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What is Mindfulness?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it in 2 different ways:
“The quality or state of being mindful”
“The practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental
state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or
experiences on a moment-to-moment basis”
It’s turning off the automated moves and living in the “Now”. Being present for all we do and using all our senses and absorbing the surroundings. Take back control of the busy brain, rein in those wild thoughts and let them drift away with the clouds. Mindfulness is simple and free and can be flexed around any schedule to add more relaxation to anyone’s day.
For starters, there are several simple things you can do to become more mindful:
Make gratitude a part of your routine. Be thankful for the simple pleasures. Stop
and take notice; you’ll smile more, maybe even laugh.
Focus on your breathing. Take a few nice slow
deep breaths. This will help you be present and drown out your thoughts to
transport you back to the present.
Take time to do nothing. Five to ten minutes can make a difference.
Increase your awareness. Engage in an activity as small as smelling
the flowers, petting your cat or something more active like going for a walk,
swim or run.
Meditate. The morning can be one of the
best times of day to meditate. All it takes is 5 minutes and can make a
profound difference. But if mornings don’t agree with you perhaps afternoon is
a good time to chase the stress away and refocus.
Reaping the benefits of Mindfulness
Meditation includes the following:
Improves restful slumber
Decreases stress levels
Reduces temporary negative feelings
Manages chronic pain
Helps prevent depression relapse
Increases brain gray matter
Supports weight-loss goals
Therefore, to assist in supporting weight-loss goals try mindful eating. Cook your own meals from whole foods, that is, food in its natural state. When you do this, you’ll create a loving culinary delight knowing the ingredients in each bite. A meal should take you at least 20 minutes to eat. Prepare a place where you are comfortable and can appreciate your food. Eat slowly, feel the texture in your mouth, and chew until it is pulverized. Mixing food with your saliva is the first part of proper digestion. Put your utensils down in between each bite and savor the flavors. Eat until you are 80 percent full because it takes the brain a little while to catch up with the stomach. This also helps you do a check-in with your body during meals.
Being mindful of what, why, and how you eat will bring more satisfaction
to meals, reduce post meal indigestion, keep your body nutritionally sound and
ultimately increased overall health.
Take this moment, to be aware of where you are, notice whose
around you, and how your body feels.
Take a deep breath, smile for a moment or more, be thankful for
something and carry on.
After returning from a trip to Mexico, I realized that I never consumed a single burrito while south of the boarder. A sudden craving came over me, but I also wanted something with a Middle-Eastern taste. So, I decided to create a Mediterranean burrito. And it turned out tasty enough to share. Give this a try and feel free to add a touch of your own imagination. Create your own masterpiece!
1 cup Rice (I used pink), cooked as directed
4 cups fresh Spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup Lentils (I used autumn blend but any type will do) cooked as directed
2 T Olive oil
2 Red onions, sliced
2-3 Cloves garlic, minced
4-5 Sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ t Himalayan salt, divided
¼ t Coriander
¼ t Cumin
1/8 t Cinnamon
1/8 t Turmeric
2-3 grinds Black pepper
Fresh Cilantro, chopped
4 -12” wraps
Put rice on to cook as directed with ¾ t salt. Put lentils on the cook as directed with ¾ t salt. While they are cooking, chop the spinach and set aside. Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat, sauté onions for 5 to 10 minutes or until tender, add garlic and cook a little longer until soft. Add, tomatoes and spices and cook a minute or 2 until fragrant. When rice is almost done toss the chopped spinach on top and let it wilt. When lentils are done, mix them into the onions. Lay out the 4 wraps and divide the rice into 4 equal parts then top with the onion/lentil mixture. Garnish with cilantro and roll into burritos to eat and enjoy!
Other suggestions to create your own version:
Perhaps add some chopped kalamata olives and/or chopped artichoke hearts. Use cannellini beans instead of lentils. Use another whole grain instead of rice. Maybe toss in some chopped fresh greens.
Roasted chickpeas are so easy to make and a healthy alternative to chips of other processed “foods.”
2 Cans of chickpeas/garbanzo beans
Extra Virgin Olive oil or Coconut oil
Optional spices to choose from: Curry, cumin, garam masala, smoked paprika, turmeric, tarragon or thyme
Here’s to make Roasted Chickpeas:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Drain and dry 2 cans of chick peas aka garbanzo beans. High in protein, fiber, iron, zinc, manganese folate and copper – these little round legumes are chock full of nutrients!
3. Toss with melted coconut oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sea salt.
4. Bake, shaking the cookie sheet a few times, for 30-40 min until crispy.
5. Then add spices and herbs you like: Curry, cumin, garam masala, smoked paprika, turmeric, tarragon or thyme. The possibilities are endless! More salt to taste….and toss all together.
Crispy out of oven and chewy once stored. Guilt free!!