Today I sat down to lunch and turned off my computer monitor and tried to eat without distraction. It was pretty nearly a disaster. I am a big believer in an electronics ban while eating with other humans but I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m eating alone – as in for 2/3 of my meals in a day. But I’m trying…
This all started on Saturday when I was having an extremely interesting conversation with one of my chef-y friends about diet/moderation/enjoying eating. To be honest, while I love my Whole30 experience and I respect it a great deal, there is this nagging thought in my head that tells me it is not sustainable for me as a chef and very happy eater to maintain a 100% Whole30 lifestyle. I like eating cleanly, but I don’t want to miss out on experiences that enrich my life. Talking to this friend really brought that into focus for me. And yet somehow she also made it seems possible to balance a very clean diet with some really normal lifestyle choices that don’t feel like “cheats.” I hate that word. Cheat. I don’t want to feel like I’m “cheating” because I’m choosing to eat something I enjoy or not making a fuss in a restaurant when I’m out with friends. I’m not cheating, I’m consciously choosing my food.
After talking about it, I felt really inspired to make three small tweaks to my eating.
- Try to eat every meal as much “in the moment” as I can manage. This means no email distractions or blog reading during lunch.
- Indulge in the good things in life – when it is worth it – and appreciate those moments for what they are.
- Chew my food! Sounds obvious but I am the kind of person who wolfs down my food. Not only is it kind of gross, it means that I’m not always tasting and therefore, enjoying my food.
Now, I stink at all of these. During breakfast and lunch, I’m playing with my phone, I’m reading emails, I’m doing anything but consciously eating my food. I’m usually picking up the next fork of food while still chewing the last. And last, I’ve been missing out on some really amazing food lately because it is too off-plan for my comfort zone.
On Sunday I did two things to really make a point of these. In the morning, I went to the Farmer’s Market and among many fruits, vegetables and meats, I also bought 2 chocolate croissants. When I got home, Rob and I put them on real plates, I made myself some tea and we sat at the table and ate them. It was glorious. The butter, the chocolate, the flour – OMG! I really savored it. For the first time, maybe ever in our marriage, I finished long after Rob. And here’s the best part. I got that craving right out of my system by indulging. Beautiful!
Then for dinner, we met up with my family at this whole in the wall Chinese restaurant. I ordered the cleanest sounding thing on the menu – mushroom hot pot – but then everyone wanted to share everything and I decided to just go with it. I ate small amounts of all of it and skipped the rice, but I had plenty of oversweetened fake Chinese food and enough wine to make me warm. And I had one of the best nights with my family in recent memory! It was so much fun. I don’t think I would have had nearly as much fun if I were being a food-curmudgeon.
So here I am at lunch, trying to do all three parts of my goal and struggling. My mind wandered. I picked up my phone three times before remembering not to turn it on. It took me five minutes to figure out how to turn my monitor off so I wasn’t reading emails as they came in. I started making mental lists. Ugh. I need more practice! Good thing my clean-out-the-fridge salad was good!