A Week of Eating Mindfully: Suck It Gwyneth Paltrow

A Week of Eating Mindfully: Suck It Gwyneth Paltrow

I recently took a vow to eat one mindful meal a day for an entire week and, hey–guess what? I did it! I'm a special star. I'd have a badge sewn onto my chest by now if I were a still a Girl Scout, but alas, I am not. I'm just a nerd with a blerg, so you'll just have to settle for the following photo-less diary entries.

Day One: Why Did I Do This to Myself?

I went into my first meal in solitary confinement feeling slightly anxious, thinking as I pick up my fork, “But what will I do with my hands?"

I pushed performance anxiety aside to try and enjoy my scrambled eggs on an English muffin drizzled with a bit of Herbes de Provence olive oil and some grapes on the side without any external entertainment. The lights are dimmed in my memory of this moment, but this could also just be a manifestation of my own self-pity. 

I cut a piece and take my first bite. (I do not use my hands unless I am at Medieval Times.) The first thing that I noticed was that it tasted like something, which is a novelty given that breakfast on weekdays generally tastes like celebrity tabloids. A few bites in, awareness spread beyond my own body and into the room when I realized that there were things going on outside of my own pie hole. 

My mom's winter flower was blooming. There was raw egg that had spilled down the front of the stove. My tea water was piping hot, which was a good thing to catch early on if I planned on using my esophagus in the future. At the end of my english muffin, I plucked a few grapes and popped them into my mouth and had a fruit epiphany: There’s always one grape in the bunch that tastes like wet, dirty snow. It’s inevitable that it will be your last and you should plan a surplus grape accordingly.

Day Two: Gross Yolks

Another tale of eggs en route. Normally, I have a solid fifteen minutes to eat my hard boiled eggs in solitary confinement before the first stop without being accused of being a serial farter. I’m self-conscious about my food smells. One morning the aroma of my morning apple cider and lemon water combined with the smell of my eggs was so overbearing for the pregnant woman sitting next to me that she texted her husband across the aisle and asked him to switch seats.

I mean, this is probably what happened. It’s not like they had anything poignant like an unborn fetus to discuss.  

Anyway, I repressed this moment to the depths of my memory to try and eat my eggs. I choked. On the scale of yolk yellowness, these eggs were a 12. I like mine at a 6 at most. Thank God for backup yogurt. Thank you, John Stamos.

Day Three: Society Sucks

This was a busy day. My ~mindful meal~ was a snack, an apple to be exact. I ate it on the train on the way home because I was starving and was going to eat my own foot for dinner if left to my own devices. As I looked around the train, my theory that the human body will be annotated in the next century with a physical appendage attached to the hand was confirmed. A gentleman checked his phone, a woman flipped through a magazine, I held an apple before engulfing it whole. Being idle has become an activity.  

When I was living in Italy, the rush hour foot traffic moved at a fraction of the pace. Elder men and women walked in pairs with their hands behind their backs. Their phones, if they had them, were left at home because the people that they needed to contact could wait a half an hour if they weren’t the partners strolling alongside of them. Technology gratuitously fuses the physical meaning of contact and its virtual definition into one, but the latter should not replace the former, nor should it diminish the connection from ourselves.

Day Four: Where for Art Thou, Family?

I ate breakfast alone while everyone else in my house was asleep. It was sad. I do not recommend this.

Day Five: The Kardashians Feast on My Soul

A quiet lunch while working from home couldn’t have come sooner on this particular day. My brain was melting from an excess in exposure to Kardashian family garbage and I needed to recharge, so I made a big ass salad with greens, rice, spaghetti squash, a poached egg, and more roasted vegetables. With each bite, I was able to recall one more president from American history and realized that I was more hungry than I had conceived prior to sitting down. This is the downside to a desk job. Everything just kinda stays put. Had I eaten while working, which I usually do, my brain and gut would have been on separate and half-assed pages. I’m starting understand the appeal of this single-task eating.

Day Six: On Catching Your Lana Del Rey Light

Back on the train again with more hard boiled eggs. Medium-rare yolk covered my lips as I watched the scenery pass, noticing for the first time that there was a house seemingly built out of Lincoln Logs among the trees. It would never stand a chance at surviving if my family moved in.

You know what else I learned that day? It’s easy to look nostalgic on public transit if you stare at a fixed point and catch your light accordingly so that a dramatic reflection appears in the window. Try it. You won’t.

Day Seven: ???

I had indigestion because I remembered my vow to write about this experience.

Kidding. On day seven, I had a weird hankering at lunchtime for something that I had never consciously craved before: Silence. Raw silence with a side of silency silence and a little bit of Sriracha. Eating with others is a primal necessity, but the space at our table should never be reserved for inanimate objects when we do eat alone. Pull out a chair for your mouth, let your brain take a squat, pack up leftovers for your gut. You’ll remember to chew, swallow and breathe, and if you’re really in your zen, you might even realize that you’re wearing one sock inside-out.

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