A healthy habit to keep in mind…

Hi there, hope you are having a good morning!

So I wanted to bring up a topic today that is near and dear to my heart when it comes to living an all around, healthy lifestyle: the topic of awareness and/or the act of paying attention when it comes to food/eating.

The act of paying attention is one of the best “lessons” I learned when I crossed over to the “healthy living lifestyle” (clean, whole foods most of the time, focusing on whole grains, veggies, etc…). It is one thing that I NEVER used to do or even thought to do when eating/cooking, but now it is something I keep in mind all.the.time. and  is something I try to practice as much as possible.

I actually learned this tip from Bethenny Frankel in her book, Naturally Thin (I love this book, by the way), and I really feel it is SO IMPORTANT in regard to healthy living/living a healthy life in general. It’s like a light bulb went off in my head when I realized how interconnected this act is to so many aspects of life. Paying attention seems to be obvious task, but it can be really eye-opening if it’s not something you’re used to doing.

Paying attention can mean A LOT of things, but in regard to food, a few things that make up the concept include:

  • tasting your food! (aka not shoving it in your mouth or zoning out when eating)
  • recognizing when it is time for a meal – and stopping other activities
  • making a meal an ‘event’ (food presentation, making food look “pretty“) – you eat with your eyes first!
  • being aware of flavors/food combination, textures, food temperature….

When I started adopting this habit into my life (which was HARD at first…. mindless eating is often very second nature and NOT paying attention is much easier to do), I started to become more aware of when I was hungry and when I was full. I started to notice when foods didn’t taste so great (which is surprisingly hard to tell when you shovel food into your mouth… who would have thought?), started eating more slowly, and started to care more about what my food actually looked like. Food became more about quality and less about quantity. The “art” of food and the act of sitting down to a meal became more important to me.

Basically, the simple act of paying attention to what I was eating changed how I viewed food and the act of eating.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I sit in silence every time I eat and savor each and every morsel that goes into my mouth. Sometimes I eat in front of my computer or in front of the TV. Sometimes I have to eat quickly or have to throw dinner together in five minutes. Last week, for example, I had to eat dinner in my car (eating a kale and cucumber wrap out of a Tupperware container is an interesting obstacle, by the way). I understand that it is not always possible to completely unplug and give all your attention to a meal.

While paying attention can be mean various things to different people, to me, it is not about analyzing your food or making food more than it needs to be (like spending hours preparing it or making sure to taste every bite that you take), it’s about refocusing your attention to the present and unplugging from life.

I felt the need to bring this up since it is something that I have been trying to do, even when I am super busy and have to eat on the go. I feel like there is always some way to refocus yourself when busy or stressed (even if it’s just for 5 minutes!), and for me, enjoying a meal – even if its something simple –  is a built-in window of opportunity in which to do so. I refuse to let my busy schedule get in the way of my ability to disconnect for just a bit.

I hope I don’t sound crazy, but I truly believe that the simple act of paying attention to a meal (focusing on who your with, what your favorite part of your lunch is, what tastes the best/worst, etc.) can be a great way to refocus a moment or day. We eat at least 3x a day, why not take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy ourselves? It’s a great way to refocus and truly live in the present moment.

Do you think paying attention when eating is important/do you pay attention to it?

How do you refocus yourself when stressed/busy? How do you “live in the moment?”



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Things I’ve learned this weekend…

1. Three  years can go by really fast….

My boyfriend, Jon, and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary yesterday. I honestly can’t  believe it has been that long…. I feel like we just met next to the keg in the basement of that lovely college apartment where neither of us knew anyone…

While our relationship has evolved quite a bit over the years, he still makes me laugh everyday, is always my #1 fan, and I love him now more than ever. I don’t know what I’d do without him.

I love you Jon! Happy 3 years!

2. I want to be Ina Garten

Yesterday afternoon, Sami (my sister) and I made and brought lunch over to our friend Erin’s house to have a lunch/homework “party” (Hi Erin and Erin!). From reading my blog(!) and seeing Sami’s lunches during breaks from class (Erin is in Sami’s grad program), she was interested in having a Dana/Sami-inspired salad. I, of course, was happy to bring over some healthy and delicious food for us to enjoy (since I do want to start a lunch-packing service), and packed us some Asian-themed salads.

Asian-themed salads with edamame, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, snap peas, teriakyi tofu, brown rice, sesame seeds....

I felt a lot like Ina Garten, since she always seems to be whipping up and packing food to-go for special occasions. I won’t lie, I am a big fan of hers, and I kind of liked channeling my inner Barefoot Contessa yesterday. I love packing lunches for myself and for others, and if it were possible for me to make a living traveling around and making people healthy/colorful/delicious lunches and snacks, I totally would do it.

I need Ina to come give me some tips….

3. Bulgur wheat is a delicious oatmeal alternative

1/4 c bulgur, 1/4 c oats, 1 c almond milk, 1/2 banana, big scoop pb

Yesterday morning, I tweaked my normal oatmeal/banana/peanut butter breakfast by replacing a 1/4 cup of my normal oatmeal serving with a 1/4 cup of some bulgur wheat (that I got in the bulk bins at Whole Foods).  I first read about this grain over at Carrots ‘n Cake, and it is a great grain to enjoy for breakfast (here is some info about it if you’re interested). It is a bit chewier than rolled oats, but I find that combining it with oats creates a great combination of texture. It is a great way to switch up breakfast and  incorporate fun, new, and healthy grains into your diet! I really enjoyed this breakfast yesterday. (Note to self: eat more bulgur for breakfast!)

I  hope you are having a great weekend!

Anything you have “learned this weekend?”

Any types of grains you like to enjoy for breakfast other than oatmeal? I have tried using barley and quinoa as alternative breakfast grains before, and I know Bethenny has a brown rice breakfast that I tried a few years ago…

Things I’m Loving Right Now (Take 2)

In case you missed my first installment: Things I’m Loving Right Now (Part 1)

1.Clif Mojo bars (Mountain Mix flavor)

I usually don’t eat a lot of granola bars, but given my busier schedule these days, they have become quite a convenient snack. I was just talking about how much I enjoy the sweet/salty combo… and this flavor is the PERFECT mix. so.good.

  • salty = peanuts, almonds pretzels
  • sweet = raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips

2. Belting out Taylor in the car

Since starting night classes, I have a 20-30 minute commute to and from school every week, 3x a week (sometimes longer with traffic). I thought I would hate these drives, but I have actually been enjoying the extra thinking time and more so, the ability to belt out some Taylor Swift and dance like a complete  idiot in my car (thank god its dark outside when I drive home….). I have been especially liking Mean, Ours, and Mine (if you were curious).

3. My new Pilot G2 07 pens

I recently got an assorted pack of these pens and I love them. They make me want to write things down and take notes, and I swear they make me write neater. They are slightly gelly (I think I just made that word up?), but don’t bleed/smear like other gel-type pens I’ve tried. I hope I don’t sound like a loser for getting so excited over pens… but I can’t help it. When you do a lot of writing every day, a good pen is completely necessary.

4. Bethenny is getting her own talk show!

This is not exactly a “thing” I’ve been loving, but I had to share this. I just heard about it on Tuesday (from Twitter… which I am very new at and very confused about, by the way), and I am so excited. I am a HUGE Bethenny fan. I find her very inspiring and motivating, and I love how blunt/real she is. I also love Skinnygirl Margaritas, Bethenny Ever After, and I am a big supporter of Bethenny’s views on health/fitness/wellness in general (her book Naturally Thin is actually what initially got me interested in living a more healthy/balanced lifestyle).

I know a lot of people hate on Bethenny, but I am a big supporter and will always be a  fan.

I hear her show will be on FOX this summer and I.am.so.excited…. anyone else a Bethenny fan?

5. Kale

Well, I usually always am a big kale fan, but I recently bought it at the grocery store and have been enjoying it in many  lunches and dinners this past week. I have been loving it raw in salads and sandwiches, as well as steamed/sautéed in various stir-frys. Not only is it super cheap (I think its  .99 cents/lb. at my local grocery store which can get you A LOT of kale and, it’s SO light!), but it is so good for you! I always love it when foods that are good (as in delicious) are also good for me. It’s a win-win.

If you’ve never had it, I recommend making kale chips (tear the kale into pieces and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes (approx.), flipping once). They are really addicting and especially good with ketchup.

Anything you’ve been loving recently?