Oftentimes, we find ourselves rushing from task to task during the day without taking into consideration the effects it has on our health. This includes the way we eat and prepare meals in the kitchen.
Brittany Nicholson, a local registered holistic nutritionist, will be hosting an upcoming workshop called Mindful Kitchen, which aims to help overcome these habits and move toward habits that will support healthy eating and digestion.
To that end, she's partnered with a local yoga teacher to host a live, virtual event.
“It will be a live cooking workshop where we learn how to create a nourishing space around mindful eating,” Nicholson said.
The two-hour virtual workshop will be held via Zoom on May 12, and you will learn how to make some delicious cauliflower tacos with lime crema. The dish is gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free.
“This is one of my personal favourite dishes,” Nicholson said. “The cauliflower acts as your meat component. It’s a very savoury dish, with lots of savoury spices like cumin and paprika. You’ve also got lots of healthy fats from avocado - those essential fatty acids are great for the nervous system. I find it to be a really fun and healthy twist on the classic taco. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring.”
Nicholson’s goal is to teach participants about the scientific connection between our stress levels and digestion and how we can best support it with mindful practices.
“As a registered holistic nutritionist, I appreciate the importance of stress-free mealtime for better digestion. I’ve partnered with local yoga teacher Amélie Goudreau for this event and we will share our knowledge on how our mindset should be around meal times and how we can prepare food in a more mindful way. An example could be creating a calming playlist around mealtimes,” she said.
Nicholson says the connection between stress and digestion is big.
"I work with my clients on a one-on-one basis on improving digestion, and one of the things I see right now with the pandemic is stress being a huge component," she said. "We have two different nervous systems, our sympathetic and our parasympathetic nervous system. Those are also referred to as our fight or flight or our rest and digest nervous system."
When the sympathetic nervous system is activated and we’re in fight, flight or freeze mode, we’re stressed and more energy is diverted towards skeletal muscles and the brain so we can flee from stressors, Nicholson adds.
Unfortunately, we can't run away from the stressors we are experiencing right now so energy is constantly being diverted away from digestion, she said.
But learning to breathe while preparing food can help set a mindful space and might even signal our bodies that it's safe to wind down and digest food. Which is where the yoga component of the workshop comes in.
“Partnering with Amélie will help to teach breathwork at mealtime and talk about some yoga connections to create that mindful space," Nicholson said. "We can create an experience rather than just chowing down and get on to our next event."
The cost of the workshop Mindful Kitchen is $25 per household. Register online to receive a list of ingredients needed to prepare the dish.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to cook with one another virtually and create that space where we can really appreciate and set intentions around our food. The energy that we put into our food is what we get out of it,” Nicholson said.