Food With Zen is a destination for people who like to eat, but want to learn to enjoy it more fully. We serve up new recipes and useful cooking tips, plus provide an array of delicious one-pot dishes perfect for busy working people. You’ll enjoy learning about ingredients that are exciting and nourishing—and perhaps even change how you cook (and eat!) every day.
Food With Zen
You may already know of the word Zen as a phrase meaning to go with the flow, or something along those lines. But did you know that the word refers to a religion called Zen Buddhism practiced by millions of people? If you travel to places like Japan, China, Korea, or Vietnam, you’ll likely come across Zen monasteries with monks and followers in quiet meditation.
The word Zen is Japanese and comes from the Chinese word Ch’an, meaning meditation. The Chan school of Buddhism originated in China in the 9th Century before spreading across to other parts of Asia.
Zen is Meditation
Zen strips down the layers of scripture, doctrines, and rituals of Buddhism. It simplifies the practice to its core: we are all Buddhas who can seek enlightenment by going inward. Training our mind through meditation, we release ourselves from the slavery of our thoughts and connect with our source, the Buddha-nature.
Many may have a restricted view of meditation in the form of sitting, cross-legged chanting or focused on the breath. But actually, one can practice meditation during any activity. In doing so, you bring awareness to every moment, allowing you to live mindfully in the present.
Turning a Meal Into Meditation
The meal provides an ideal moment for meditation. It means bringing intention to food preparation, savoring every bite, and showing gratitude for nourishment brought from the universe.
Mindful eating begins with its preparation. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh explains: “When you prepare a meal with artful awareness, it’s delicious and healthy. You have put your mindfulness, love, and care into the meal. Then people will be eating your love.”
Create a quiet atmosphere with little distractions. As you prepare your meal, meditate on the sensations. Bring awareness to the aroma of the ingredients and express gratitude for each. Notice the textures as you assemble your meal. Listen to the sounds of the food as you prepare Perhaps you hear the crunching, chopping, or running of water as you rinse each ingredient.
Now it’s time to sit and savor each bite.Meditation while eating gives a chance to appreciate the foods that nourish us. In quiet contemplation, we can savor and reflect upon every bite. Inhale and exhale rhythmically as you chew slowly.
Think of all those who worked hard – raising the animals, toiling the soil, shipping ingredients from far away – to bring the food to your plate. Consider the plants and animals that give up their existence to fuel yours. Does this not cultivate a greater connection with the source of life and the connectivity of ourselves with the earth?
Finally, bow in a moment of gratitude. Once you have finished your food, take a moment to give thanks to the food that nourishes you and the process that it took to bring those ingredients to your plate. Place your hands in prayer and bow in humble recognition.
The Zen masters teach us that by eating mindfully, we appreciate the source of life and create a stronger connection with our world. In this way, we become more aware of the foods we consume and eat in moderation with gratitude.
Recipes That Will Bring Zen Into Your Life
So if you’ve been feeling stressed and maybe not making the best food choices, tell yourself that you deserve better. Skip the takeout and forget the fast food. Put on some relaxing music, slip into some comfortable clothing and try these 6 recipes that will bring Zen into your life.
1. Green Tea Soba Noodles With Roasted Vegetables and Herbs
Green tea contains theanine, an amino acid that is believed to reduce anxiety and promote sleep. These Green Tea Soba Noodles have roasted vegetables, fresh herbs, raisins and cashews for a balanced mix of tastes and textures.
2. Dark Chocolate Banana Bonbon Bites
If you crave chocolate when stressed, that’s ok. Dark Chocolate contains flavonoids which have relaxing properties. These Dark Chocolate Banana Bonbon Bites also have almonds for three healthy ingredients in one delicious treat. They’re just the right size to satisfy any craving.
3. Maple Spice Oatmeal Bowl of Goodness
Whole grains with lots of fiber like oatmeal release calming serotonin at a slow and steady pace. This Maple Spice Oatmeal Bowl of Goodness has dates and maple syrup for natural sweetness, nut butter for protein and cinnamon and ginger for spice. A bowl of this in the morning will keep you calm all day.
4. Super Protein Kale Caesar Salad
Leafy greens are high in magnesium which helps muscles relax and calms the nerves. This Super Protein Kale Caesar Salad not only has magnesium-packed kale, but the process of massaging the kale is relaxing too. The cashew-based Caesar dressing is amazing!
5. Simple Basil Citrus Salad With Balsamic Jam Dressing
Vitamin C has been found to reduce stress, cortisol levels, and blood pressure and we know we can get lots of vitamin C from citrus fruits. This beautiful Simple Basil Citrus Salad is loaded with citrus from oranges, blood oranges, and grapefruit. The scent of the fresh basil is relaxing while the balsamic jam dressing is delicious.
6. Asparagus Tofu Tartines With Light Hollandaise Sauce
Asparagus are high in folate which can help calm us and reduce stress. In these Asparagus Tofu Tartines with Light Hollandaise Sauce, the asparagus is both in the tofu scramble and on top for a delicious brunch dish that makes you feel better just looking at it.