Eating A Clementine
Have you ever timed yourself on how long it takes you to eat a meal? Likely you have when you were rushing to get somewhere and knew you had about 10 minutes to shove some food down. But have you ever timed yourself on how long it takes you to eat a clementine? From the peeling to the consuming? I am going to take a wild guess and say no. If you do not like clementines, choose your favorite fruit, and try this experiment with me. I am going to continue with a clementine for simplicity.
The objective is to hit your Spring🌷 refresh button, slow down, and simply enjoy a clementine. The goal is to refocus on our mindfulness around food: what we are eating, where we are eating, how much we are eating, enjoying what we are eating and who we eating with, feeling energized from our meal or snack, versus sluggish and regretful for eating too much or not even realizing…we were eating…
How slowly do you think you can eat a clementine? More importantly, how capable are you of JUST focusing on eating a clementine? Put your phone out of reach, computer out of reach, television off, music is always allowed :). But otherwise, just you and the clementine🍊
Sit at the kitchen table. Put your clementine on a plate and bring a napkin with you. I trust you will not make a mess if you eat it elsewhere, but table-plate-chair is key for pure mindful eating. Take a look at the clock and note the time.
Peel the clementine. Notice the smell, the just, the white stuff you will likely peel away (otherwise known as the orange pith — white spongey substance you see when peeling an orange☺️). Now start to eat it, one piece at a time. I repeat — with nothing else to focus on but enjoying the clementine (and perhaps some music). Slowly pull each piece from the other. Look at it for a moment. Notice how the shape of each piece is oh so slightly different from the other. Slowly chew each piece, noticing the flavor, the smell, the juiciness, the sweetness.
And be sure to breathe after each piece. With each breath, be sure to breathe deeply and meaningfully. Then repeat. Another piece of clementine, slowly enjoying, observing, breathing. Repeat with each piece until you are finished. If you find your mind is wandering, as it likey will, just gently remind yourself to slow down and refocus. Wipe your hands and face with your napkin :). How long did it take you? There is no judgement or ‘perfect’ score. It is just to note, so you can see how long it can actually take you to eat just one piece of fruit.
This might sound ridiculous to you, but it is NOT easy. It is REALLY hard to slow down and smell the roses…or smell, taste and enjoy a clementine. It is REALLY hard because most of us live most moments of our days, not focusing on just one thing. We are usually focusing on quite a few things at once, which actually means we are not focusing enough on any of those things. We rarely complete one task at a time. Phone or even face-to-face conversations are disrupted by a text, a call, an alert.
As for our tasty, sweet, clementine, how did you feel during that exercise? Annoyed😑 …lol? Slow at first but maybe speeding up because you did put your phone out of reach, but you heard a text alert? Or did you realize how enjoyable it was to just focus on slowly eating one thing, and likely felt more satisfied from it because you were focusing on each bite? Somewhat meditative. Yes, it was just a clementine or other fruit, but perhaps you felt fuller than when you usually eat one or more (or anything else) on the couch while watching television, checking Twitter, and talking on the phone.
Did you notice you were breathing deeper than you had all day? Most of us will have other thoughts come into our minds, but do your best to push them away and refocus. Taking time just for you and your fruit :). You can repeat this as often as you would like, continuing to improve your pace of eating more slowly, enjoying the moment more and more, and getting stronger at mindful eating. Mindful eating is something that requires discipline and practice, just like working out consistently requires discipline, and overtime - builds strength. Consistency and repetition are the keys to both reducing the necessary discomfort of change and bringing energy into new behaviors. I suggested a similar exercise back in June with The Raisin Challenge, and now is good time for your Spring refresh button. Bring this strength with you to your meals and snacks. Enjoy your food with company, family, and friends, but you can still focus on really tasting your food, enjoying it, and realizing when you have had enough. Pause for deep breaths and check-in with YOU, recognizing you are the ultimate authority on you.
Slow down. Taste the clementine🍊. Taste and enjoy your food with intention. Listen deeply and intently to those around you. Pause to notice the sky🌈, the clouds🌥, the sun☀️, the trees🌳, the birds🕊.
And as we embrace the world around us🇺🇦, let’s cook up some international eats!
This is a traditional Indonesian satay, lightened up a bit on the fat and sugar content. This dish could be served as an appetizer or a protein for main meal. The sauce is rather addicting😋
3 Tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium
3 Tablespoons tomato sauce, low sodium
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cubed (or fresh shrimp peeled, or both!)
Nonstick cooking spray
For the sauce:
1/4 cup minced onion
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 cup water
1/2 cup peanut butter, no sugar added
2 Tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
skewers to grill chicken/shrimp
Optional garnish: 2–3 tablespoons fresh chives
In a medium bowl, mix soy sauce, tomato sauce, peanut oil, garlic, pepper and cumin. Place prepared chicken (or shrimp; if using both, use a separate bowl and divide marinade in half) into the mixture. Stir to coat all pieces. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, but about an hour is plenty.
Preheat the grill to high heat.
While grill is preheating, prepare the sauce. Spray a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until lightly browned, about 5–6 minutes. Mix in the water, peanut butter and the tablespoon of soy sauce. Cook and stir until well-blended, about 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the lemon juice. Pour into a serving bowl for dipping and set aside.
Thread chicken/shrimp onto skewers and discard the marinade. Grill skewers about 5 minutes per side, until chicken/shrimp is cooked through. Place on serving platter or separate plates and serve with peanut sauce.
ISRAELI TAHINI SMOOTHIE
This is another version of our Simple Green Smoothie — but with a twist of chocolate (yes, chocolate!) tahini. If you are not familiar with tahini, it is a paste made with roasted and pressed sesame seeds. It is nutritionally dense, with one tablespoon containing 95 calories, 9 grams of fat (83% healthy fat), 1.5 grams of carb and 3 grams of protein. You do not need a lot to enjoy the smooth flavor and delight tahini can bring to a recipe. This recipe can be a satisfying breakfast or delicious mid-day pick-me-up. What makes it Israeli? The product of tahini I use is from Soom — a company born in Philadelphia by way of Israel and owned by 3 sisters💜💚💕
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup frozen fruit — any combination like 1/2 cup strawberries + 1/2 cup mango; or banana, blueberries, pineapple, raspberries, etc.
1 cup nonfat milk or milk of choice
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, plain
1 Tablespoon chocolate tahini
Toss all the ingredients in the blender and blend for about a minute. (Tip: If your blender is not super powerful, blend the spinach with the milk first, then add the rest of the ingredients.) Pour into glasses and serve. Garnish with your chosen fruit. Makes 1–2 servings — depending on if it is a full meal or asnack🙂.
LENTIL STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS
As the war in Ukraine weighs heavily on each and everyone of us, I wanted to share a traditional dish. This is a vegan dish (and could be a Passover-safe dish, if you eat rice or skip the rice). #prayforukraine 🇺🇦
6 cups water
8 cabbage leaves
1 24-oz. jar tomato sauce, low sodium
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 12-oz. can or box (Trader Joe’s has an excellent pre-cooked box) lentils, drained and rinsed
1 cup brown rice, cooked
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the cabbage leaves and cook for about 2 minutes each, or until soft. Set aside and discard the water. Pour in the tomato sauce and simmer over low heat.
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add the onions and sauté 6–7 minutes, or until onions begin to brown.
Add the lentils and cook for 1 minute.
Add the cooked rice, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 more minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Spread out the cabbage leaves on a clean surface and place a large spoonful of the lentil mixture in the center of each, on top of the stem. Roll the cabbage leaf up over the filling, burrito-style. Place all the rolls seam side down in the pot with the tomato sauce and simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes.
Makes 2 main dish servings or 4 side dish servings.
Know who you were created to be so that you understand that even if the outside doesn’t reflect it yet, it’s still the truth. ~Jon Batiste, musician, 5-time Grammy award winner, including album of the year 2022; a shining, soulful human being
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May, M., MD. (2020). Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle (Updated 2020 ed.). Am I Hungry? Publishing.
Stone, D., Patton, B., Heen, S., & Fisher, R. (2010). Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Anniversary,Updated ed.). Penguin Books.
Bays, C. J. (2018). Mindful Eating on the Go: Practices for Eating with Awareness, Wherever You Are. Shambhala.