Cultivating a Slower Pace

Did the pandemic force you to slow down, like it did me? In 2020 we got to know ourselves, as we couldn’t distract ourselves with outside family, friends and coworkers. Maybe you rediscovered your living space since you were now there more than in your office. Some of us started to cook more since we were banned from restaurant dining. My previous commuting time was replaced with sleeping in a little and fitting in a longer meditation/quiet time. For the first time I really listened to the birds singing in the early AM! Overall there was more time for self-reflection and self-care. So in some ways the pandemic provided positive moments.

I’ve been enjoying the vlog Malama Life about slower living. Her videos are so beautifully and artfully created. Just watch any of her videos if you need a quick escape and tips on self-care or winding down.

Now that the restrictions are lifting (on 5/29 in Massachusetts the mask mandate rescinds for vaccinated persons in any indoor location) and businesses reopen and inch closer to normalcy, I wonder if I’ll go back to old ways: the rush rush from morning till night. Scrolling on my phone as soon as I wake up. Mentally planning every task and to-do of the day. Driving to this place and that for work and family. It won’t be completely like before as both my workplaces have begun post-Covid planning and looks like I’ll remain mostly remote in the long-term. I’m thankful that our nutrition clinic has grown and thrived more than ever before because of Telemedicine (another positive discovery from Covid). But I’ll still have to disconnect and find balance.

Lately I’ve been disconnecting by cooking. Not finding and enjoying new recipes — but the act of cooking. Prepping the ingredients, chopping, stirring, seasoning, and feeling good about having nourishing food for a few days. Normally I prefer quick 15-minute easy meals. Cook quickly and eat quickly. But now I’m noticing each step when preparing the meal. It feels great and honestly I appreciate the dish more. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE love my air-fryer, and the microwave gets lots of use. But the act of cooking has become almost like exercise. My body and senses crave it because of the physical/mental benefits.

Yesterday I dug out my slow cooker and made an old chili recipe. It took about 20 minutes to prep and precook some vegetables and then 4 hours in the slow cooker. The cooker quietly did its thing and eventually filled the rooms with a savory scent. The stew tasted warm and wonderful. You can also do this on the stove in shorter time if needed but feel the difference with slower cooking!

Easy satisfying Bean Chili

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

4 carrots, peeled and chopped in small pieces

12 ounces prepared soy crumbles (example, Boca or Morningstar Farms) or 1 1/2 cups homemade tofu crumbles or 1 pound lean ground turkey

1 15 oz. can kidney beans

1 15 oz. can pinto beans

1 1/2 cups fresh, frozen, or canned corn

1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 jar salsa any flavor

Chili powder and any other seasonings you like

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large pan on medium-high heat. Add diced onions and carrots and stir periodically about 5 minutes or until just softened. Add to crock pot.
  2. If using ground turkey, heat 1 tbsp olive oil to same pan on medium-high heat and add turkey. Break up the meat into small pieces and stir frequently until no longer pink. Add to crock pot. If using soy crumbles, you can add directly to crock pot.
  3. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, and salsa to crock pot and stir everything together.
  4. Add chili powder/seasonings and stir well again.
  5. Cook on high about 4 hours or until carrots are tender.

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