The Well - Episode Two | Relationships with Food |

Welcome to Episode two!

Today on The Well, we're talking all about one of my favourite subjects... FOOD!
I share my ever evolving relationship with food, my journey into a plant based lifestyle and what it means to be connected to the food I choose to eat.
I also delve in to sustainability, the impact that consuming animal products has on our environment and the efforts we can all make to affect positive change.
Part of today's conversation touches on the ritual of meal time.
This is such an interesting concept and we, at Lovewell, thought it could be a wonderful practice to fold in to your routine. Here we share some tips on achieving a ritualistic experience at meal time.
Enjoy today’s episode and don’t forget to leave your suggestions for new episodes and any musings you have below!
Ritual: (n) action performed in a customary way
Rituals can be big or small, religious, spiritual or rooted in family history. They can relate to anything in life and be both powerful and empowering from a wellbeing point of view. Today we're looking at the benefits of making meal time a ritual and offer up some suggestions on how to fold this in to your mealtime experience. 
Family time
By turning the nightly dinner scramble into a ritual, even just a few nights a week, it carves out quality family time to connect, debrief, and enjoy each other's company. The benefits to this are endless and something you and your kiddos will look back on for years with such fond memories of, plus it might be a beautiful tradition they carry on to the next generation with their own families one day.
Ask that everyone eats their food together, devices off and engage in conversation with one another. We rely on devices so often throughout the day that liberating ourselves from whatever is pulling our attention away from the present is key. In doing this we can be more observant and our ears ready to receive anything that’s going on with our beloveds. Engage in meaningful conversation and do a daily check in with those around you.There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing that someone is really being seen, held and heard without distraction, we believe that mealtime is the perfect landscape to practice this.

Creating a ritual around meal time aids in your digestion and gut health, this is because by becoming more mindfully aware of the food going in to your mouth you inevitably slow down the process of eating. Take the space to savour each bite and be grateful that you have the means to be able to eat the things you enjoy.
By being present and drawing attention to your meal not only do you eat slower, you take smaller bites and draw out the total time the meal takes to consume. With devices off and in a place of calm, appreciation and connection it allows your body to concentrate on one task at hand and reduces the demand on your digestive system. So next time you go to wolf your food down on the run or in front of the telly (no judgement- we’ve all been there!) take pause and understand that there is a more beneficial way to enjoy that favourite bite.

Reducing overeating
Similarly to the point above, by slowing down and being present whilst eating, you're less likely to overeat out of distraction or because there's more than you need on your plate. You’ll be so beautifully attuned to the process of consuming your food that you’ll listen to your body’s signals that tell you when you’re full. No one likes the feeling of being overstuffed and it correlates to a dip in energy, which let’s be honest, so many of us are adrenally fatigued as it is that we can use our meal times to be restorative and reenergising rather than counterproductive, so that we can keep meeting the demands of the day and kicking goals along the way.

Practicing gratitude
So much of the secret sauce to happiness, wellbeing and life in general connects back to one of our favourite words: gratitude. We're all about finding any pockets of time to incorporate a gratitude ritual into your day and why not do this when engaging in meal time with the family. Try saying aloud or internally “I am so grateful for this plentiful, delicious food that has come my way, I honour it and cherish its goodness”

Plan ahead of time
Life is busy, we get it and the thought of making meal time a ritual when you're all piling through the door after school pick up, scrambling to get homework done and dinner prepared with whatever is in the fridge - sometimes it's a miracle that the table even gets set! However, by taking some time out on the weekend, or at the start of the week to plan ahead, write out a meal plan for the week and subsequent grocery store / Farmer's Market purchases it takes the guesswork out of the weeknight grind and makes the idea of turning meal time into a ritual much more manageable.

Ritual doesn't have to mean elaborate
It's easy to get overwhelmed with the thought of something else to add on that to-do list. Some days there simply aren't enough hours in the day and the thought of adding extra into those already precious and packed hours seems like an impossible feat. Don’t we already feel time poor as it is? However, it's important to remember that ritual doesn't have to equate to 'elaborate'. It can be as simple as lighting a candle and going around the table highlighting something from the day you're each grateful for, it can be using special cutlery that is just for family meal time, or playing a specific playlist whilst you dine.

Get the whole family involved
This is not something you have to go at alone! It’s fun to sit down and discuss as a collective what you would like your meal time ritual to consist of. By involving everyone in the planning, the ritual itself will feel more inclusive and engaging for all. Depending on the ages of those in your family perhaps you can pick a different person each week to choose the cuisine or to prepare a meal that you can all enjoy together. Perhaps another family member picks the topic of conversation or maybe there’s a fun game you like to play together once the meal is finished. There are so many ways to get your loved ones involved, so open up the communication surrounding this new family idea and get creative.
As you can see, there are a host of ways in which you can turn meal time into a ritual and the benefits are endless. We'd love to hear what your family meal time rituals consist of and what you’re working towards to deepen the experience. Please share your thoughts, suggestions and stories with us in the comments below!

Watch Part 1 & 2 on our youtube channel!
Here’s to a beautiful week ahead!

If you’re doing it with love you’re doing it well.

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