“Mindfulness.” Being “mindful.” I wish I liked the word because the meaning behind this new-agey, woolly notion is important. What does it mean?
If I were cranky, as I happen to be now, I’d tell you that it means, “Not being a dumbass.” Seriously, that’s my translation of being mindful.
Is that mean-spirited? Well, sometimes that’s what it takes. How would I describe “mindfulness” to my 14-year-old-son (who is not a dumbass, he’s just 14)? I would say, “James, it means, Paying Attention.
If that didn’t get through? PAY ATTENTION!
THINK! (Thinking is an underrated activity, especially in America. Thinking is probably the most important cooking technique I know—why I devoted the first chapter of Ruhlman’s Twenty, a techniques cookbook, to it.) What got me started on this was watching the below TED Talk by author and neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt about why diets don’t work and why they can be harmful.
Her bottom line, she said, was to pursue “mindful eating.” It means thinking about what you eat. Just think. Am I hungry? If yes, then eat. Do you eat good food or bad food? It’s up to you. If you don’t know what good food is, learn. Basically it’s this: If you feel better after eating it than you did before eating it, it’s good for you. If you need more information, here: eat whole foods or processed foods composed of only a few ingredients (pasta, for example) that you or someone next to you cooks. Go easy on all sugars and refined grains (that pasta, for example).
That’s mindful eating. Want to feel great and be healthy for a long long time? Says Aamodt, don’t worry about how much you weigh; it doesn’t matter: Eat real food, get regular exercise, don’t smoke, don’t drink too much. I’d also add get plenty of sleep. And since I’m still cranky, I’ll reiterate: Don’t be a dumbass. Think for yourself.
Want some more “mindfulness”?
No one, not your nutritionist, not your doctor, know anything definitively about what’s good and bad for your health, foodwise.
Is saturated fat bad for you, as you’ve been told by just about everyone forever? Turns out it’s not true. Go ahead and enjoy that fatty pork chop! (Just stop when you’re full.)
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” –Michael Pollan
Think for yourself.
Other links you may like:
- My past rants Cook Your Own Food and America Has a Serious Eating Disorder.
- Keep in touch with your local Slow Food Chapter.
- Read Nina Planck’s book Real Food: What to Eat and Why.
© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.