The Godrej Food Trends Report is out,which is a detailed analysis of what to expect in the food industry in India this year; from pop up restaurants, to celebration of millets, from ethnic food ingredients to Buddha bowls, there is a lot that we can look forward to in 2018.But as we reach the half mark of 2018, when I look back on the last 5 months, the food trend for 2018 that I find most exciting is Mindful eating.
|Godrej Food trends Report 2018 #GFTR2018|
It makes sense that India, the land of Yoga and Ayurveda, and body and mind consciousness, should not only adopt mindfulness in food, but also embrace it as a way of life.
So what is Mindfulness in food? Being Mindful is knowing what you are eating, where is it coming from, how is it grown, who made it and how, and finally giving the food the respect and losing yourself to the five senses while eating your food, and being thankful for the food we have.
Let’s start from the beginning; being aware where your food comes from: A lot of food influencers have taken to growing their own vegetables and herbs, and I do think that given the ease of planters and balcony greens, that can very well be the way to go. But, baby steps. Many of us working professionals may not have the time or the patience to do our own vegetable gardens, but step out once a week to your neighbourhood vegetable vendor. Touch, feel, prod and smell your produce. I found myself doing just that when I went Mango shopping, I felt for the softness and piability of the mangoes, I judged them by their colour and checked for bruises and cuts, and then finally held them up for a glorious whiff of sun ripened mangoes. The entire sensational experience of touch, sight, smell before actually tasting is where the mindfulness lies.
|Choosing mangoes, an exercise in Mindfulness|
How is our food being produced?: I think this is the part Indians struggle with most. We love to visualise fields of mustard with Shahrukh Khan and Kajol dancing, but we dissociate with the farmer who grows the food. In fact, the dissociation from our food is even more when it comes to the animals we eat. We love our butter chicken, but we don’t want to be drawn into the controversy of how they are bred. One of my Easter lunch spread had the picture of a suckling on the stuffed pig platter. People don’t mind eating sausages and bacon, but the fact that it is an actual animal produce disturbs them. I eat all meats, and I love the western approach of giving dignity and respect to the shepherd who grazes them, to the butchers and even the chefs who work extensively with meats. There are countless travel and food shows which are now taking us on virtual tours of farmlands in Australia, and Butcheries in France, but not one which shows us the Tabelas of Punjab. If we need to embrace food, we truly need to embrace the where, who and what of food.
|Knowing , acknowledging and respecting the source of your food, mindful eating, #GFTR2018|
Next up is Mindfulness about who is making the food: Raise your hand if you make your food everyday. Raise your hand if you cook for your entire family, everyday. Raise your hand if you feel like an under-appreciated mom. There is a reason why Ma-ke-haath-ka khana is such a big thing. No yearly trend report can take away that blissful joy of ‘my mom cooks the best’. And a lot of brands have jumped on the bandwagon of celebrating the ‘MOM’ , be it cooking oils, to fast food brands, from cornflakes to mayonnaise everyone has a yummy mummy prepping breakfast, tiffin or checking up on her husbands calorie count.
I will be honest, I am a doctor, I work out of home, and while I plan every meal of the house, I do not cook every meal. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t healthy and tasty, and it does stem from age old family recipes. But, sometimes spending time rustling up a meal, is just the therapy I need after a day at work. Making salads, or adjusting the spices in a dish, or tossing up a fried rice in the wok, I don’t know how many of you have cooked for yourself or for family, but try it. And better still , involve the kids. Right now we make imaginary food for everyone at the park, using play sand, and being mindful that kitchen is not the only place for a woman, and that the kitchen belongs to an entire family, and the entire family can come together not just to eat, but also to cook, I feel will go a long way in promoting mindfulness and well being. Having open kitchens, where a kitchen connects directly to the dining hall, I think takes the cooking out of the kitchen and helps others see the entire preparation of dishes.
And finally the eating of food: By now you might have guessed from the 700 odd words above, that I believe that Mindfulness in eating food, doesn’t just lie in eating it. But, one of the greatest joys of life, is that every now and then you have to slow down and savour a meal. But how many of us have rushed through our meals on our way to work, binge eaten in front of the TV, or netflixed our meals, not even realising what we ate. Guess, the biggest advantage of eating your food mindfully, is that you feel satiated much faster, and that translates to eating lesser. Eating slowly, admiring the long grains of basmati, deeply inhaling the smell of fresh ghee, and even eatin
g with your hands to really feel the texture of food, all help immersing yourself in the eating experience.
Who knew mindfulness could be your next step to health and weightloss.
But first one word about giving thanks. Not a traditional Indian concept, but since many of us have been brought up in Catholic schools, where a prayer before meals is mandatory, why not adopt it in our own way? I first noticed this when one day my son, returned from school, and just folded his hands and said “Thankyou God for this food”. I don’t know how much he understands about God or thankfulness , especially since we haven’t introduced the concept of God to him, and sometimes he returns without eating his school tiffin ( so much for thankfulness) , but I think it’s a habit worth inculcating.
Mindfulness while eating out: I think nothing can be more satisfying than a mindful meal eaten at a restaurant. Think about it, one of the key ways of eating mindfully is having a dedicated place of cooking your meals and also eating them. And so eating at the dining table promotes more mindfulness, rather than eating infront of the TV. Now imagine that you actually get dressed to EAT, drive a car to a place to EAT, be seated in a place particularly designed so that you ENJOY YOUR MEALS, everyone from the wait-staff to the chef to the cutlery on the table is there to make your meal a memorable experience. Leave the phone, connect with your food, connect with the people making and serving the food, and mostly connect with the person you are there with to savour the food. To be able to have someone who celebrates your love for food as much as you , is a treasure all unto itself.
Mindfulness as a food blogger : If you have read this far, I am guessing, either you really love your food , in which case HIGH FIVE, or are a food blogger , in which case hug from your tribe. As a food blogger taking food pictures can seem contra-intuitive to mindfulness, but it actually isn’t. Seeing how the light hits the food, and how the colours contrast on the plate, how the butter chicken looks even better with the dollop of cream, and food styling using the ingredients in the dish, means you are actually celebrating the food in front of you. But a word of caution , celebrate food, not just the pictures .
Even while eating, us food bloggers need to know that much more about textures, interplay of flavours, food combinations and so much more. I am constantly trying to identify the spices, or how a particular cooking technique affects the overall dish whether it is char grilling or smoking a dish, or cooking in a water bath. Without mindfulness, that isn’t possible.
|Baby led weaning, this is my son at 9 months eating a carrot beetroot whole wheat cake ( yes I celebrated monthly birthdays). Baby led weaning, and sitting in a dedicaated high cahir are ways of starting a mindful eating practice for kids.|
And finally, mindfulness for kids !
It starts as young as breast feeding and then weaning. While enough has been said, and written about breastfeeding, and I am a huge believer in it, not much is said about a baby’s first foods. Baby led weaning simply means that let the baby decided what they want to eat, and not to give mashed purees, it also means they start to grab and eat early, they chew their food better, and it means better hand eye coordination and better understanding of food texture, rather than having everything mashed and watery.
Second tip would be to make child sit in a high chair, rather than running after the child during feeding time. It means they have a dedicated place to eat, just like adults.
And third, is don’t feed with the Tv mobile on, something a lot of parents do. Yes, its more work getting them to eat food, more mess too, since the kid is effectively feeding themselves, but you can raise mindful eaters at a young age.
Taking your kid to the vegetable market is another great way to make them aware of food, also imaginary play and actual cooking with kids is all part of mindfulness.
That brings us to the end of why I think Mindfulness is the Number one trend of 2018 and going forth. It encompasses everything right from production to consumption of food, you can introduce it in simple ways in your daily life, and learn to love food more, and it can help you lose weight too if that is what you choose to do, and connecting with food with all your senses not just your taste buds, elevating the experience of eating, whether at home or outside.
|Hope you enjoyed our playful take on Mindful eating|
This post is a part of the Godrej Food Trends blogging contest hosted by Fashionable Foodz in association with Vikhroli Cucina and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. the content herein is owned by the blogger. Godrej food trends blogging contest, Fashionablefoodz or Godrej is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.