Eat Mindfully the Length of One Song

My Mindful Meal

This week, I was a speaker on my favorite topic; Putting the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First for Ventura SCORE, this wonderful nonprofit organization that provides mentorship for small business owners from retired business executives who donate their time. The topic was of course on Work-Life Balance. I am curious to know what that means for you? What do you conjure up when you hear those words?

Anyway, we were three speakers, each with 30 minutes to share on our topic. What I found wonderful was how, the lineup had been decided even before any of us had submit our topics, and yet we were lined up exactly in the right order that you would want to hear the content we all delivered.

Speaker 1: Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
Speaker 2: Living Your Life to Your Fullest Potential (all about different ways to harmoniously balance stress/long work ours etc.)
Speaker 3: ME! Putting the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First

I will admit, I was nervous. Now, I have LOVED public speaking for over a decade, and can talk in any sized room whether it be 3 people or 300 people. BUT, I was still nervous. I’ve been a fundraiser for so long, that I can speak on that topic ad nauseum, but until lately my forum for speaking about Oxygen Mask has been all virtual/digital. You’ve all heard me go on about it here, if you know me personally, you have heard me share face to face, one to one, if we are friends on social media, or if follow my page The Breathing Space on Facebook then you have heard me talk about this.

This was only the second time that I had spoken about this to a live audience and had never done the presentation along with the slides I prepared; only because they asked me for slides! hahahah!!

Anyway, I had decided that I would just go up and be me. And it turns out, that when I have an audience, I can be a ham, I can be funnier than I think I am in real life, and I can totally be myself. The response was wonderful; people were laughing, participating, sharing and asking questions. What more can a speaker want?

OK, so what has this to do with the title?

That afternoon, I went to Namaste Spiceland to get chai and a simple lunch. As I was waiting for my meal of daal, roti, sabji I tuned into the music that they were playing over the speakers. It was of this deep voice, the voice of Amitabh Bachchan – India’s most iconic movie star whose stardom transcends generations. I couldn’t follow along with the Hindi, but just that sound of his voice, and the words that I couldn’t make out, but recognized from the movie that I loved so much as a child. My food arrived, and I sat enjoying it, savoring the hot, sweet spiced milk chai absorbed in the music of my youth. I didn’t realize the impact of that music on my soul, till I started to tear up as I listened to the soothing voice of my favorite Bollywood star. The food, the music, being surrounded by familiar smells, sounds and sights of my childhood and youth; I was completely immersed.

So what has this to do with the presentation that evening on Oxygen Mask?

So glad you asked. Let me tell you.

As we were talking about Mindful Minutes, I asked for examples of how they could incorporate what we were discussing into their own lives. How can you incorporate mindfulness into your over-committed days someone raised her hand and volunteered; when you eat, just eat. Just savor the foods, don’t talk, don’t watch TV, don’t work, worse of all, don’t drive!

YES! I exclaimed! YES indeed.

And I was able to recount my afternoon experience of my mini trip to India through all my senses.

Believe me when I tell you, if I am not with a donor or a potential donor, most afternoons my lunch is a protein shake drunk at my desk. I work right through lunch; but not because I am trying to over work – because I allow myself to leave work earlier as a result. It’s worth the trade off to be with my kids earlier.

But here’s what I really want to share. Yes, life is busy. Yes eating at the table is a luxury.

But what if you did that once or twice a week, JUST for the duration of ONE SONG (2-3 minutes)? Imagine this – you get to pick out your favorite song/s and then just as you sit to eat, you turn on the music — and allow yourself to be immersed in the experience of food and music.

So today’s call to action for you is to see if you can, just even once sit still and eat, for the duration of one song (remember it’s just 2-3 minutes) before you jump up to do 15 other things.

Will you write and tell me if you try this?

Brown Rice Quinoa Pasta with an Indian Spice inspired Pasta Sauce

20160506_020419300_iOS

  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 1T evoo
  • 5-7 curry leaves
  • 2-5 cloves diced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp corriander powder
  • Jar of organic marinara sauce
  • diced fresh cilantro for garnish

Sautee the onion till golden brown, be patient. You don’t want glassy onion.
Add the curry leaves and watch out they will sputter
Add garlic and sautee mix for a minute or two
Add seasoning and stir it till well mixed and starting to smell fragrant; 1-2 min
Add in marinara sauce and mix well, let it simmer for 3-5 minutes
Toss in pasta cooked per package directions, I usually add 1-2T of light olive oil to the water to boil before adding pasta (I like to drain, then rinse and drain the pasta to get rid of the gooey-ness)
Sprinkle with fresh cilantro
Enjoy!
IF you make it, please let me know what you think!

Day 16: 30 days to fit- chicken two ways

I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.
Madam Benoit

I didn’t post yesterday because my 2yo wouldn’t sleep till 11pm! He then decided to wake up at 4:15am – back to bed in 15 min thankfully but then 5:30am he’s opening his bedroom door again. Ugh! I’m exhausted and groggy so I grab my blanket and go lay down on the floor of his room- so as not to get him too used to being in bed with me (and we have a strict no kids in our bed policy!). He’s asleep and now it’s 7am and it’s time to wake – but I just don’t want to!! I’m wiped out and the day has barely begun! My back and neck are sore from sleeping on the floor.

Thank goodness for my pick me up Arbonne protein smoothie breakfast complete with Almond/Coconut blended milk, almond butter, celery, spinach, green beans, strawberries, blueberries, lime and ginger. Extra strong decaf coffee (ha) rounds out my breakfast with my usual assortment of vitamins!

Lunch is Indian chicken and lentils (thanks ma!)

Two Arbonne mango chews and a chocolate nutrition bar helped tide me over till dinner which was chicken teriyaki including a teriyaki sauce made from scratch! I got the recipe from Mark Bittman’s cooking app and improved upon it!

Here’s the recipe:
1 1/2lb skinless chicken (I used drumsticks but feel free to use whatever!)

1/3 cup each of mirin, water, soy sauce, 1T sugar, 1T black bean paste.

If you can marinate the chicken in the sauce overnight awesome- if not – don’t worry.

-heat 2T olive oil in cast iron skillet on med-high heat
-add chicken and cook both sides till slightly brown – couple minutes per side
-add all the marinade, lower heat to medium, cover and cook till chicken is done (175F on instant read thermometer) turn chicken every few minutes to get an even browning.
-once chicken reaches 175F remove lid and let the sauce thicken a bit – just a few minutes longer. Serve over basmati white rice! YUM! My kids and hubby each devoured two legs – leaving me with just one! Such a great feeling!

Ok so not only did I cook this but while this was cooking I also made Indian spinach chicken to be had for lunch tomorrow. I’d marinated the chicken in ginger garlic paste the night before.

– 1 pressure cooker
-1 diced onion
-1 diced tomato
– 1/2 diced jalapeño
– 1 t cumin seeds
-2 t coriander powder
-1 t cumin powder
-1 t turmeric powder
-1 t salt
1 t ground garam masala (or whole – 4-5 cloves, 4-5 cardamom, 1 small stick cinnamon, 3-4 black peppercorn)
– chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

Heat oil in pressure cooker, add cumin seeds – they should sputter
Sauté onions till dark golden brown
Add tomatoes and all spices
Add little water at a time to make a nice paste – let the tomatoes breakdown till they’re not lumpy.

Add chicken stir to coat gently add about a cup of water and cook under pressure for 5 minutes. Release pressure, open lid, lower flame to simmer and let the gravy thicken and flavors meld together. About 15 min. Toward the very end, add spinach and let it cook till fully blended into curry…3-4min. Garnish with cilantro- serve hot over basmati rice!

It’s 9:50pm– my 2 yo is fighting sleep re-training! I’m standing outside his door- hand on the knob so he can’t turn and open it. I’ve a timer set that’s going up in minutes from 2 to 5 to 7 to 10…I go in at each interval, soothe him, put him down (he starts crying again) and leave. I’m at the 15 min interval and although he’s turned the big light on– all is quiet. I’m going to wait till 20min before going in to check on him.

Give me patience and strength!

Day 8: 30 days to fit – down 2lb in the first week

I’m concentrating on staying healthy, having peace, being happy, remembering what is important, taking in nature and animals, spending time reading, trying to understand the universe, where science and the spiritual meet. —Joan Jett 

Today’s Tuesday – and I haven’t written about Monday which is technically day 8! So here goes…

Yes, today was the big WEIGH IN day! And considering I had fallen slightly off the wagon on Sunday, I wasn’t looking forward to it…but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I am down 2lb! Yup!! 130lb even!!!

I made up for Sunday…

7:30am – Arbonne vanilla protein smoothie with the usual medley of fruit and vegetables – strawberries, blueberries, green beans, kale, carrots, ginger, kiwi, blended with almond milk and ice! YUMMM – had a cup of decaf coffee with 1/2 tsp turbinado and splash of soy creamer – what  I wouldn’t give for a FULL tsp of real sugar and real half n half! mmmmm 

10:00am – small apple and handful of 50% less salt almonds (thank you Trader Joes!)

12:30pm – left over Indian food – without the rice or roti that makes it a perfect meal – think Indian chicken curry soup I guess…because that’s how I was eating it…it does taking getting used to – no Indian worth their salt loving our food the way I do- would eat it the way I did…it’s bordering on blasphemy! The first meal I have after this program is complete in 21 days is an Indian meal (mom’s cooking) eaten the ‘right’ way! yes…with gluten-filled basmati white rice and glutenous whole wheat rotis! YUMMM ok, I digress.

3:00pm – Arbonne chocolate nutrition bar – with only 7g of sugar, this is a really great chocolate treat that fills me up and keeps me going till dinner time!

6:30pm – gringo tacos – no crispy corn tortilla shell for me! sigh!!! ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno slivers, and a healthy dousing of cholula – 

8:30pm – I found these YUMMY dark chocolate nut clusters – cashews, pistachio, sea salt and 60% cacao – one is plenty – yes have you noticed I have a chocolate thing?

Ok, so week one is complete – yes it’s been a bit more challenging than I expected…this is good, because now I can speak intelligently and empathetically to my clients on the program. “Yes of course I know how hard it is Jane…I have been there myself! I promise you it gets easier! How do I know? I did the program just so that I could experience it first hand!” 

It’s 9.50pm right now, and I just want to go get something to eat, instead I will go upstairs, brush my teeth and read – or better yet, sleep while I can, since my toddler is still intent on waking at 2am for me! So I think that’s my distraction technique – go to bed, so I can’t go to the kitchen and eat instead! I also think that I am not drinking enough water – and of course, I haven’t exercised in over a month – life is such— my exercise has to happen at 6am before the house awakens – or else it doesn’t happen. There’s no way to wake up at 5.30am if you’re up at 2am for nearly an hour!

YAWN!!!