Snacking has always been something I do on the run or while doing something else. Typically, I’ll be between meals, at my desk working and a little pang hits my tummy. In truth, it’s some of the most unconscious eating I do. I’ll just nosh while working. It’s not even about what I’m eating or that my body had made it a point to tell me it was time to replenish. Although those things are true and happening, really I’m just mindlessly grabbing at something while emailing someone, or writing a post, or tending to a client’s need.
We make it a point here at home to practice the art of actually sitting at the table or counter to eat and only eat. No cell phones, computers, reading material and we haven’t had a t.v. in forever so, that never happens. Generally, when Jon and I eat a meal, it’s together in our dining/kitchen area or outside on the lanai. Snacking is different though. There is no fanfare or approach to it. I pad into the kitchen and just reach for whatever is easiest to grab and take back to my studio with me. Up until recently, it just never occurred to me to apply the same notion of conscious eating and approach to snacking as I do to the meals I prepare for myself and others.
I’ve started to thing, however, that if I get a craving or feel the distracting pang of hunger, it’s simply an indication to stop and shift gears from what I’m doing.
This need seems to be more than just about hunger or lowering sugar levels. If I stop and really tune in to what I’m feeling and needing in those moments, it’s really about a nourishing or replenishing pause. A. Pause.
I need to do that again…
Did you feel it?
In a day that is as busy and time demanding as mine have been of late, I find myself making 80 million excuses for plowing through, with no pauses, breaks or even an acknowledgement that I need such a pause. Instead, what I do is mindlessly eat while getting distracted with Facebook or Twitter or eye candy on Pinterest, because I’ve worked to a point where I just can’t think straight anymore.
What is the art of taking a snack break solo, and why take it solo?
A break can be quick, silent and meant to give your mind a pause from whatever it was doing so that it can rest in the quietude and sensory pleasure derived from the food you’re eating.
So the art… The art of snacking solo ala Food Practice requires Attending, Preparing and Place.
1. Attend to the messages your mind, body and soul give you. Hunger pang, lightheadedness, craving? Stop what you’re doing and listen. Follow the impulse to get up and find something to nourish you.
2. This is where it’s easy to fall into the mindless noshing trap we all find ourselves in, where we eat just to eat or to fill in a gap we haven’t actually paid attention to. So… when you’ve found something to eat, prepare it. That is to say, make sure it’s something you can place in a plate, on a lovely napkin, or a pleasant to hold cup or glass. If it’s a bag of nuts or crackers or anything packaged, which I advise to steer clear of, take it out of its packaging and place in a bowl.
This creates a mental and physical shift. You’re no longer just grabbing and running back to your task. You’ve stopped now and brought your attention to the fact that you’re getting food, and taking the time to present it nicely for yourself. In other words, you’re attending to your visual and internal nourishment.
3. Find somewhere to sit and eat your snack with nothing else to distract you. This is the pause. Everything else up until this point was the conscious approach. I know it sounds woowoo, and it’s ‘just a snack’, but I’m telling you, we don’t stop enough during our day to just BE. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, the act of pausing to give your mind, body and soul a small morsel of pleasurable nourishment can do wonders for you and your day.
What I’m loving most about it is that if feels indulgent and recalibrating at the same time. I’m also loving that for the first time in quite a while I’m really getting a chance to just sit outside and LOOK around, feel the breeze and be silent with the settling rush in my mind from the days work.
I invite you to really take a snack break. Unplug, shift your mindset, attend to the preparation of this short window of time and sit somewhere quietly eating something light, healthful and replenishing. This is actually inspiring me to come up with a list of my favorite snacks… stay tuned!