As the new year begins, a popular topic around the water cooler is self improvement. Wellness – be it physical fitness, emotional well-being, spiritual growth – is one theme that travellers have really embraced lately, engaging consumers and hospitality proprietors in a whole new way. Travel companies like Pravassa and Well Traveled have emerged as one-stop resources for travelers eager to explore wellness around the world. Hotels are creating opt-in programs and exclusive packages geared towards mindfulness via the hotel’s unique amenities, as exemplified with Fairmont Fit, Trump Wellness, and StayWell at MGM Grand. As well, travel agents can now become certified well-being travel specialists thanks to the marketing group, Well-Being Travel, aimed at growing the health, medicine and wellness travel industry by educating agents.
As travelling foodies, we’re familiar with the idea of mindful eating (though we’re the first to admit our relationship with food is more a sordid love affair than anything). The Center for Mindful Eating – an organization helping to implement the notion that “eating can bring us awareness of our own actions, thoughts, feelings and motivations, and insight into the roots of health and contentment,” is a great resource on the subject. The Centre offers five guiding principles on mindful eating: 1) enjoyable eating that meets nutritional needs; 2) meditative consumption that gives eating our physical and emotional attention; 3) ethical consumption that considers the sustainability of food; 4) the global impact that food insecurity (lacking sufficient resources worldwide for proper nutritional consumption) has on our eating habits; and 5) eating in a way that best contributes to our health and weight.
While we don’t necessarily want our lust and excitement for eating explorations to be tempered, it certainly seems a good idea to incorporate some cognitive processes in our eager consumption of Meilleure de France awarded croissants or Absinthe infused macarons on our Foodie Trips. Considering The Centre’s five position statements, here’s how we might embrace mindful eating on one of our delicious excursions.
Certainly vacation mode is one in which our balanced diet tends to escape us. Fortunately on a Foodie Trip – there’s ample opportunity for exercise and activities not oriented around sugar consumption. Neighbourhood tours and festival strolls are an easy way to expel some energy, and we’re even adding an afternoon of biking to Versaille on our next Sweet Trip to Paris. Outside of the exercise, we can keep nutrition in mind by ensuring our class-made croissants and macarons don’t become meals of themselves. Part of healthy eating is not skipping a meal, so to that end we’re sure to have suggestions for a lunch spots that will ensure our goodie bags don’t get binged on.
One thing we are proud to offer our guests on a Foodie Trip is an authentic eating experience that’s reflective of the environment we’re in. Locally grown, locally prepared, artisan-style cuisine is what really sets a Foodie Trip apart from others. We align quality food experiences with sustainable ones, as done with our market class alongside native chefs and explorations of homegrown businesses whose products provide the backbone of the local economy. Being mindful of how our meals are impacting the cultural nuances, as well as how we’re actively supporting the local environment, are other ways in which wellness goes hand in hand with our delicious itinerary.
What The Centre refers to in regards to Food Security is how our eating habits contribute to the global issues of worldwide hunger, malnutrition and the depletion of food resources. While we love to indulge, compassion for and awareness of these issues is considered on a Foodie Trip on a community level. After learning about the source of our ingredients and equipment in our cooking classes, we’ve found in trips past that the opportunities to share the ample fruits of our labour with the service staff and community members we meet are vast. Beyond sharing leftovers, we also make efforts to give business to many local volunteers. Individuals keen on sharing their perspective of the city with us through guided tours, specialized food stalls and honed crafts provided us with unexpectedly memorable experiences!
Eating in a way that supports our health is something we’re generally aware of, on or off a Foodie Trip (otherwise we’d just set up an IV with Angelina’s creme de marrons). In the spirit maintaining a healthy weight, travelling foodies can easily take on the “everything in moderation” notion, as we sip and savour between handcrafted caramels in Saint Germain and falafel plates in Le Marais. Mindful eating here is about having an awareness of the bodily affects, as well as the psychological ones that new foods have on us, without restricting our taste exploration. The four food groups generally guide our menu selections, but now our newly acquired Foodie Trips experience will enhance it!