Just Stir in the Love
Preparing meals for the family daily can feel like a thankless task, endless shopping, cooking and cleaning, for food that gets gobbled up in five minutes, or even worse pushed aside.
I hear you Mamma!
It’s easy to feel anger, resentment or despair over the drudgery of preparing these meals, making the kitchen an altogether unhappy place.
“Don’t cook when you’re mad, the food will taste bad”
This statement seems like a rather far out notion, or does it? Can our emotions really affect the quality and taste of the food being prepared?
The ‘Food Mood’ connection is well documented, in the sense that the foods we eat can affect our bio chemistry, and in turn our moods.
But what about the other way around, can our emotions affect the food?
Innately, this is something I have felt I have known my whole life, without really having any sort of evidence or idea why.
I could go in the kitchen and prepare a meal feeling sad, or angry, and the same dish I’d prepared many times would simply no taste right. Too salty, too spicy, bland.. no matter how much tinkering I would do it would just be off.
Thoughts are things, your mood and emotions have a tangible effect on the food being handled.
I clearly remember the first time I saw the movie Like Water For Chocolate, which made me consider that my thoughts where not merely a lofty idea.
This Mexican drama tells the tragic story of the youngest daughter in her family, the beautiful Tita.
Ignored by her cold-hearted mother she is fed and nourished by Nacha the cook and grows up in the kitchen at her apron strings. Amidst the smells of chicken soup, thyme, laurel, steamed milk, garlic and of course onion, Tita channels all her emotions to surface in fantastical ways through her cooking.
She is forbidden to marry her true love, Pedro, since tradition dictates that Tita must care for her mother, so Pedro weds her older sister, Rosaura, though he still loves Tita. Who can forget the scene where she has prepared a dish of quail and rose petals where Pedro exclaims her meal is “the nectar of the Gods”, much to the ire of her mother and sister!
When asked her secret she replies;“The secret is when you cook it, you do it with much love”
The tastes, the smells; food and emotions are powerfully intertwined.
It seems that Tita’s powerful kitchen alchemy as not unique to her culinary creations, I have discovered a common thread runs through many cultures and beliefs of the sacred relationship between food and emotions.
The healing art of Ayurveda teaches us that preparing food with love, good intention and gratitude infuses the food with nourishment and transforms the meal into healing nourishment. This indefinable vibration ads to the life force of the food, making a mother’s cooking tastes divine deeply infused with love.
‘Chicken soup for the soul’, the healing properties of homemade chicken soup is prized in almost every culture, the nutrient rich broth soothing and comforting, made all that much more therapeutic by the cook.
Our thoughts shape our realities, and our words have a powerful impact on the world around us. The late Dr Masaru Emoto, the Japanese author and entrepreneur who conducted many experiments showing the effect that human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water.
A quick web search will yield many videos of the effect of negative vs positive words on plants, and the web abounds with similar results with rice. No matter how skeptical one may be this body of evidence certainly is ‘food for thought’, of the tangible imprint emotions have on food.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” – Proverbs 18:21
Now I hear the collective sigh, I hear you Mamma! No matter the size of the mother ship you are steering, the nonstop routine of getting those meals on the table can drain the life force right out of you!
I have compiled a check list to inspire some ideas to help you ‘stir in the love’!
Nourishing ourselves, where we are.
Kindness and compassion radiate from the heart of the home, beginning with self-love and kindness for the cook!
I believe the first and most important step is in the very core of ourselves, in finding ways to become grounded and centered in a way that resonates with you. The role of Mom set on repeat mode can drain the very life force, I have learned the hard way you can’t pour water from an empty bucket!
It is most definitely not outrageous to practice radical compassion and kindness to yourself. Moms are the selfless nurturers, the givers, often to our own detriment.
Be kind to yourself, self-care is self-love are not selfish!
Set the intention for kitchen time
This is especially important when I am cooking at a client’s home, I need to take a moment to check in with myself, with a simple mindful moment and offer a prayer. Set the intention, radiate compassion and kindness and leave any negative emotions at the door!
Banish that bad mood, make peace with the day. Such a simple act can have a profound effect on the outcome, not only on the food, but your mood and wellbeing.
We do we hate cooking? Why do we want to rush it out? Are we overscheduled that there literally is no time to cook?
Now I get it, time is of the essence, family commitments and in many households both parents work, meaning there really is not much time to cook. What I am advocating is cooking with intention, practice mindfulness, radiate compassion and be present in the process of the meals you to choose to prepare.
Can we bring the quiet back…could caring for yourself be your #1 priority?
Nurture our nature
Cooking fulfills a very primal survival need, in sustenance to stay alive. What if we viewed food as not simply as fuel, but a sacred appreciation for the nourishment it can provide us to flourish, an expression of love and nurturing.
Visualize light and love radiating from your fingers as you prepare the meal, harness the kindness, energy and love, and stir it in right in!
Ok, so at this point I can hear a collective groan, imagining I am NOT advocating we head back to 1950 with the good wife chained to the kitchen!
You don’t have to do it alone! Create a team work environment, have the family help out an each play a part in the meal. Those carrots may not get chopped quite the way you like it, or the sauce may be a little lumpy, however you will be surprised at how much kitchen time can be a bonding experience. Involve the children in the menu planning and food selection, inspire creativity.
The preparation of food involves all the senses, and memories are tied to the sense of smell. How often to you get the waft of a dish and you are transported back to your childhood? What a great opportunity to create memory stamps!
Put on music, play in the kitchen, dance, be silly and have fun. Radiate outrageous kindness and compassion to each other, the food is just the vessel.
Focus on Whole
Food grown and harvested locally, in your community carries the highest vibrational energy. Take time to connect with your local farmers markets, look out for farm days and show your children where their food is grown.
As a farmer’s daughter this is especially dear to my heart, with mass agriculture and supermarkets filled with aged produce shipped from halfway around the world, I believe it is key to seek out food that is vibrant and filled with life force.
Practice outrageous kindness by supporting your local farmers, the love will radiate in the meals!
Mindfulness and Gratitude
The preparation of the meal is as important as the way that we receive the meal to our bodies. That 30 minute meal or microwaved dinner is so often eaten in front of the television or device, gobbled up in minutes.
Apart from the anti-social behavior, a meal eaten so hastily cannot be well received by the body. As a nutritional therapist, I constantly see health issues which stem from poor digestion, it is key to slow down, chew well and eat calmly.
What we are missing is an opportunity for connection, a time to actually sit down at the table, turn off the device and show kindness and compassion to one another.
Clean the clutter off the dining table, set a place for each person and banish the device!
Take a Break!
Trying to do it all can create more stress, if making one from scratch mindful meal is all you can do right now, then focus on loving the process of planning that meal.
You got this Mamma Goddess, harness the light and deliver love!