1001 Mindful Things: No. 10 Food Choices

Saturday, April 29, 2017

This is not an article on how to eat healthy, and it's certainly not going to provide you with instructions on how to eat a raisin at an excruciatingly slow pace. I say that in jest, partially because of my post-nap mood. I'll save that for another time. So what is this article about? How to make mindful food choices

After a date night in the glorious Amazon Books store in the University District of downtown Seattle, we were heading north to go home and spend some cozy time with our cats and goats. Along the way, we saw a Tillamook billboard advertisement reading, "Orange you glad we don't add color?" It was an ad for white cheddar. I may not be remembering the exact wording of the billboard, but the gist was that no food coloring is adding to their white cheddar line. My husband and I joked that cheddar is supposed to be white. Right? Then we bemoaned how white cheddar, in its natural state, is actually considerably more expensive than its colored clones.

As I drove, my husband researched the history of cheese color. While cheese can be naturally yellow, most mass-marketed produced cheese is purposefully colored orange for uniformity. There exists a great NPR article on this very subject

My husband alighted on an article that stated most food coloring is not vegan, and we joked about how using beets and turmeric to color our food would have a disastrously inedible effect on our lives. Then we pondered aloud how our lives might actually change if we chose to eliminate artificial food coloring from our diet.

So this brings me to food choices. This series-1001 Mindful Things-is a dual project. It involves exploring things that benefit mindfulness as a practice and as a value. This particular article is more focused on the latter, which is why I am talking about cheese and not raisins today.

We make choices all of the time about what we will put into our bodies, and sometimes we do so nary of the consequences...until they arrive that is. Then we bemoan our folly, toil never to make the same choice again. Some of us are successful, and some of us become caught in a feedback cycle of satisfaction and regret. Our bodies suffer the consequences of our food choices and all sales are final: no returns, no exchanges, and no refunds.

So come May 1st, Jeff and I are making the choice to try living food coloring free for 31 days. We want to explore what out bodies will feel like without these chemical additives. We want to challenge ourselves to care more about what we order when we eat out and also to push ourselves to eat in more often. It means more natural foods and more natural food processing (i.e. chewing). It's an act of bringing us closer to the things that becomes part of us and which have such considerable power to affect how we move through the world. In effect, this choice requires us to slow down, eat mindfully (rather than stuffing our gobs with processed goodies), and attend to the consequences of our food choices in the here-and-now.

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