In our modern, diet-obsessed culture amidst an abundance of food, we often have a love-hate relationship with food and feel guilt for our mindless consumption. Our fast-paced lifestyle can leave little time for us to truly tune into our needs, and daily activities, such as eating, lend themselves more to this state of autopilot than others.
We encourage you to cultivate an intuitive and mindful eating practice – to consume food with attention and intention, to be aware of the nourishment available through the process of various food preparation and to appreciate the nutritional qualities of food. Zen your diet and read on for super doable tips on how to become a mindful eater.
Is your desire to munch on food an environmental trigger, an emotional response or of true physical hunger? Before you reach for those chocolates, pause and tune into your body. Is your stomach growling? Do you feel thirsty or lightheaded? Are you bored at work? Sometimes, we feel hungry simply because of our psychological state of mind, and not truly because our body is hungry for fuel.
Ask why you want to eat and if you really need to eat. Don’t eat just because there is food around, but don’t wait till you’re famished either. Such a pattern will cause you to overeat, lead to guilt and eventual excessive weight gain. You can even help to bolster the habit of excessive eating by drinking beverages such as tea to improve your well-being. Nilufer Tea offers a unique and interesting selection of organic herbal teas that can help to improve your mood and body.
Mindfulness is really about rekindling a relationship with food and connecting with the stories behind our food. Think about the source of your food item, consider its origins, journey and health value, read the nutritional labels with more intent. What country did this food item start its journey in? How has it been processed, cooked or prepared? As you become more aware, you may even decide to choose to purchase organic, unprocessed and ethical foods and groceries in the future.
Acknowledge the time and effort that has been put into your food. Take some time, perhaps even just a few seconds, to think about the ingredients on your plate, the time needed to prepare the food, and also the intention behind all the effort that entered the plate. Thank your server or the person who prepared the food. A little gratitude promotes satisfaction and mindful habits.
Multitasking and eating all at once is a recipe for chaos. It distracts and disallows us to listen to our bodies’ needs. Remember how you went to the movies with a tub full of popcorn and before the advertisements were over, you realised your tub was almost finished? To be mindful, we need to be present and we can’t be present when we’re multitasking. It’s akin to meditation; it’s difficult to meditate when our thoughts are drawn elsewhere. In a similar vein, it’s a challenge to notice our bodies’ satiety signals and savour our food if our attention is scattered or plugged to our devices.
With your next meal, try to attend to your plate without your emails, a magazine or the latest episode on Netflix. Be attentive to the aroma, colour, texture of the different foods on your plate and as you chew, try to identify all the ingredients, seasonings and more. And if you are eating with someone, make conversation instead of gluing your eyes on your phones.
Make a conscious choice to eat healthier, wholesome foods or even go vegan! Mindful eating is not a weight loss cure-all, but it can catapult healthful weight loss as it shapes your food philosophies and bodies at the same time.
See beyond the rim of your plate, see the dangerous toll that some processed meats and dairy products can take on your bodies, and the destruction that meat production and dairy farming has on the environment. Consume foods that are all-natural, unrefined and minimally handled, foods which are closest to their natural form as possible. But of course, do note that eating clean does not give you free reign to eat endless quantities. Think about portion size control and only eat till you’re full.
Eating clean and mindfully is a continuous process which requires diligence but once you begin to get into the swing of things, it’s almost effortless! Mindful eating may be integrated into any routine overtime so embrace this new approach to mealtimes and you might find that it offers a renewed sense of enjoyment, inner peace and health. It’s not just what you eat, but how you eat that matters.
Using natural ingredients to get beautiful hues on your food may be time consuming, but it certainly beats reaching for that bottle of food colouring. The natural colours from nature lets you indulge in the most colourful foods without any of those harmful additives. So rather than using colour-laden chemicals, why not go Au naturale by using ingredients that double up as dyes? Here’s how you can do just that.
Beetroot offers a natural way to get your foods a striking red, and they are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, iron and magnesium.
Start by boiling bite-sized chunks of beets and cover them with water, bringing it to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until they are tender, and the residual stained water will be your food colouring.
Blend in the desired amount of beetroot juice to your own frosting, and you’ll get a perfectly pinkish hue to top your favourite cupcake.
The best part about using beets is that you can save the chunks for a salad lunch later.
You can also use raspberries. Bring those luscious red berries to a boil, then use a food processor to puree them.
Turmeric is one of the few natural food dyes you can use if you’re looking for that vibrant yellow hue.
Bring some turmeric, sugar, and water to a boil over medium-low heat, swirling occasionally, so that it doesn’t become lumpy. Let it cool completely before mixing it with frosting or icing.
Selected paprika can also offer orange tints. Heating the spice can also release a stronger flavour to improve the taste of your food. You can also try juicing carrots if you’re making sweet treats.
Not only does matcha turn foods green, but it is rich in nutrients, antioxidants and fibre. It also increases your metabolism and helps the body burn fat. Depending on how dark of a green you want, vary the amount of matcha powder you’re using.
Besides matcha, you can also use spinach. Just grind a large handful of them in a food processor and strain the juice through a cheesecloth. Remember not to throw away the leftover remnants of spinach pulp; you can use it a soup or throw it into an omelette for a nice touch.
A rich source of antioxidants, butterfly pea flowers are the perfect option to replace blue food colouring. Its mild taste also ensures the natural flavour of your dish shines.
Commonly used in sticky rice desserts like pulut inti (a sweet glutinous rice dessert with coconut) and puddings, the flower, when added to a liquid, changes color based on the pH level of the substance added to it. So if you add lemon juice, the food "magically" turns into a bright purple.
Cover some red cabbage with water in a cooking pot and simmer for about 10 minutes, before draining it. If you want the residual purple solution to become lighter, add vinegar. And if you want to get a blue from there, add baking soda instead. You may want to start with small amounts until you get the desired colour. Keep in mind that both vinegar and baking soda can change the taste profile of your food, so don’t use too much.
You can also use blackberries but they are an expensive fruit to juice.
If you are opting for these natural dyes, do note that the result tends to be less vivid than artificial colouring. Also, they can possibly add an extra flavour to whatever you’re making. But it’ll definitely be fun experimenting with the different shades you can get!
If you want a naturally coloured tea to accompany your foods, try Nilufer Tea's Rose Paradise. The dried strawberry gives the tea a beautiful pink hue and a light sweet flavour, a treat for both your eyes and mouth. Get it here!
Otherwise, you can also opt for Blue Ocean and indulge in the light refreshing flavour while admiring the teal tint of the tea. Get it here!