The Mindfulness of Food

Food, food food.

Somewhere in the Western world we have gone wrong. There are still many people in the world who have no food. Children who are starving, Dying. And we sit here with an abundance of the stuff. We keep getting fatter and unhealthier as a collective group. We keep throwing food away. Gorging ourselves. Up-sizing and making reality cooking shows about total indulgence in food – people crying about their souffle not rising.

What must that look like? Even in our daily lives there are families who don’t have enough and families who have too much.

But this blog is not about that terrible inequality. The tragedy of the way we have set up our world in a way that seems too hard to change. A world in which those who have too much do not offer to really, genuinely help those who have too little.A world in which we are so focussed on food, cooking, diets, weight loss, calories, problems with food, where to go to get food, with industries that control our food and remove us from where our food comes from.

No, today I am writing after a comment from another person with diabetes (thanks to Bruno) about how “other people” (those without diabetes) probably do not know the calories in everything they eat, let alone the carb content. He wrote that diabetes has in fact made him healthier.

It got me thinking about what it must be like to be able to mindlessly choose anything you want to eat.

Not to think about how many calories, carbohydrates, fats and sugars each morsel has in it. Not to have to calculate a maths problem every time you eat. Not to have to wonder what sort of impact eating a meal is going to have on the rest of your day or night. Not having to keep a tight eye on your BGL’s for the rest of the night after a lazy Sunday afternoon of “slow eating” – you know, the kind of day most people savour, where the sunshine is warm, the day is long, the food is plentiful and comes in many courses over a period of hours, leading to a nightmare of calculations for a person with diabetes. And sometimes it is just not worth the bother.

It got me thinking about how when I watch people tucking into a meal that I can see has 150 grams of carbohydrates in it there is NO WAY I am tackling that baby. Or how it must feel to walk into a cafe and be able to choose anything you like, without thought. That must be something.I have had to think about every piece of food that has gone into my mouth for 33 years. That is a long time. And sometimes I want to be free from that.

But then I got to thinking again about how privileged I am. About how I can go into a cafe and choose food. About how I can have a house full of food. About how I am one of the people who does have enough.

And then, I remembered how lucky I am.




  1. Helene Wild on July 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    ty Helen. This is a real insight into the life of a Type 1 diabetic, and also a good wake up call to me, a ‘lazy’ type 2. I know I could be more mindful about food, but because I am not on insulin (yet) I don’t have to. But I know if I was fully aware of every bite I eat, or plan to eat, I would, like Bruno said, be overall healthier.

    I also listened to a radio programme today about Water, an interview with a Unicef worker who helps people after disasters to achieve a drinkable water supply and safe waste disposal. We are luckier than we can ever know, here in Australia. Safe water, abundant food, and free access to thinkers who share wisdom with us.

  2. Helen Edwards on July 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    thanks for reading and sharing, that is so so true, we are indeed very lucky 🙂