Shelley's Tov Meod Teusday!!

Again we have the privilege of having Shelley’s Contribution on our blog!!!

This blog post was meant for last Teusday, my sincerest apologies for the delay:

In memory of my grandmother, Lil Shafran, Leah bat Yosef, z”l.

I am the bearer of an invaluable treasure trove of memories of the most elegant and regal women I ever had the merit of knowing. My maternal grandmother was everything to me. She carried herself with poise and grace, her stylish appearance an external mirror of her inner refinement. And while my grandmother always made certain we were well fed and satiated she did not fit the mold of the typical “Jewish Bubbie” piling plates high with artery clogging delicacies while gently urging her grandchildren to “eat more”. She was a woman of moderation. She paced herself. The gentle urgings were to take just what you need and when you’re full to stop.

When I think of my grandmother I’m left with an indelible impression of how we ate. She never drank hot beverages from a styrofoam cup but from a china tea cup or glass mug. We sat down at the table for meals, we didn’t eat on the go. Meals were savored and enjoyed. Napkins were laid on laps, dishes were plated, utensils were used properly. It wasn’t just about the contents of the meal or the menu it was about creating an unhurried, enjoyable atmosphere. It’s this attitude I remember so vividly, one in service of honoring your food and honoring yourself.

Today navigating the messages of the food industry is nothing short of overwhelming. Diets abound from low-carb, paleo, veganism and local-vore. An industry focused solely on weight-loss promulgates packaged products “replacement meals”, bars, beverages and yogurts “on the go”.

In my grandmother’s memory I would like to suggest a shift in our approach to eating. Each time we eat we are presented with an opportunity to give our body sustenance and to nourish ourselves. Let us treat eating as an opportunity. Let our fear of food – of the fats, the carbs the sugars – subside and allow ourselves to focus on all the wonderful things we can do when we are satisfyingly nourished. Let us appreciate the flavors and textures, aromas and scents of our food.

Some practical steps to bring to your meals and snack-times:
Plate your food. – Even if you’re just eating a snack, even (and maybe especially!) if that snack isn’t of the highest nutritional value, take it out of the bag. Put it in a bowl or on a plate. This isn’t just some trick to eat less but to remind yourself of the value and potential of your food. Scoop that Ben & Jerry’s into your favorite bowl. Take the opportunity to savor even while you crave to scarf.

Sit Down. – It’s one of those days and you’re running around. You grab a granola bar. Sit down. Maybe you only have a minute? Sit down anyway. Allow yourself those few minutes to quiet your mind and digest your food.

Turn off the Screen. – TV, computers, phones. Their presence is insidious and seemingly unavoidable. Admittedly this remains a tremendous challenge for me especially when I’m home and eating alone. When your attention is stolen by what’s on your screen it is far more difficult to connect with what you’re eating and to truly appreciate the meal before you. Take control and shut it off or move to another room. Slowly these changes will become habit and you will reap the benefits of eating in a calm and distraction-free atmosphere no matter how you fill your plate.

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