How To Eat An Orange…… Shared By Nikki Harman
How To Eat An Orange You may think eating is a pretty simple activity, and on the surface, you’d be right. But I want to look beyond the surface, at what’s beneath the obvious. Let’s be honest: how often do you concentrate on what you’re eating or drinking? How often do you stop to consider how that food you’re popping into your mouth arrived there in the first place? How often do you really pay attention to what’s happening to you as you’re eating? I, for one, don’t spend every mouthful of food deeply thinking about it, or examining the sense’s reactions to the food. I don’t bless each morsel with gratitude, I don’t think about how the food arrived on my plate; and I definitely don’t always say a grace. If I did, surely my food will have cooled down, and not taste as good as it should have? I am, as many others are, guilty of one of the following on a regular basis: eating whilst watching TV eating whilst answering a text eating whilst working on my laptop eating whilst reading a book or writing notes eating whilst walking around I bet the majority of those reading this will be able to agree that they have done at least 2, if not all of those in the list above (and if you can do all at once, then you are multi-talented). Some of you will be able to agree that you do say a prayer or bless your food – but how many of you do so for every meal? What do you think is the best approach? How does food make you feel? Do different types of food affect your mood or how you feel? What is your relationship with your food? What sort of food do you eat on a daily basis? Do you cook it yourself, is it freshly prepared? Is it healthful? For those who are just about to skip to the next blog, wait! Please, stop and think for a moment. Because food is a huge part of every society, every culture, we depend on food to keep us going, at the very least, and to enrich ourselves and feel healthy, at best. Don’t you think that something we as humans rely on so much for survival, something so crucial to our health, should get more attention when we prepare it, and eat it? Today I’m going to give you an example. I teach this in my beginners mindfulness course. I love this exercise, because I see the reactions of those taking part in it. I love when the participants feed back to me the exact point of the exercise: it makes me feel that someone else is on my wavelength. I love it when those who look at me suspiciously when I present them with a plate of fruit – like I’m a little bit crazy – find the exercise has taught them something that they didn’t really think about beforehand. How do you eat an orange? Do you cut it into wedges and suck them? Do you peel it and eat each segment? Do you halve it and squeeze out the juice? Do you think about how that orange arrived in your kitchen? My suggestion is that you get yourself an orange. Hold it in your hand, feeling the texture, the weight and the shape. Just be curious about who planted the orange tree. Where did it grow? How long do you think it took to grow? Who picked it when it was ripe? Who packed it, and packaged it along with the rest of the crates to be shipped around the world? What was the journey on the ship like for those who work at sea to deliver goods around to different countries? Who drove the crates with your orange to the supermarkets, or delivered your vegbox to your door? Who placed your orange on the shelf for you to see, and buy, or loaded your fruit box? And now, here you are, holding your beautiful, precious orange, that which has been handled from seed to plate. Acknowledge all those who have had a part in giving you your moment of sustenance. What might the life story be of each person involved? Thank them for their part in providing you with food. Begin to prepare the orange. As you do so, breathe in the zest, smell the sunshine and the rain and the air, soil and energy required to transform the orange seed into the fruit you are preparing, now. Then, just before you place your first segment or wedge into your mouth, clear your mind and zone in completely on the experience of what you are doing. Concentrate as you bite into it. Taste it. What do you experience? What do you notice? Continue to eat the orange, observing your senses as you do so, watching your thoughts and concentrating on what you are doing. When you have finished, sit quietly for a minute or two, just to reflect. What comes up for you? You know when you’ve digested that orange, when all the vitamins and water have been carefully, chemically stored in your body, the waste of which is eliminated from your system and into the toilet (let’s not get too graphic at this juncture), what happens to it? It goes back to the earth. Through your breath, through your skin, through your elimination systems, into the sewage, into the water, into the air, and back to earth. Can you see, then, that we are all intrinsically connected? That person who planted the seed or operated the machinery (even the people who assembled machinery in the factory), to the person who took your money for the orange at the shop, has had a part in providing you with sustenance. By eating it, you take on the energy of this process, and by eliminating it, you provide the earth with sustenance. It’s a two-way process. When we eat, we are engaging in a big, symbiotic relationship with each other, the world; we are all doing it in a similar way for mutual benefit of ourselves and for earth, consciously or unconsciously. I’m not suggesting that you treat every meal in this manner – who has time for that in their lives? – but to at least acknowledge the food you are about to eat, from seed to plate, and for the work you have put into being able to buy (or grow) yourself. Give thanks – and enjoy every mouthful – for of course, you are what you eat.
My early memories of food stem from visits to my Grampy's allotment, six years old, digging, weeding and planting these tiny seeds and tender plants...Wow what an intro…taking this bounty back to Gran, who would make the most delicious meals for us to share…..most of the stuff I had no idea what it was called……but it smelt and tasted delicious….so the journey began…..cooking by aged eight, anything I could get my hands on….trained at catering college, a complete waste of time as I already knew all these techniques. Then came girls, a change of career, my wife and children….but I still cooked, learning, watching, practicing my hobby…..never really following a recipe!!! just trusting my hands …. the feel, the aromas, the look and, of course, the taste….re-trained at the tender age of 49 as a Heart IQ Coach…and this is it! Bosh!….got passionate about my passion in life, totally off the richter scale…..inspired by food….all of it….so, 2013 Heart Kitchen is born to share with the world …….sourcing, honouring, preparing, sharing and connecting …..I love it!!!! - Simon