Have you ever timed yourself on how long it takes you to eat a meal? Likely you have when you were rushing to get somewhere and knew you had about 10 minutes to shove some food down. But have you ever timed yourself on how long it takes you to eat a clementine? From the peeling to the consuming? I am going to take a wild guess and say no. If you do not like clementines, choose your favorite fruit, and try this experiment with me. I am going to continue with a clementine for simplicity.
The objective is to hit your Spring🌷 refresh button, slow down, and simply enjoy a clementine. The goal is to refocus on our mindfulness around food: what we are eating, where we are eating, how much we are eating, enjoying what we are eating and who we eating with, feeling energized from our meal or snack, versus sluggish and regretful for eating too much or not even realizing…we were eating…
How slowly do you think you can eat a clementine? More importantly, how capable are you of JUST focusing on eating a clementine? Put your phone out of reach, computer out of reach, television off, music is always allowed :). But otherwise, just you and the clementine🍊
Sit at the kitchen table. Put your clementine on a plate and bring a napkin with you. I trust you will not make a mess if you eat it elsewhere, but table-plate-chair is key for pure mindful eating. Take a look at the clock and note the time.
Peel the clementine. Notice the smell, the just, the white stuff you will likely peel away (otherwise known as the orange pith — white spongey substance you see when peeling an orange☺️). Now start to eat it, one piece at a time. I repeat — with nothing else to focus on but enjoying the clementine (and perhaps some music). Slowly pull each piece from the other. Look at it for a moment. Notice how the shape of each piece is oh so slightly different from the other. Slowly chew each piece, noticing the flavor, the smell, the juiciness, the sweetness.
And be sure to breathe after each piece. With each breath, be sure to breathe deeply and meaningfully. Then repeat. Another piece of clementine, slowly enjoying, observing, breathing. Repeat with each piece until you are finished. If you find your mind is wandering, as it likey will, just gently remind yourself to slow down and refocus. Wipe your hands and face with your napkin :). How long did it take you? There is no judgement or ‘perfect’ score. It is just to note, so you can see how long it can actually take you to eat just one piece of fruit.
This might sound ridiculous to you, but it is NOT easy. It is REALLY hard to slow down and smell the roses…or smell, taste and enjoy a clementine. It is REALLY hard because most of us live most moments of our days, not focusing on just one thing. We are usually focusing on quite a few things at once, which actually means we are not focusing enough on any of those things. We rarely complete one task at a time. Phone or even face-to-face conversations are disrupted by a text, a call, an alert.
As for our tasty, sweet, clementine, how did you feel during that exercise? Annoyed😑 …lol? Slow at first but maybe speeding up because you did put your phone out of reach, but you heard a text alert? Or did you realize how enjoyable it was to just focus on slowly eating one thing, and likely felt more satisfied from it because you were focusing on each bite? Somewhat meditative. Yes, it was just a clementine or other fruit, but perhaps you felt fuller than when you usually eat one or more (or anything else) on the couch while watching television, checking Twitter, and talking on the phone.
Did you notice you were breathing deeper than you had all day? Most of us will have other thoughts come into our minds, but do your best to push them away and refocus. Taking time just for you and your fruit :). You can repeat this as often as you would like, continuing to improve your pace of eating more slowly, enjoying the moment more and more, and getting stronger at mindful eating. Mindful eating is something that requires discipline and practice, just like working out consistently requires discipline, and overtime - builds strength. Consistency and repetition are the keys to both reducing the necessary discomfort of change and bringing energy into new behaviors. I suggested a similar exercise back in June with The Raisin Challenge, and now is good time for your Spring refresh button. Bring this strength with you to your meals and snacks. Enjoy your food with company, family, and friends, but you can still focus on really tasting your food, enjoying it, and realizing when you have had enough. Pause for deep breaths and check-in with YOU, recognizing you are the ultimate authority on you.
Slow down. Taste the clementine🍊. Taste and enjoy your food with intention. Listen deeply and intently to those around you. Pause to notice the sky🌈, the clouds🌥, the sun☀️, the trees🌳, the birds🕊.
And as we embrace the world around us🇺🇦, let’s cook up some international eats!
This is a traditional Indonesian satay, lightened up a bit on the fat and sugar content. This dish could be served as an appetizer or a protein for main meal. The sauce is rather addicting😋
3 Tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium
3 Tablespoons tomato sauce, low sodium
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cubed (or fresh shrimp peeled, or both!)
Nonstick cooking spray
For the sauce:
1/4 cup minced onion
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 cup water
1/2 cup peanut butter, no sugar added
2 Tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
skewers to grill chicken/shrimp
Optional garnish: 2–3 tablespoons fresh chives
In a medium bowl, mix soy sauce, tomato sauce, peanut oil, garlic, pepper and cumin. Place prepared chicken (or shrimp; if using both, use a separate bowl and divide marinade in half) into the mixture. Stir to coat all pieces. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, but about an hour is plenty.
Preheat the grill to high heat.
While grill is preheating, prepare the sauce. Spray a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until lightly browned, about 5–6 minutes. Mix in the water, peanut butter and the tablespoon of soy sauce. Cook and stir until well-blended, about 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the lemon juice. Pour into a serving bowl for dipping and set aside.
Thread chicken/shrimp onto skewers and discard the marinade. Grill skewers about 5 minutes per side, until chicken/shrimp is cooked through. Place on serving platter or separate plates and serve with peanut sauce.
ISRAELI TAHINI SMOOTHIE
This is another version of our Simple Green Smoothie — but with a twist of chocolate (yes, chocolate!) tahini. If you are not familiar with tahini, it is a paste made with roasted and pressed sesame seeds. It is nutritionally dense, with one tablespoon containing 95 calories, 9 grams of fat (83% healthy fat), 1.5 grams of carb and 3 grams of protein. You do not need a lot to enjoy the smooth flavor and delight tahini can bring to a recipe. This recipe can be a satisfying breakfast or delicious mid-day pick-me-up. What makes it Israeli? The product of tahini I use is from Soom — a company born in Philadelphia by way of Israel and owned by 3 sisters💜💚💕
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup frozen fruit — any combination like 1/2 cup strawberries + 1/2 cup mango; or banana, blueberries, pineapple, raspberries, etc.
1 cup nonfat milk or milk of choice
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, plain
1 Tablespoon chocolate tahini
Toss all the ingredients in the blender and blend for about a minute. (Tip: If your blender is not super powerful, blend the spinach with the milk first, then add the rest of the ingredients.) Pour into glasses and serve. Garnish with your chosen fruit. Makes 1–2 servings — depending on if it is a full meal or asnack🙂.
LENTIL STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS
As the war in Ukraine weighs heavily on each and everyone of us, I wanted to share a traditional dish. This is a vegan dish (and could be a Passover-safe dish, if you eat rice or skip the rice). #prayforukraine 🇺🇦
6 cups water
8 cabbage leaves
1 24-oz. jar tomato sauce, low sodium
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 12-oz. can or box (Trader Joe’s has an excellent pre-cooked box) lentils, drained and rinsed
1 cup brown rice, cooked
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the cabbage leaves and cook for about 2 minutes each, or until soft. Set aside and discard the water. Pour in the tomato sauce and simmer over low heat.
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add the onions and sauté 6–7 minutes, or until onions begin to brown.
Add the lentils and cook for 1 minute.
Add the cooked rice, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 more minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Spread out the cabbage leaves on a clean surface and place a large spoonful of the lentil mixture in the center of each, on top of the stem. Roll the cabbage leaf up over the filling, burrito-style. Place all the rolls seam side down in the pot with the tomato sauce and simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes. Makes 2 main dish servings or 4 side dish servings.
For comments, thoughts, requests or anything else you feel the need to share, please do: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me at rebelliousrd.com.
My first couple of blogs had the same title, as I wanted to push the theme of my blog (and I had no idea what I was doing, but that is beside the point☺️). Eat. Drink. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Maybe another drink. Yup, 20 months later, that is still the theme. Especially with the Winter holidays blowing our way. Food becomes a major focus on the holidays, taking the challenge of eating and drinking healthfully, and being happy, to a whole other level.
Let’s start with the happy😃. If you are not there already, it is time to inject more gratitude in your day to day life. Be grateful for all you are surrounded by — your family, friends, the beauty of nature, and all that brings you joy. Let go of the little things. Exude appreciation, connect with your sincerity, pay it forward. Have a fuckin’ good time❗️Remember last year when most of us were not with our extended families and friends?! Focus on the togetherness. Focus on others in need. And focus on the fun. Food is surely part of the fun, just not all of it. How do you manage these indulgent times? Mindfulness. Or, not being mindless. Being more present when you are eating, how much you are eating, and if you are enjoying what you are eating.
One way to stay mindful of your food and beverage choices is to accept that you will desire or crave heavier foods than usual, and likely more food (and drink) than usual. Understand that cravings are an inevitable part of being human, and will come and go throughout the holiday season. They are to be expected. Observing cravings, even welcoming them (rather than judging them) takes away much of their power. Push your pause button. Try distracting yourself for bit and see if the desire fades away. Still there? Sit with the temporary discomfort of your craving or desire for more. Keep focusing on something else. Switch rooms, conversations, or positions. If you are alone, meditate or head outside for a walk. Just as all of your core exercises build up muscle and strength, your ability to distract/delay/deflect improves with practice. Not allowing your craving or desire for more to dictate your immediate behavior is a skill that easier with time, bringing a liberating sense of self-control.
Enjoy and savor every bite, every sip, every hug, every kiss, every smile. Savor those around you, and savor you, as you are always worth it.
These recipes are a delightful combination of possible holiday meal additions, as well as balanced suggestions for all the times in between. And of course there is a cocktail. Cheers🥂.
3 overripe bananas
1 cup puréed pumpkin
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chocolate chips, mini-morsels
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Peel bananas and place in a medium mixing bowl. Mash well with a fork. Add pumpkin through salt and mix together until a smooth consistency. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50–60 minutes. Bread should be just lightly browned along the edges when done, but go with the toothpick check. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove and slice into 12 pieces.
1 large bunch kale, washed, remove stems
Nonstick cooking spray
1 teaspoon truffle oil
1/4–1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic glaze, drizzle
Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add kale and saute for about 8 minutes, or until slightly frizzled. Add truffle oil, red pepper, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir and continue to cook for 1 more minute. Place in a serving bowl. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and red pepper flakes. Makes 4 side dish servings.
4 6-ounce salmon fillets
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 cloves or 3 Tablespoons garlic, minced, divided
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, plain
3–4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
salt and freshly ground pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use 1 clove or 1 tablespoon of garlic to rub all over each fillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place salmon on top and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until well-done. Remove and keep warm.
While fish is cooking, place cider vinegar, the other two garlic cloves (or 2 tablespoons), Greek yogurt, lemon juice, a few twist of salt and pepper, in the blender. Whirl for about one minute. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with your fresh herb of choice. Serve on top of fish, as well as a side dip for some veggies.
What veggies? Slice 3 medium zucchinis into thin circles. Place in a medium mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, and a few grinds of salt. Mix well, making sure all slices are marinated. Preheat the air-fryer to 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Cooking in batches, add a single layer of zucchini. Air fry for about 15 minutes per batch, flipping halfway. Serve with horseradish sauce (and the salmon or protein of choice). Leftover sauce can stay in the refrigerator for 3–4 days.
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice, no sugar added
1/2 cup pomegranate juice, no sugar added
1 cup sparkling water
9 ounces of vodka (1.5 ounces per serving or 1 shot glass), divided
1 cup frozen cranberries
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
Pour cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, and sparkling water into a small pitcher. Stir well. Fill shaker about halfway with ice. Add 1/2 cup of mixture in a pitcher, plus 1.5 ounces vodka. Shake well. Pour into a martini glass or cocktail glass. Garnish with about a tablespoon of frozen cranberries and a rosemary sprig. Sip the sweet and savory. Makes 6 servings.
Prefer a mocktail? Skip the vodka and spritz with more sparkling water. Just as fancy.
.It always seems impossible until it’s done.
~ Nelson Mandela
For comments, thoughts, requests or anything else you feel the need to share, please do: email@example.com
Warren JM, Smith N, Ashwell M. A structured literature review on the role of mindfulness, mindful eating and intuitive eating in changing eating behaviours: effectiveness and associated potential mechanisms. Nutr Res Rev. 2017 Dec;30(2):272–283. doi: 10.1017/S0954422417000154. Epub 2017 Jul 18. PMID: 28718396.
Nelson JB. Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat. Diabetes Spectr. 2017;30(3):171–174. doi:10.2337/ds17–0015
The rebellious Rd
As a longtime promoter of healthy cooking and eating, Amy's focus is on plant-based eating, with a rebellious twist - that she and no one, needs to be perfect.