Wednesday, 17 September 2014

You know where it's easy to eat mindfully? France.

The scent wafting from this picturesque
bakery each morning was truly satisfying.

And that's because when one is in France one is on holiday (not in front of a computer or in a car), one does not have access to one's own kitchen, one is happy and well-rested, and one is surrounded by a cornucopia of beauty for the eyes, ears, nose, AND mouth.

Beautiful AND delicious.
I seriously did eat somewhat mindfully on my trip to Provence and Paris this summer.  I told myself before the trip that I wasn't going to limit myself or worry about gaining weight or avoiding sugar or caffeine or anything - no rules.  As Dr. Jan Chozen Bays says in my online mindful eating course, in North America we try to solve problems by attacking or incarcerating them.  I didn't want to take any of that North American messed up nonsense on my trip of a lifetime.  I wanted to experience the French paradox fully.  In France they don't do coffee to go.  In Canada, our biggest cultural icon is a chain that has taken over the country and people's common sense with its bitter, scalding coffee to go.  Vive la difference.

Now, I did clean my plate and even have seconds at most meals, but I savoured every single bite thoroughly.  I ate slowly and enjoyed the smell of the food, its presentation, the wonderful combinations of flavours and textures, and the company I was with.

My most interesting observation during my trip: I had NO afternoon chocolate cravings (despite what you might assume based on the accompanying photo), or sugar cravings for that matter, at all.  Every guide to Paris goes on and on about chocolate and macaroons.  Neither called to me, as I was not interested in eating between meals.  I even got sick of cheese, meat, and bread by the end.  I did not get sick of the wine.

I felt pretty pleased with my approach when listening to the ladies I was travelling with talk about food and eating.  Many of these ladies were a decade or more older than me, and vibrant and healthy, and yet they were STILL concerned about their waistlines. Do I need to say that they did not clean their plates?  They even mentioned the c-word - calories.  My god, I thought, I DO NOT want to be running that same old tiresome soundtrack through my brain 5 years from now, let alone 15 or 25 years from now.  I figured I would never eat food this delicious again for a long time, and it was prepared with great care, so I should just enjoy eating it (all of it).

After. I alone cleaned my plate,
and I don't regret it!
Of course, continuing to eat when I'm quite full is not the epitome of mindful eating.  But at least it was a choice I made consciously (I hope our chef appreciated it!).  I did not let all my hang-ups about food follow me to France.  I ate a lot, but I didn't do it out of compulsion, or boredom, or tiredness, or any of the other reasons that I usually have for eating when not hungry at home.  

Vive la liberation?

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