{this moment}
Weekends are for adventure

Learning to love the time it takes to cook healthy wholesome food

Tonight marks the end of week one of our {more or less} no spend month. I've learnt so much about our consumption habits, but the main lesson so far has been that I need to learn to enjoy the time it takes to cook wholesome healthy food from scratch.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time in the kitchen this week...

Pita_pocket_bread ...baking bread (the mini pita pockets have definitely been the most popular so far. I'll share more about these shortly)...

Making yoghurt ...making yoghurt from scratch...

...sprouting, soaking, baking, boiling, fermenting, rising, blending, kneading, scrubbing, peeling, chopping, and so on.

I'm spending around an hour in the kitchen each morning before heading off to work. Then another hour or two in the evening. And I don't even do the dishes. Thankfully Daddy Eco and I have an arrangement where I cook and he washes-up. But this week really tested that arrangement. I've heard more than a few grumbles about the piles of dirty dishes i'm creating.

All that time spent in the kitchen started to frustrate me. Then I thought about it. Two hours a day to ensure our family eats healthy wholesome food, without breaking the budget, isn't really that much time.

I need to learn to love and enjoy the time I spend preparing and cooking food. And Daddy Eco needs to learn to love the time he spends doing the dishes ;-) 

Wash the dishes dry the dishes

How are we going to do that? I'm not yet sure, but here's a few ideas i'm trying.

Being mindful

I'm going to try and focus on the task at hand. I'm not going to think about what else needs to be done or what I need to do tomorrow.

According to Leo Babauta of Zen habits:

"Anything. Even things you might think are drudgery or boring, such as housework, can be amazing if you are truly present. Try it — wash dishes or sweep or cook, and remain fully present. It takes practice, but it’s incredible."

In the same article on The Mindfulness Guide for the Super Busy, he also suggests,

"Make cleaning and cooking become meditation. Cooking and cleaning are often seen as drudgery, but actually they are both great ways to practice mindfulness, and can be great rituals performed each day. If cooking and cleaning seem like boring chores to you, try doing them as a form of meditation. Put your entire mind into those tasks, concentrate, and do them slowly and completely. It could change your entire day (as well as leave you with a cleaner house)."

This idea of looking upon the time I spend cooking as a form of meditation is similar to the second idea i'm trying:

Practice Karma Yoga

I first leant about Karma Yoga a few years ago while on a yoga retreat. Each day we were asked to help with the chores of the ashram, but rather than see this time as 'work' it was seen as 'yoga'. A time for mindfulness. A time for focus. A time for service. I actually really enjoyed this time each day.

I don't yet understand enough about the practice to be able to decribe it, but thankfully Katie from Obaitori does a great job of explaining the practice of Karma Yoga.

I understand that it's my attitude that needs to change. I need to see the time I spend cooking as an offering to my family.

Before I finish I have to confess.

I learnt a second lesson this week:

Placing boxes of charity chocolates in the workplace is EVIL!

I broke the challenge twice. The first time was on Thursday afternoon. I was at work and after a frustrating phone call about budgets, numbers and balancing, I headed straight for that evil box of charity chocolates. I bought one. Ate it. I didn't even realise that i'd broken the challenge until driving home that night. It seems my desire for chocolate overrode my brain's ability to function. I confirmed this ability to override the following afternoon, when I did exactly the same thing, but this time I'd registered that I was breaking the challenge, and still bought it. It wasn't even fair-trade?!

So it seems I need to work on my willpower, and also be better prepared for afternoon chocolate cravings. I'm planning to take a few Medjool Dates along to work this week and may even resort to making these Saucepan Fudge Drops. I've checked...I have all the ingredients in my pantry.

Also playing along...

Jen from the Evolving Homemaker has challenged herself to the {more or less} no spend month. It seems her 'chocolate' is take-away coffee. Good luck Jen :-)

How about you? Do you think you spend too much time in the kitchen? Do you enjoy cooking and cleaning? Do you have any tips for me?

Shared at Simple Lives Thursday.