I strive to live a life that is more Zen (mindful, non-judgmental, and in the moment), and believe me, I’m a work in progress – haha. That being said, I make a point to be particularly aware of my Zen-ness when I’m in the kitchen preparing Raw food. Why? Because it helps me create the most delicious food ever!
Here are seven things I do to get my Raw Zen Kitchen on. I adapted them from zenhabits.net. You’ll see I’ve changed them up a bit so they apply to my food prep.
1) Do things deliberately. Have patience and and take your time…feel yourself flow with your actions. Don’t be rushed when making your food. Before making a recipe, take the time to sit down and read the recipe. Read through the ingredients and picture them in your mind. Imagine the steps you’ll take as you review the directions. Then, when you’re ready, make the recipe and take your time with each step.
2) Don’t multi-task. Doing things in a Zen style also means doing them one at a time. For example, when you’re washing produce, simply wash your produce. When you’re in the kitchen, keep the phone and television turned off while you’re preparing your delicious Raw meals. Feel the fresh produce while you’re washing it, smell it as you cut into it, be mindful and observe it while it’s blending…these are all ways to be present while preparing your Raw food. Then, when you eat, just eat. Don’t do the mail, don’t talk on the phone and don’t turn on the TV. Simply eat your food. Taste each bite and experience all of the delicious flavors and textures exploding in your mouth. Raw food is full of exquisite flavors damn close to being worthy of worship, so appreciate it with every bite.
3) Do each task completely before moving on, and each step of the recipe, in the same way. Put your mind completely on the recipe. Don’t move on to the next task until you’re finished. When you finish the task of making the meal, don’t eat until you’ve cleaned up your kitchen (and practice your new Zen groove while you’re at it!).
4) Do less in the kitchen (and in life). For example, I don’t worry about making a bunch of different recipes all week. I take a little time every Sunday to select a few recipes for the week and I just make those. I’ll make enough so I have leftovers to last a couple of days each, thereby giving me more time to just enjoy my food. When I do less (in the kitchen and in life), then I can do those things with more focus and be more relaxed in the process.
5) Rituals Are Special. Having a ritual offers the activity a sense of appreciation and importance. I have a ritual for making my daily smoothie, my weekly recipes, etc. When I think of those activities in that way, they actually become even more exciting to do. In fact, I can’t wait to do them each day because I feel so lovely and relaxed in the process.
6) Timing can be everything. “There are certain times in the day of a Zen monk designated for certain activities. A time for bathing, a time for work, a time for cleaning, a time for eating. This ensures that those things get done regularly.” I designate time for my activities, such as a special time for selecting the recipes I’ll make for the week, as well as making my weekly shopping list. I also designate time to shop. When I get home from food shopping, I have a designated time where I prep my produce (washing some of it, proper storage, etc).
7) “Make cleaning and cooking become meditation” (boohyah!). “Cooking and cleaning are two of the most exalted parts of a Zen monk’s day. They are both great ways to practice mindfulness.” Put your whole self into those tasks, and do them mindfully with patience and passion. Be grateful you have food to prepare, a house to clean, and an able body to do both of those things.
Enjoy every moment (it’s all you truly have). Love your life and get your Raw Zen kitchen on!