You’ve probably already noticed that being happy or peaceful in the kitchen, mysteriously makes your food taste delicious. Well, there is a good reason for it. Our energy infuses into the food we are making. Everything is connected; everything dances (or stagnates) around and through us. The mind wanders, thoughts arise. How we are being; the place we are ‘coming from’ can really affect the food we are creating. So, when we create food consciously, we naturally commit to being present, so that the food we create is inspired by the energy of higher consciousness and love.
What do I actually mean by mindfulness?
I didn’t use to like that word, because I thought it meant having a ‘full mind’ haha – but it turns out it is the opposite. Mindfulness is just about being present and aware, rather than getting tangled in thoughts and emotions. It’s about being in the here and now, being in the moment, whilst being calmly aware of feelings, thoughts and emotions (whatever they may be). It’s all about focussing on what is going in ‘this’ moment, rather than being entwined in what might happen in the future or what has just happened. It seems in our modern world, it’s more common for us to run on autopilot in life or to worry about things that have happened, things that might happen or whatever challenges are going on.
Mindfulness is can be a powerful practice to embrace in life, because it allows us to find a place of peace and calm, no matter what is going on around us. This gives our bodies a chance to find more spaciousness to ‘be’ or to heal. It can lead to a greater sense of calm in life.
Without realising it, mindfulness is something I have practised in my kitchen for many years (I call it ‘being conscious in the kitchen’). To me it was simply a commitment to ‘leaving all my challenges behind’ whilst I made food. I made a commitment to myself that whenever I prepared food, I would be fully present. I had decided that whenever I am in the kitchen it a space of peace for me.
Spiritually, we know that all are connected. We sense it, through every cell of our being. We can feel it in the depths of our hearts. It’s a whisper, inviting us to unfold into the fullness of our being, calling us ‘home’. There is a thread that joins us all together… plants, people, animals, and all sentient life. When we tug at that thread, we find that everything is connected.
What we do to another, we ultimately do to ourselves. At our deepest levels there is a yearning to become whole again and to honour all other sentient beings.
Exceprt from “The Spirituality of Being Vegan”
Our state of consciousness directly affects the food we make
For me ‘mindfulness in the kitchen’ was born from the feeling that our state of consciousness, our energy, directly affects the food that we prepare. Everything is energy, so if we make food from a place of open-heartedness and lightness then our food is filled with light and the energy of it feels really good. We know when someone makes food ‘with love’ it just tastes better. This is because everything is energy. Realising this, I wanted to make sure that whenever I prepared food that it was infused with love and kindness. That doesn’t actually mean that I am projecting my ‘love’ into the food, instead, I am finding a place of peace and calm and just allowing a beautiful space within me as a create the food. This reconnects me to the divine flow of life and because I am coming from that space, in turn, it allows that divine energy to inspire the food that I make.
It’s simple really, there’s nothing grand about it, yet the outcome can be uplifting and even life-changing. For one, the food tastes better. For two, it has a ripple on our daily life and means that we are calmer in general. For three, our state of consciousness has an impact on the people around us, creating a better world. So not only does the food we share have a higher vibration and taste better, but the whole process sends ripples out into the world that makes the world a better place.
It takes time to cultivate mindfulness. When I first started practising mindfulness in the kitchen I decided that I would not make food unless I came from a place of calm and was able to be fully present (here and now in the moment without wandering thoughts) with the food. So I carried out the following practice every time I was about to make food.
- I check in with myself and notice what is going on for me.
Often there might be thoughts whirring around in my mind about something or other. Those thoughts might be mild or challenging. I simply notice and observe, gently, without needing to push them out.
- I acknowledge my truth, my thoughts and accept my feelings.
Quite quickly this takes the energy out of them because I am not ‘trying’ to push them away or ‘fighting’ with them.
- I commit to being present with whatever I am doing in the kitchen, without being lost or bothered by whatever else is happening in my life at the time. I remind myself that I can’t do anything about that ‘stuff’ right now anyway, and that I am more likely to solve issues later after having time being present anyway).
So I do this…
“I simply take a breath and close my eyes. This creates a defined pause as I move into a new activity. I let go of tension, re-centre, re-balance and stand out of my own way. I focus on my breath and inhale ‘light’ through my crown chakra. Every cell of my being begins to re-open into the present moment once again. I feel my self filled with light (others might experience this as peace or calm). I exhale any tension outwards on the out breath. I repeat again until I quickly become centred.
Over time if I notice that my thoughts have wandered, I carry out this brief practice, stopping what I am doing for a moment. It’s not only beneficial for my culinary endeavours, but it has a simple ripple effect on my daily life. It means that no matter what is going on for me, I have a joyous, meditative practice at least two or three times a day. I’ll often do spontaneous movement in the kitchen as I am working or as I move from one ingredient to the next – just feeling the delight of how my body wants to move. This is all part of meditation in motion, every day life meditation. It’s what makes the food taste so good!”
Try this practice for being present when you are creating food…
- Close your eyes and inhale deeply.
- Relax your shoulders.
- Let go of tension throughout your whole body.
- Focus on the rhythmic rise and fall of your breath as you inhale and exhale fully.
- Allow your being to be filled with peace and calm.
- Feel yourself centring, balancing and becoming present.
- Carry on creating in the kitchen from this space of calm presence.
Whenever you notice that you lose presence and start thinking about something from the past or future rather than being here and now focus on what you are creating, then stop what you are doing and repeat the steps above (or repeat something else similar that works for you to find that place of calm presence).
Before long it will become natural and effortless. Your cuisine will be inspired by your soul and you’ll feel a beneficial difference that will nourish you and those around you in many ways.
I hope this has inspired you in some way or planted seeds. If you are interested I run workshops and retreats with small groups in Europe and internationally to inspire ‘consciousness in the kitchen’, whilst making delicious food together. You can check out my events here… Kind Earth Retreats & Workshops with Anastasia