On Tuesday this week, I spent an evening rediscovering my joy of food, and the earth it comes from, at swanky Shoreditch hotel, Ace. It’s been a while since I’ve really delved into food and its journey to my plate; despite going for organic where possible, supporting local independents, and trying to grow my own (the herbs are perking up again!), it’s been a long time since I’ve sat in a room and just soaked up the wisdom from someone else who shares my passion for good, honest food.
That’s what The Mindful Kitchen does. Duo Heather Thomas and Marian Reed set up their entrepreneurial food workshop in 2015, and have been entertaining guests around the world with their talks and classes on eating sustainably. It was abundantly clear that they both care dearly for the environment, but managed to translate this into good food – something we can all tuck into and enjoy!
Power of the seasons
The theme of the event I attended with Heather and Marian was Spring Fling, which made me think of 80’s movies and prom dresses, but really was about learning how to make the most of the new foods blossoming this season.
We started the session with a note from each participant on what they had noticed about the recent sunny London weather. I’d spotted a squirrel in our tiny garden that morning, so had something good to go on – nature was waking up! It set the tone for the evening, as we saw how the seasons change not only our moods, but our produce too, and how climate change is changing the way our food grows – instead of being top of the food chain, we are in fact subject to nature and even the slightest changes in the soil!
One new and staggeringly brilliant concept that I learnt during the session was ‘nature relatedness’. This refers to how connected we feel to nature, and the effect that has on our bodies and minds. There’s even a scientific scale which shows a correlation between our connection with nature and how relaxed and happy we are.
I feel like a lot of what I’ve been enjoying actually comes back to this. From the timber and eucalyptus scented spas, to rooting myself through the feeling of hygge, this connection is so important to staying sane! And food connects us straight to nature, every day, three times a day.
Good to the planet, good to you
We finished up the session by exploring the spice boards laid in front of us. Cogs were starting to turn in my head – cinnamon tastes and smells so different from one country to another, reflecting the different elements it weathered when being grown, and with that its nutritional composition too.
The main takeaway was that by making small changes we can in fact improve our food. This might be by eating more locally; the food is fresher, and there’s less demand for long-distance food freight. Or perhaps saving the peels of carrots and cucumbers, freezing them, and then dehydrating to make your own superfood powders. In a way, there’s even a cycle in the way we look after ourselves and the food we eat; it all benefits us to be mindful.
If you’d like to go on The Mindful Kitchen’s Spring Fling course, or another one (such as the flirty aphrodisiac course) check out their events page.