Play With Your Food

A glass of milk with bubbles and a straw.

I’m going to sound a little crazy to some people this week, but bear with me. Throughout this week I want you to play with your food.

“Play with our food? Aren’t we taught NOT to play with our food? Shouldn’t we be civilized adults and eat our food rather than playing with it?”

Sometimes, yes. But this week, every chance you get, I want you to play with your food in some way. In whatever way comes to you in the moment.

If this means displaying your food in an unusual way, do it. If it means having a hot dog eating contest with your friends and family, do it. If it means making a picture with the ketchup and mustard as you put it on your burger, do it. Drag your fork through your food and swirl it around and around. Blow bubbles in your drink. Cut your vegetables into interesting shapes. See how tall you can make a sandwich and then smoosh it down to fit it in your mouth. Lay your french fries out to make a picture or a pattern. Stick your finger in your ice cream and swirl it around. Whatever your inner little kid wants to do, do it.

The whole idea……loosen up and have some fun.

A glass of milk with bubbles and a straw.

Even if you don’t have time off this week for Labor Day, take the time to loosen up and have some fun with your food. Playing in general allows our creativity to flow through more freely. Giving ourselves permission to quit “adulting”, for even a few minutes, is a great stress reliever. This also gives us the opportunity to laugh. When we do something silly, like blowing bubbles in our drink, we laugh at ourselves and we make others laugh.

Enjoying your food, and using all of your senses when you eat, has the added benefit of making you more mindful of what you’re eating and what you are doing while you’re eating. So many of us rush from one thing to the next without looking up from our phones in between. We often eat our meals on the go, or worse, while still working. Make it a point this week to actually sit down and eat your meals. Step away from your desk or office. Even if you just go down the hall, or out to your car for your lunch break. While you’re having dinner, be present. Don’t spend your time watching TV or playing on your phone.

Use all five of your senses while enjoying your meals. Smell the food you are getting ready to eat. Listen to the crunch as you bite into it, or the sounds that are around you as you’re eating. Feel the texture of the food in your mouth. Or, go deeper and feel how your body reacts to what you’re eating. We often know if we’re eating something that isn’t great for us by how our body responds. Look at the colors and textures of the foods you’re eating, how they are presented. Eat slowly and take the time to taste each bite that you take. Chew slowly and savor whatever your eating. Even if you’re eating a piece of toast, or a pack of peanut butter crackers, take the time to enjoy what you’re eating and to be present in the moment while you’re eating it.

If you can’t bring yourself to play with your food, or if you want to mix things up a little…….Try this little game.

You can play by yourself or with others, with meals you’re cooking or eating out: Write out on cards (or little sheets of paper) what you are going to eat for dinners this week, or 5 places that you would like to have dinner this week, or a mixture of both. Fold them up and put them in a little jar. Each night draw out one of the little cards and have that for dinner, or go to that place for dinner.

For example: Your 5 cards could be – Chicken Casserole, Mexican Food, Chinese, Pizza, and Seafood. You would write each of these choices out on a card, fold the cards up and place them in a jar or bowl, then draw one out each evening.

Not only does this alleviate the decision-making process each night, it also teaches us to be more flexible. Maybe even throw a new recipe in the mix or try a new restaurant in town.  

Let us know below how you choose to play with your food this week. Did it make you, and others around you, smile? Did others join in with you as you were having fun?

We believe that you should have fun every chance you get. Life can be stressful and there are enough things to be serious about each day. Give yourself permission to loosen up this week, make yourself smile, and make others smile in the process.

Smiley face made out of donut holes.

Move Over Meditation

A stack of rocks next to Lake Huron.

Meditation? Again? I can audibly hear the groans of those who are like, “Not this again. I’ve tried this and I just can’t. I can’t sit and clear my mind and wait for inspiration to descend. I don’t have the time”. For some, that method works perfectly. For others, not so much. I’m sure you’ve heard all of the statistics about how good meditating is for you, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Meditation lowers your heart rate and your blood pressure. It gives you more energy. It relieves stress, increases self-awareness, reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It allows you to be more in control of your emotions. The list goes on and on. If you want more go to Pinterest and type in “Meditation Benefits” in the search bar.

Now, all of that being said, have you heard of moving meditation? Moving meditation is basically just meditating while you are doing something else. “Shouldn’t I be mindful while I’m doing my tasks? Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do, be present?” Yes. But, being present and meditation can go hand in hand. Being present in the moment is a form of meditation.

For example, while you’re washing the dishes: instead of standing there thinking about what you have to do next, being upset that no one is helping you, or wondering why your family can’t scrape their own plates, instead of rehashing the conversation you had earlier….take that time to meditate. Listen to the running water, feel it flow over your hands as you rinse the dishes off. Watch the bubbles form in the soap. Allow your mind to wander around aimlessly. Don’t latch on to any one thought.

Pretend that there is a bubble of space around your kitchen sink. When you step into that bubble it is your space to just be. Give yourself permission to stand there and day dream while you do the dishes.

Or take a walk around your neighborhood, or the park, or your office building. Do this without any music playing in your ear. Smell the fresh cut grass. Feel the warmth of the sun. Look around you and take note of what is there. Again, don’t get attached to anything. Just use this time to let your mind wander aimlessly.

This takes a little practice. I know this may sound crazy to some people, but try it for a week.

If you do this, you’ll be surprised at what starts to come up for you, what inspirations come your way. Our minds are full of good ideas, full of simple solutions that are waiting right there on the surface. We just need to quiet that daily chatter long enough to allow those ideas to come through.

Some other things you could try: doing TaiChi, Qigong, Yoga, or any other type of slow moving exercise. All of these practices cause you to focus on what you’re doing physically so that you can give that mental chatter a break. They are all forms of moving meditation.

Do a little something every day this week that allows you to just shut your brain off for a bit. Try not to control your thoughts, just let them flow. Whether it is once a day for 30 minutes or 5 times a day for 5 minutes each time, put the phone aside, get away from your work space, and give your mind a break. Sit on a park bench and just watch butterflies or squirrels, take a walk around the block or around the room, knit or crochet, shred papers, or dance around your house. Whatever works for you.

To be clear, if “regular meditating” works for you, then keep doing it. By no means am I knocking it. I simply want to offer alternatives for those who don’t like doing that style of meditation.

Another style you can also try is guided meditations. There are several free options on YouTube. Some of my favorites:

Melanie Beckler -of Ask-Angels.com. Her voice is very relaxing. Click here to try one that I really like.

Chris Shelton with Shelton Qigong, “How to Heal Chronic Pain and Inflammation Guided Meditation”.

Victor Oddo has a couple of great ones. If you watch his YouTube videos he often has a link to them in the comments section. I think this is one that you get for free if you sign up for his emails. Click here to see those.

There is also a channel called “Meditative Mind” that has guided meditations. They have music that is specifically designed to be played while you are meditating as well.

The whole key of meditation is doing it regularly. Everyone is different. If the thought of sitting still and trying to clear your mind of all thought just stresses you out, then you aren’t going to do it. If you don’t do it then you aren’t going to get any benefit from the practice. Find a way that works for you. Trust me, you will still get the benefits. 

Comment below and let us know if you will give meditation another try. Or if you already have a meditation that works for you, what are you doing? Share with us so that we can all learn from each other.

Perspective

Sunset over a lake.

We go through our lives each day, often doing the same things in the same order. When you take a shower, brush your teeth, get ready in the morning, eat meals, drive to work, drive to the store, and drive home you go the same way each time.

I invite you to mix it up. Begin to look at things from a different perspective and see how it affects your over all wellbeing.

When you shower, do things out of order. Try driving a different way to and from work. Even if it just means taking a different way out of your parking lot. Take an extra few minutes and drive around your neighborhood. Look at each house you pass and find something beautiful about it. Look for something in each yard that you’ve never seen before. When you are eating a meal, put your phone down and look around you. See the colors in your food, look at the pictures on the wall, notice how the tables are arranged, look out the window (if there is one) and watch cars passing by.

I used to go out and eat in my car when I worked retail. It would give me a break from the noise inside the store. I would take that time to enjoy my food and relax a little, but also to watch what was around me. Where I worked there were trees around, so there were always little birds searching for food, hopping from branch to branch, or flying around. If you have the ability to eat outside, take time to look around you, look up at the sky, the clouds. When you are waiting somewhere, look up at the ceiling. I have found over the years that a lot of places have the most beautiful ceilings. Especially older, historic type buildings. If I walk into a store or restaurant and they have utilized the ceiling as shelf space, or have it decorated, the place is automatically that much more interesting. To me that shows that the owners think outside the norm. 

Take this all one step further and literally change your perspective. Lay upside down and look at things that way. How does it change? Tilt your head sideways and see what pops out. If you are having a hard time finding a solution to something, change your perspective. Step back and think of it like an outsider would. Try playing devil’s advocate and argue the position from the other side to gain clarity. Sometimes when we get stuck in one loop in our heads the solution alludes us.

Comment below and let us know what you did to change your perspective this week. Share with us other ways you use to change your perspective.