very large part in the nurturing process. There are different reasons we eat. There are actually 7 senses that come into play when hunger strikes. It is important to come to terms with these. Sometimes one sense is much stronger than the others. Here they are: Eye hunger, Nose hunger, Mouth hunger, Stomach hunger, Cellular hunger, Mind hunger. I know it seems too confusing but lets just take one at a time and try some exercises.
Shangri-La 1/2 salad with Fried Dulse added

First, just take a minute before eating whatever you are planning to eat at your next meal and do a baseline observation. How hungry are you really? 1-10. Where is the first place your mind goes? Did you really take time to plan this meal? if not what has driven you to eat right at that moment? Lets pretend you are an investigative reporter from another galaxy. You have never seen Earth food before. What would you report back about the food in front of you? As an earthling would this morsel of food be an embarrassment as an example of what earthlings live on or would it be alive and a source of pride to share with other beings? Just with the eyes notice the color, shape and texture of this morsel of food. How alive does it look? Practice this for a few meals and take note of what might change in how you pick your meals.