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RE: BuzzFeed FOOD APPLICATION; My Journey To Minfdulness Through Food

RE: BuzzFeed FOOD APPLICATION. Eating and attention to food is an act of self-love, something we all need right now.

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Bad Precedent

Rebecca Simonov

My last semester of college stood out in my near-constant "treat yo selfs" of overpriced coffee, pastries, or any other meal I was too lazy to cook. When I did cook, I paid little mind to actually making anything actually tasty -- it was all about ease. Mind you, I have been cooking for years and am perfectly capable of preparing delicious, nutritious meals. So what went wrong?

Last semester was unique for me in that it was consistent source of stress, both personal and political. This exacerbated my anxiety to the point where it became difficult to function. Little acts once meant for comfort (that latte every now and then) became compulsive, routine. Meanwhile I took less and less time to actually be a functional human being.

I lost touch with myself, with my passion for food and taking the time to celebrate ingredients by creating beautiful meals. What used to be my largest act of self-care became collateral and my mental and physical well-beings continued to suffer.

Acceptance

As someone who has struggled with mental illness for most of her life, I've always been hyper-aware that many of my thoughts and behaviors are necessarily healthy or "normal". But I've found that there's a difference between logically knowing that what you're doing is off versus actually feeling it. For me, the journey to that true acceptance came slowly, in little instances. It was when I just wanted to enjoy my time with friends when I would feel horribly insecure instead. It was when I wanted to cook, but went to a restaurant instead. It was seeing how much money I wasted and how I never savored anything anymore. Ultimately, I had to realize that my behaviors weren't making me happy, and that I wanted to be a happier person. Happiness often comes doing what you love, and for me that is giving attention to my food and its preperation.

Understanding Mindfulness

As a pseudo-hippie, I've come across the concept of mindfulness many times before. Mindfulness is the act of being present in the now and taking note of (but not fighting) the way you feel. For instance, if you're feeling anxious, a mindful approach to dealing with that would be to take a step back and say "hey, I'm feeling anxious right now. It's not pleasant, but it's totally okay to be feeling this way." So, rather than fighting the negative feelings, you coexist with them.

Mindfulness in the kitchen as an act of self-love

Rebecca Simonov

In terms of food, mindfulness to me means taking the time to prepare a meal, to savor all of its flavors and textures. It's sticking your hand in a bag of grain just because you like the feeling. It's savoring the crunch as you bite into an apple. It's sitting down to enjoy a meal and being grateful for the food on your plate.

Mindfulness is about more than just you

Rebecca Simonov

Part of being mindful is realizing that you and your actions exist amongst billions of other people, other complex universes that you're not privy to. Mindfulness is that out-of-body experience you get when you realize that reality is subjective and that everyone has a different vantage point. Our actions affect more than just ourselves

The same theory applies to food. Food does not exist in a vacuum. Food has to be grown, processed, packaged, shipped. There are huge ethical and environmental issues in our current industrial agriculture system. Food discrepancies exist such that while we in the U.S. have a surplus of food (and massive amounts of waste), other places in the world are facing starvation.

Obviously, we have little agency for change at the individual level, but greater change has to start somewhere. For someone who has been going back and forth between vegetarianism and veganism, mindfulness for me was realizing that my animal consumption is ultimately supporting an incredibly destructive industry. I have also realized the extent to which our consumer culture produces waste. In the past few months, I have been working on reducing my waste, both of food and of plastics, etc. I'm trying to shop at bulk food stores, skip the pre-packaged and cut fruits and veggies, and be careful to use all my food without waste.

Mindfulness is a little scary, because it forces you to pay more attention to life, in both its beauty and sadness This intentional living, however, has allowed me to reclaim my life and my passions and be productive in my thoughts and actions rather than allowing destructive thoughts to paralyze me.

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