A Recipe for a Positive Message

There are two things that I haven’t always been great at doing when I’m in the kitchen- writing down measurements for my recipes as I go and remembering to take a photo with a proper camera at the end! It’s always been relatively easy for me to throw ingredients together and find myself with an final product that seems to work rather well- but then I need to work backwards and write the recipe from memory, where sometimes the difference between a teaspoon and tablespoon doesn’t feel like much in writing, but can be a world of difference on the palette!

1609726_379751275521631_3362568308733264804_n

Again, I generally have no trouble remembering to take a snap of the finished product on my iphone, just because instagram has nestled itself quite snuggly into my day-to-day life. However remembering to stop and grab the proper camera, adjust the lighting, fix the focus, find the right angle etcetera, doesn’t always appear as a natural chronological step in the process and usually its when I’m halfway through the meal, when beetroot has colored the entire dish or a green smoothie bowl looks like nothing other than hippy food, do I remember the camera.

So, for the past month or two I’ve tried to be very good- jotting down measurements as I go and keeping the camera in the kitchen where I cannot forget its presence and assistance. I have found that I have been so much more productive and so much more inspired to make food and recipes this way, feeling that they have a life that extends further than the meal itself, it is a recipe that can be shared, made again, gifted to someone in a kitchen on the other side of the world, simply because I was mindful enough to capture the moment of creation in time.

The other thing that I have noticed though, and the thing that has inspired me to write this post, is how these new steps have connected me with my food and meals on a deeper level and made the process that much more mindful and even devotional. The reason I termed my blog pages Bella and Bhakti was because I wanted to emphasize the way that making and sharing food is both beautiful and also a sacred act. This doesn’t mean you need to sit down and eat around an alter space and chant (although you may and this is lovely too!) It simply means that the act of making food is an offering, either to oneself or others. In cultures and traditions all over the world, preparing food is indeed a much loved and enjoyed occasion and days are spent making one shared meal. Too often in our fast-paced day-to-day life, we grab a meal on the run, we come home at the end of a long day and throw random contents from the fridge into a bowl, we order takeout or we have leftovers- and that act of mindfulness and love is replaced with a need for instant gratification.

9985_10152781552677770_2810530525935507564_nBy jotting down ingredients and measurements as I go, I find myself more at peace and more in tune with what it is I am making. By ensuring the final plate is beautifully presented and arranged in such a manner to make it photo-worthy, I find I go to much more care than I normally would if I were just making any given meal on any given day.

Taking this process to the next level, when I have taken the meal from plate to blog- typed up the recipe and attached the photographs, there is an even greater satisfaction and gratitude, that I can share this love of mine, that I can perhaps inspire people or encourage people afar. I have found the online foodie community to be so encouraging, so responsive, so positive and loving. I feel honored to be part of that even on a small scale.  It doesn’t feel like competition and judgment doesn’t seem to play out, at least in the realms I choose to be part of, and this has been so pleasing and refreshing for me. I am sure that in other blog pages and instagram accounts, there is conversation and banter where food, diet and fitness is more related to calories, deprivation and comparison, however, in the raw vegan arena I play in, there seems to be nothing other than encouragement and appreciation.

It is no secret that most women have some kind of food hang ups, some kind of relationship to their diet that plays with their mind and tangles the thoughts in their head. It is no secret that women may tend to feel emotions of guilt or remorse around the food they eat; perhaps they eat alone or simply lack the motivation to make themselves a meal with care. What I am seeing and witnessing first hand with this social media foodie revolution, is a worldwide community uniting under a banner of positivity, health and inspiration. My news feed is filled with amazing images of vibrant green smoothies, abundant salads, colorful raw cakes, fresh organic produce, beautiful natural girls with make-up free smiles and women running through bush tracks or along beach shores for the love of the fresh air as much as the fitness factor.

10002923_378710452292380_7665215085636422776_nI did an interview not long ago with a woman who was studying how social media was having the opposite effect- breeding an arena of disordered eating and judgment, where self esteem was plummeting and self loathing was on the rise. She spoke of young women comparing themselves to the images of models they saw on their newsfeed and a new breed of hashtags that proudly displayed women with protruding hip bones and sunken cheeks.

I was shocked.

Disheartened.

Pained.

But again, we all have the power to choose what we focus on and I know that a world of social media exists that is positive and optimistic, that offers food as nourishment, as a beautiful offering, as an art form in and of itself. I watch images of raw desserts receive thousands of likes and encouraging comments and more and more cafes opening that serve healthy food, people eating with their eyes through a newsfeed as much as the guests in the café itself! Day trips planned and holidays made to include these eateries in the newsfeed of their admiring fans- their meal captured and hash tagged with pride and joy.

And so, I return to my original train of thought- that the act of making food with a pen in hand and camera around the neck can be a gentle, mindful and thoroughly enjoyable experience. That the act of sharing that food can be nourishing in and of itself, and the act of photographing, blogging and tweeting the meal and recipe can take that appreciation and gratitude to yet another arena. Comparison, judgment and negative body image have always existed in the media, and social media has the potential to take that to a new level due to the level of participation and interactivity that these mediums offer. However, they can also be used to offer healing, hope and happiness. And that is what I wish to be part of.1920305_10152777739347770_8432933008349803372_n