What Is Mindful Cooking And How Do You Practise It?
by Laura Barns
Cooking can be pretty divisive. Some people love it, and some people hate it. Personally I’m definitely in the latter category, and call it a triumph if I managed to even reheat something.
For some, it’s simply something you have to do. And if you’re a parent with little ones clinging to you 24/7, or if you have a crazy busy work schedule, it can feel like a bit of a chore. (P.s. that’s where allplants comes in. Thank me later).
Even if you love cooking 1. Please share your secret and 2. Have you ever considered where your mind wanders when doing so? Whether you’re chopping, stirring, slicing or sampling, we often do so on autopilot.
Cooking as a meditative experience
According to meditation experts, Headspace: ‘the art of mindful cooking presents the opportunity to anchor the mind and focus attention on the senses, tuning them into the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of the culinary task at hand.’
It is a chance to slow down, practise mindfulness, and be more aware of what we are cooking and eating.
Benefits of mindful cooking
‘Cooking is an act of self-care and reminds us that we are worthy of a home-cooked meal. What’s more, when you’re mindful of the ingredients you choose to cook with, the food you prepare will come out nourishing and deeply satisfying. And when you’re cooking mindfully for others, they will undoubtedly notice the care and consideration you’ve poured into their meal’ – the mindful masters at Headspace.
So, how do you master mindful cooking?
Mindful cooking can be an amazing adventure of being fully present in the kitchen, rather than being overwhelmed or anxious from the day’s activities. It is a chance to train the mind, to learn what it means to be in the ‘here and now’, with a healthy understanding of appreciation, patience, and a non-judgmental attitude.
Ready to give it a go? Follow the steps below!
1. Cook from home
Convenience is key for many of us throughout the week. But aiming to set aside one day (or even one meal) to make some food for yourself (and perhaps your family) from scratch is a great place to start.
When you prepare your own food, you automatically connect with your ingredients, your utensils and your environment. This will allow a moment of reflection and gratitude.
2. Experiencing true gratitude
Speaking of gratitude, this is a huge part of mindful cooking. Whether you’re cooking something completely from scratch, or maybe simply stirring a sauce into a pasta dish, take the time to ‘notice’ your ingredients.
Take a deep breath in, and as you do so, think or visualise the word ‘love’. Fill your lungs from the top of your chest, all the way down to the bottom of your stomach. As you breathe out, think or visualise the word ‘gratitude’ as you gently empty your lungs of any remaining air. Repeat this process a few times.
3. Enjoy the sensations
The key components of mindful cooking are being aware of the senses and what they discover whilst you prepare your food. As you begin to cook, listen to the sounds the ingredients make. Do they pop, sizzle, bubble? Next, observe the changing sights. Do the ingredients swell, change colour or even change shape? Then move onto smells. Is the smell pleasant (hopefully!), strong, unusual? Does it evoke a memory?
When you take time to notice the sights, sounds and smells in your kitchen, you become more mindful of what it is that you are doing — which is basically an act of mindful cooking. You are no longer thinking about your day, nor are you rushing through cooking so you can tick off something else on your to-do list.
by Laura Barns
Laura is our Copywriter, who is obsessed with the Hearty Roots Stew (and has been known to eat a double serve for lunch on more than one occasion). On her day off you’ll find her walking her puppy Ralph, stopping off at bookshops and cocktail bars along the way.