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5 Simple Strategies To Rediscover the Joy of Eating, Manage Weight, Reduce Stress & Improve Your Quality of Life

The first time I came across the idea of ‘mindful eating’, the article had something to do with using chopsticks to eat. But, since I am living in Japan and already using chopsticks daily, I flipped the page and moved on to something I felt was more relevant. At that time, I never imagined that the practice they were prescribing looked so much like my mother during mango season: sitting carefree and in satisfied silence on her verandah, with a basin filled with sweet, sun-ripened mangoes, peeling away the skin with her teeth and allowing the sticky juice to run down her chin and arms. In no rush. Accepting no distractions. All while pausing to examine, admire and celebrate the tasty fruit she filled up on. Each and every year, mango season was definitely a time where I could watch my mother slow down her mind, satisfy her appetite and nourish her body with simple, real, whole food. But, I never saw it as a practice one would need to cultivate.

You see, the world that we’re raising children in today, is so different from the child-rearing days of our mothers and grandmothers. We have more to do and less time to do it in. We are constantly being told to move quickly, work faster, multitask, and do more than the next person if we want to keep up. So, of course, we are prone to skip breakfast or have it on-the-go. It’s no surprise that we serve up microwave meals on the days when we can’t eat out. Plus, the restaurants encourage us to buy from their drive-thru windows and with all the different take-out menus available, it seems like everyone eats on the run. We often have ‘working lunches’ and if we decide to step away from the desk to take our lunch break, we’re usually in a rush to get back. When we eat, it’s ‘cut and swallow’; because when you’re busy and famished, something has to take first place – it’s not usually the stuff on our plates.

As the pace of life gets faster, more of us become overweight, undernourished and start operating off frazzled brains. It’s gotten to the point where we’ve forgotten the value of long, leisurely mealtimes and become blinded to the impact of how we eat, when we eat, why we eat and what we eat. Today, we are expected to balance work commitments, social appointments, commuting and childcare responsibilities, and most of us are internally crying “unfair” as we struggle to juggle it all. We’re hurdling ahead, because we plan to die fighting, but the frustration, exhaustion, and the absence of simple pleasures, is certain to bring us to our knees, in our own tears – sooner or later.

But this doesn’t have to be the end of our stories, as 21st century mommies. We have to get back to the basics and that means a resolve towards self-preservation and a solid self-care routine. Since we eat to live, why not start with intentional and attentive eating?
It’s not as complicated as you might imagine. These are 5 simple strategies we can all employ to rediscover the joy of eating, manage weight, reduce stress levels and improve our quality of life:

1. Slow Down
Stop and pay attention. Decide to be present as you eat. Take the time to chew your food (5-10 times for soft foods and 30-50 times for denser foods) until it’s all smooth before swallowing. Rest your hands in-between bites, by putting down the food or cutlery while you chew.

2. Select
Choose a time each day to stop the crazy world and unplug for some ‘you-time’: snack time, coffee break or main meals. Choose to eat real food, and increase the amount of homemade meals you enjoy.

3. Schedule
Three times daily, we get the chance to disconnect mentally from all the hustle and bustle, to nurture our bodies and enjoy the bounty of the earth. Don’t miss out on it! Take a seat. No walking or driving while you inhale the food. Step away from the busyness and make mealtimes an important appointment with yourself.

4. Silence
Put away the newspaper or work report. Turn off the TV. Pull those earplugs out of your ears. Lock your phone-screen and put the laptop to sleep. Give your mind some breathing room. Forget, for just these few minutes, the problems you need to fix and the conversations on your favourite social media networks. It’s time, instead, to listen to your body.

5. Savour
Tune into all your senses for your meals. Inhale the aroma. Admire the shapes and colours. Listen as the textures get smashed between your teeth. Intentionally identify the flavours that swirl around your tongue. Be aware of the thoughts, emotions and physical sensations that different dishes generate in you. Give thanks!

Mindful eating allows us to unplug from the overwhelming world we live in, to return with satisfied palates, nourished bodies and grateful souls. The practice can look different for each of us, and doesn’t require much more than a mental shift. Frequent opportunities to feed ourselves intentionally and attentively will always result in more contented and whole individuals. So, remember to pause and take a deep breath before your next bite.

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40 Days Left in 2015!

The end of 2015 is just around the corner and vibrant beginnings await all of us. With 40 days left to wrap up your unfinished business, and line things up for a fresh new page, are you positioning yourself for living a  simpler, more significant and satisfying life?

The end of the year is usually filled with festive events, a mood of celebration, anticipation and gratitude (especially if you encounter lots of wrapping paper 😉 – LOL). But, then the first few days of the new year go by and you slump into the normalcy you floated in for most of the previous year: responsibilities, busyness, exhaustion, boredom and occasional moments to celebrate. But, is it possible to really get more out of a new year? Is it really possible to accomplish great things and create a more vibrant existence than you are accustomed to?

“We are all self-made, but only the successful will admit it.” ― Earl Nightingale

Some people are approaching the end of this year with overwhelming gratitude because of the things they had started the year aiming for and eventually accomplished. 

Some people are approaching the end of this year filled with awe because of the goals they had set and surpassed! Their accomplishments exceeded their expectations and now they have a new perspectives on what’s possible.

The difference between these people and the people who have been living on the same level for years – no changes: same girl, same problems – is one word: PLAN. I don’t mean, “thinking about”, “would like to” or “daydreaming”. I mean intentional living. They made a vision of what they want, decided on the goals that lead up to that vision becoming a reality and then stayed focused on doing all that’s necessary to see it come true. They made a plan of action and worked it!

In the next 40 days, you have the opportunity to reflect on your life: where you are now, where you thought you would have and where you want to be. It’s a good time to daydream a little – think big and ignore the limits you have lived within and pick a goal. Yes! One goal. Think of the one thing that would mean the most to you if you could be, do, or have it. It could fit into any of the 7 areas of wellness in your life:

  1. Physical e.g. eating habits, exercise, haircare, skincare.
  2. Spiritual e.g. life purpose, practising compassion, service to others, spiritual disciplines.
  3. Emotional e.g. forgiveness, self-acceptance, gratitude practice, authenticity.
  4. Intellectual e.g. reading daily, course of study, personal development habits, skills.
  5. Social e.g. community involvement, hobbies, top 5 friends, a mentor.
  6. Occupational e.g. building expertise, entrepreneurship, time management, money management.
  7. Environmental e.g. home decluttering, backyard gardening, relocation, home ownership.

The examples are just ideas to help you think about the areas of your life that need to be more vibrant. The ist isn’t exhausted and you could always think of something else to work on that I haven’t mentioned.

But, the main point is that, you can have a 2016 filled with dreams that come true if you don’t leave things to chance. You can build those habits you have been admiring from a far if you decide that it is important enouh to deserve your focus and commitment. You can begin your new chapter of life today! Just start by thinking about your ideals and choosing one thing to master next year.

You will have the next 40 days to: 

  • Research all that you need to make it happen
  • Enlist all the support you will need to not give up
  • Layout the steps you will take to succeed
  • Find all the motivational tools to pump you up when you get deflated

2016 is just around the corner and vibrant beginnings await all of us.

Are you ready to position yourself for living a simpler, more significant and satisfying life?

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    The ONLY Way to Get Green Smoothies to Work For You

    The first time I learned about green smoothies, Jamaican Lifestyle Blogger, Irie Diva, had been successfully using them as a major part of her weight loss programme. Then as I researched more and more, I came across stories of persons who had rid themselves of various diseases (like diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and high cholesterol) just by drinking green smoothies. So, when I invited my friends and family members to take a 30-day Jamaican green smoothie challenge with me, I knew that they were certain to reap some noticeable benefits – and many of them did. I’ve received testimonials about fading eye-sight being restored, significant weight-loss, relief from Endometriosis pains, lighter flows and more regular menstrual periods, healthier hair, and relief from rare skin disorders. However, one year and five 30-day challenges later, I have also come across persons who complain that they didn’t experience any changes or that they “gained back the weight” after the challenge was over. Hmm… Do you know why?


    *tape fast forwarding*
    I just deleted a whole paragraph – so I can get straight to the point!


    We can only enjoy lasting benefits when we make long-term changes.


    When you have followed a ‘not-so-healthy’ lifestyle for decades, which resulted in toxic overloads and various health challenges, how could a 16oz green smoothie each day for 30 days undo that mess? By the time you completed the challenge, your body was very likely just beginning to get rid of the previous month’s ‘garbage’.

    If you were able to lose some weight after a month of skipping meals and replacing them with filling 32oz green smoothies, only to gain it all back a few weeks after the challenge was over, why are you surprised? Didn’t you jump back into your regular eating habits and exercise-free lifestyle?


    Habits & Lifestyles
    The main difference I’ve noticed between the people who are transformed by green smoothies and those who aren’t is HABIT. The transformed people were not looking for magic tricks or a quick fix – they were looking for a brand new life. A brand new life requires a brand new lifestyle, and a lifestyle is made up of HABITS.

    For the people with success stories, green smoothies weren’t just a 30-day challenge. They picked up a green smoothie habit. Many of them also changed their eating habits and got rid of the refined and heavily processed foods. Some even started exercising regularly and drinking more water. Most of all, they began to learn more about what their bodies need to be vibrant, and started living that way.


    The only way to make green smoothies work for you is to make blending a daily habit.


    It’s Really Up to You
    As we approach the end of another 30-days of blending up our greens, I hope you won’t return to the old you. I sincerely hope that you will make greens a regular part of your life. That like the cup of coffee that some people ‘have to have’ before they can start their day, or di draw a mint tea fi buss di gas before you have your breakfast, green smoothies will become a part of your lifestyle. Sure! We can pick up a new habit in 30-days. But, habits become a lifestyle over weeks, months and years. Unlike a 30-day challenge, daily habits don’t have expiry dates. So, it’s really up to you to decide.


    What are you going to get out of drinking green smoothies?

    Are you willing to transform your life one cup at a time?