June 10, 2011

Summer School: Week 1 recap

I've finished Week 1 of my Slow and Simple Summer School. This week's focus in The Slow Down Diet was relaxation. In practical terms, this meant taking a little more time for meals, and avoiding eating while being stressed or mentally overloaded. Some breathing exercises were included in the to-dos.

I'd slipped into the habit of eating breakfast and lunch at my desk, so this week I stopped doing that. I made sure I was relaxed before eating (taking some deep breaths if I felt I needed it). It was nice, actually, and even though I didn't make special efforts to focus on every bite, the fact that I was in a nice state of mind and slowing down my pace of eating did have the side effect of making me notice and enjoy my food more. Which is a good thing, since I buy and prepare healthy, delicious, quality food...I should be enjoying it to the fullest!

Through this week's exercises, I realized that when I'm stressed and busy, I don't feel hungry and I don't eat. On the other hand, when I'm stressed and bored (a nasty combination), I want to reach for comforting, sweet or salty foods. Awareness has to come before change, so I do value this insight.

I got a surprise lesson on what eating while stressed does to digestion when, halfway through lunch yesterday, I had to step outside to deal with an extremely rude person making a commotion outside. My adrenaline was flowing, and my stomach temporarily shut down. When I got back inside, I took several deep breaths before I let myself continue eating. Yeah, eating while stressed is not a good idea. I could not have asked for a more crystalline example. 

Next week's lesson is on food quality. I don't think I'll have a lot to learn there, necessarily, but I'm open to what the chapter has to say, of course. We had a perfect, high-quality dinner last night: organic chicken breasts and asparagus, grilled and topped with leftover arugula-basil pesto; a roasted Roma tomato, basil and mozzarella salad; and hummus. The produce and the chicken came from Wednesday's Full Circle box.
Speaking of food quality, I know I'm a little late to the party on this (so unlike me!), but I'm at this very moment watching "Food, Inc." (look at me, multitasking!). If you have not seen this film yet, get your hands on a copy and watch it immediately!


Johanna B said...

I like the look of your salad. I fixed a Caprese salad with tomatoes from the farmer's market, my own basil (I'm so proud) and fresh mozzarella (not local). It was SOOOO good.

I got to see Food, Inc when it first came out. My daughter and I drove to Lawrence, KS (about 30 minutes away) to a little liberal theater that shows lots of stuff no one else will. I changed a lot of my eating habits after that one!

I finished the first chapter, too. I worked a lot on remembering to breathe deeply while I ate but I'm the master of relaxation exercises. I taught classes in stress management for many years. Love that kind of stuff. Enjoyed your example of not eating while you're stressed. Good one! Looking forward to the next chapter.

Carrie said...

I love Caprese salad when the tomatoes and basil are farmers-market (or homegrown) fresh. It is one of the true tastes of summer, and worth waiting for the rest of the year, IMO.

I really can't believe I waited this long to see "Food, Inc." I guess I didn't see it right away...then sort of forgot. I tell what I won't forget...the part where the guy is putting his hand right in the cow's rumen. I was practically jumping up and down yelling, "Oh. My. God!"

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