Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


The Eye of the Red Snapper

Redsnapper.jpg by Paulk via Wikimedia Commons

Lent – the forty days between Mardi Gras and, Easter – is the only time, so far, I’ve been able to be a true vegetarian. Not vegan (I still eat cheese – still working on that) but vegetarian – no beef, no pork (the easy part for me) and no chicken or fish (the harder part.)

My husband respects my goals on this so much, that he voluntarily doesn’t eat “red meat” at home and doesn’t eat much meat in my presence, besides chicken and fish. A few weeks before lent, he asked me if I minded if he brought home some red snapper someone at work had offered him. Since I’ve occasionally indulged in seafood (except during lent) I said okay. As a tomboyish youth, I took pride in cleaning fish myself, but this time, I was happy to leave that job up to my husband. The night being cold, he scaled the fish and cut off the heads in the kitchen. The smell was not pleasant.

Then I saw it – The eye of the red snapper, staring at me, from my own kitchen sink. The eye’s blank look confirmed that it was dead. But it was still shiny. The fish had been frozen until it thawed in my sink. Could the eye possibly still see me?

I think I’m going to get better at this vegetarian thing. It’s about time. I’ve been working on it for about 40 years. Not eating cows and pigs has been easy. And after watching enough videos of what happens to baby chicks on factory farms….. well… I think I’m done with chicken. Now the eye of the red snapper has given me an extra push toward being a true vegetarian. Even though the taste of its well prepared flesh was flaky and mild, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have, if I had not seen the eye.

On the eve of lent, during my church’s annual Shrove (aka Fat) Tuesday oyster roast, I only ate three oysters – well done and dry, not slurpy. Oysters don’t have eyes, but I wonder: Are they still alive when the heat of the roasting fire forces their shells open?

Sometimes I wish I didn’t think about such things.

Now, for a somewhat humorous, yet honest, look at this issue:


It’s about progress, not perfection.

(The red snapper image is by “Paulk” via Wikimedia Commons)



Having Fun with Mindful Eating

Being here now, observing the present moment, doing one thing at a time, without judgement, effectively. These are all components of mindfulness, something we could all use more of, especially during this busy season of holidays which we so easily forget are also holy days.

Why is it, that around this time of year, so many people take it upon themselves to bring all kinds of alluring desserts to share at work? I know they have good intentions, and I love the holidays, but a quick nibble here and a mindless indulgence there can add up to unpleasant consequences like: “Why am I so moody/tired lately? Could it be all that sugar I’ve been eating?” and “Where did those 5 extra pounds come from?”

going for the cookies

Quick! before my mind notices!

Slowing down and eating mindfully can enhance the experience of eating.  Mindful eating improves our digestion and can help us maintain a healthy weight. It allows us to nourish and respect our bodies. Using mindfulness, I would not just grab that chocolate chip cookie and stuff it into my mouth without thinking. If I was being mindful, I would not be eating in front of the TV or at the  computer as I too often do at work.

Using mindfulness, I would start by observing. I would observe the  cookie and all it’s friends: the gingerbread man, the rice crispy treats and those little white balls covered with powdered sugar with nuts inside (if it has nuts, it’s healthy right?) I might observe my mouth watering slightly with detachment (Hmmm. That’s an interesting sensation.) If I don’t observe this sensation for too long, if I don’t let it turn into drooling, I can choose not to act on the urge to grab and gobble, and instead go on serenely about my business. Maybe get a cup of herbal tea, or a carrot stick…. which I  would eat mindfully of course.

But when we’re going to have a treat, whether it’s a cookie or a green bean, lets make it count. Let’s make it a memorable experience. Here are my steps for Mindful Eating using all of your senses:

1. Use your sense of sight to observe the colors and shapes of your well  chosen treat. Take some time to study it.  With fruits and vegetables, you might even discover something new. Jon Kabat-Zinn does this trick with a peeled banana where he shows how it’s  made up of three distinct segments lengthwise. Just try it!


Normal view of a banana

Banana segments attached

Mindfulness allows you to play with your food.

2. Smell your food. It could be a strong or subtle smell. If your nose likes what it smells, enjoy the aroma. If not, you might want to stop here and not proceed to step 3 with this particular food item. Our sense of smell is designed to protect us from things we really shouldn’t eat.

3. If you like the smell, put a small morsel at a time in your mouth. Will it melt or is chewing required? (If it’s a carrot, there’s no need to wonder, but it can be interesting to let a bit of sugar cookie or chocolate melt in your mouth.)

4. Feel the texture or textures. Is it smooth or rough or a combination?

5.  Savor the tastes.  Is it sweet, salty, tart, tangy……?

6. Does the process of eating create any sound, like crunching or even slurping?

Do all the above slowly so you can to make your treat last. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m partially suspending the nonjudgmental aspect of mindfulness in favor of  healthy fun.  It’s ok to judge the flavor or texture of your food in an appreciative way, but don’t judge yourself,  for eating too fast for example. Just observe and you might slow down. And if you do judge, just observe the judging without additional judging about the judging.

Now, you might not want to try your first attempt at mindful eating at a party. You might not want to say, I can’t talk right now, because I’m going to eat this cookie mindfully, unless you have the kind of friends who would appreciate that. It’s best to practice mindful eating alone at first or with one good friend who’s willing to humor you. If you’re at a party, or with someone who doesn’t know you well, you might just go with eating semi-mindfully or having mindful moments. Either way, you’re likely to eat less and enjoy it more.

Breakfast Oatmeal w fruit

We like a little oatmeal with our fruit.