Monday, January 4, 2010

We Are What We Consume

The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months! ~Edward Payson Powell

The New Year is here, and as is traditional, time to make resolutions for the new year! Hardly a unique thing to do, but oh so appropriate! A new year brings new possibilities and opportunities to begin anew. I know I look forward to the new year every year, as if it provides the chance to wipe the slate clean and start all over. That being said, I don't really make any resolutions. They seem somehow empty to me. Instead I prefer wishes - more magical in their own way. And I set goals. Probably would explain my love for calendars. I buy my new calendar for the upcoming new year, fill it with reminders for birthdays and anniversaries and plans I want to accomplish throughout the year. It adds to my excitement and anticipation as the clock ticks slowly toward midnight on New Year's Eve, counting down to the brand new that is about to begin!

I am a notorious goal setter and list maker, anything from which rooms to clean and when to menus and grocery lists. I've discovered that although I eschew schedules of any kind, lists help to keep me on track.

I have not set any specific goals for my health for this year, just to continue on the path toward health and wellness I have already begun. Maybe tweak it here and there as something presents itself. Along that vein, something that seems to continue to put itself in my path is the concept of mindful eating.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
-Virginia Woolf

The view of mindful eating is this: Mindful eating is based on the Zen principle of mindfulness and requires your being acutely aware and conscious of what you're eating. Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.

This view can also be taken as to what is viewed or heard, such as books, movies, tv shows or conversations that promote violence.

Fits in very well with my veganism as far as the food goes, but the non-food part? That will take some work, but to my mind, is worth the effort if I want to not only promote peace but BE peace.

The best part, however, is the connection between mindful eating and yoga. Regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating, and people who eat mindfully are less likely to be obese, according to a study led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The researchers found that people who ate mindfully – those were aware of why they ate and stopped eating when full – weighed less than those who ate mindlessly, who ate when not hungry or in response to anxiety or depression. The researchers also found a strong association between yoga practice and mindful eating but found no association between other types of physical activity, such as walking or running, and mindful eating.

And yahoo! but what did my kids give me for Christmas? Wii Fit Plus! A new yoga program for me to do! What excites me the most about this program is that now I have NO excuse to not exercise when the weather is wet and/or cold or I get back late from a day of running errands. I've already done the bowling. Used muscles I'd forgotten could be used! But I had a blast doing it!

I picked up a book today, Mindful Eating by Jan Chozen Bays, MD. It includes a cd of guided meditations. It got high ratings at Amazon, so I suspect it will be a good read.

Had spring mix salad and black bean soup for lunch, with a piece of garlic ciabatta. Can't say I ate mindfully, especially since it was a birthday celebration for my mom, and accompanied by two of my kids, but I can say it was joyous! Supper is an array of vegetables - lemon jasmine rice, mixed steamed vegetables and some grilled asparagus. Unsweetened tea to wash it down and a hot cuppa later this evening as I sit by the fire and read my new book.

Oh, and some time on my balance board and Wii... ;-) No excuses, remember?
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