Friday, July 5, 2013

How to FEAST full-out

You love eating, right? And it's the summer season of picnics and parties and potlucks, where huge quantities of food often show up, often in celebratory airs. These gatherings can be a lot of fun, but they don't always lay easy on the conscience.

It's easy to give ourselves the excuse that we're at a party, and decide it's permissible and socially acceptable to go crazy with the food and drink. I think we've all been there and know where that leads: to an evening - or days - of bloating and guilt.

What if feasting was no longer about quantity? I looked the word up, curious. I found that "feast" describes a gathering of richness, abundance, sumptuousness (quality, fineness), agreeableness, and celebration.

Yes, huge quantities of food do tend to be associated with a lot of those words, but when I think about my favorite feasts, I didn't love it because I ate a ton, I loved it because what I was eating was so delectable, special, carefully prepared. The foods lit me up. We can choose our own experience, right?

Sensory feasts!

I'm about to take off for Italy. Before that I have two potluck parties to attend. So feasting... has been on my mind. But I am clear: I don't want to stuff or gorge myself like I used to. Overdoing it in quantity makes me feel heavy, gross, guilty, lethargic. I want to bring all my senses to the table. I want to feel activated, alive, satisfied, fun, free and light.

My favorite ways to have a sensory feast:
  • Don't hold back and arrive to the party starving, trust me on this: your midday snack will be worth it
  • Look first for the beauty in the food and presentation, I ask about it, I investigate it, touch it
  • Enjoy the aromas and smells of my food before I take the first bite
  • Eat slowly, like an explorer of new things (something I love about food: even if it's a food you know, chances are good you've never had this particular recipe, made by this particular person)
  • Use tiny utensils to remind me of the flavor in even the smallest bites
  • Stay aware of my fullness level, how my body is feeling as I take in each bite, stopping at 80% full
  • Eat exactly what I want to eat, with as much attention as possible
  • Get rid of my plate and grab a refreshing glass of water with lemon to walk around with
  • Turn my attention to connecting with the lovely people around me, feasting on the beauty of their eyes and getting curious about their lives, I listen
Here's one of my all-time favorite clips from What About Bob? of Bill Murray's character having a real sensory feast, eating exactly what he wants, how he wants...

 ... and please don't stop that!

What sounds like the most fun way to have a sensory feast to you? Are there other ways you like to slow down and take it all in? Please share! I love new things to try...

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