Tapas & Mindfulness: A Snack to Share
If there is one thing I love more than any one kind of food, its having small bites of a variety of different food that I can have at one time!! Meals that consist of many different snacks put together, enable you to check off nearly every mark in nutrition, and make it enjoyable and refreshing to share with family and friends. I make meals like this quite often in the summer and for picnics because I do not have to turn on the stove and I can use up what I have left in my fridge. I learned about Tapas when I visited Ibiza Spain to be a speaker at the A Course in Miracles Festival there in 2013. I learned that “Tapa” is an appetizer or snack in Spanish cuisine and it translates to a small portion of any kind of cuisine. Tapa may be cold or hot. I generally have a combination of hot and cold foods, as well as cooked and raw. You can get creative, there is no wrong way to do tapas!
Let me tell you a story...
The first time I experienced Tapas, long before I was in Ibiza Spain, I was 12 years old and had no idea what Tapas was. However, my friend and I experienced our own variation of tapas and it was this meal that gave me my first and unforgettable experience of Mindfulness while eating food.
When I was about 13 years old I would spend nearly every day with my best friend Robin. We would walk to school together, be at school together, walk home together and hang out at each others houses. It was an every day thing to have food together. But it was not an every day thing to eat “tapas” nor was it an everyday thing where we ate so mindfully!
I remember this particular day so clearly. We were making our after school snack. We had a plate and chose many different snacks to put on there – Grapes, Strawberries, Cheese, Crackers, Mini Sandwiches, a tiny Dessert. Robin and I agreed that we would each take a bite, of each snack, slowly, very slowly… and deeply enjoy every bite. So that’s what we did! We eat took a single bite at a time, of each single snack and allowed ourselves to thoroughly enjoy every bite.
What I learned could happen with food, through mindfulness:
- That I can deeply and completely love every bite. Every time I would finish that one bite, and go to have another, I felt like I had sooo much to eat already because of how mindful and present I was with our food.
- Every new snack we took a bite of, was like a new window into a new world. It was a new texture, new flavor, new smell. It was different then the others, but complimented them all, and made each bite more enjoyable than the last.
- By the time I got to the last few snacks on the plate, we both felt complete, nourished and happy with our meal. Since we had so many snack options, it was like an endless unfoldment of deliciousness.
- I bonded with my BFF!! I felt like we were brought closer together over this meal.! We shared together in a shared experience of joy for the food we were eating, and for each other!!! Shared and joyful experiences are what good food is all about.
The moral of my story:
Mindfulness is the key to a good meal. Mindfulness (eating slow and presently) is what leads to feeling full, to feeling satisfied, to digesting properly, to feeling nourished and to deeply loving the food and each other.
- Make meals that combine small different food groups, and cover all your bases in nutrition and deliciousness.
- You do not always have to be slaving over the stove to make a deliciously enjoyable meal. Spend a few minutes prepping and you are good to go. (sometimes for a few days!)
- Cut up some vegetables, fruit, sauces, mini sandwiches, perhaps a small healthy dessert like a muffin or cookie…. and place them nicely next to one another so its appealing to the eye. Think variety of color!
- Secondly, eat slow. Bite many many may times before you swallow. This aids in digestion and mindfulness.
- Activate your attention and focus all of it on each bite and each small snack. (save 1 bite of each snack until the end, to enjoy them all, again, one last time)
- Bring in your senses: touch, taste, smell- and let them fill you up on a soul level, not just a physical one.
- When you bring presence into the meal, you will be blessed by the meal and each other.