Shared Meals Matter Blog

Jan 27th

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

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Here’s an article I spotted in The Washington Post by Casey Seidenberg about healthier eating and resolutions.  I appreciate and encourage many of the same ideas: recognizing each family is different, taking time to think about what’s working and what’s not, being realistic with your goal setting, and perhaps most important. . . forgetting perfection!

For some it might be switching your kids from drinking juice to water, or eating more meals together as a family. For others it might be learning how to cook leafy greens, revamping breakfast to include more healthful proteins, or curbing a sweet tooth. We are all so different.

healthyeatingLove the plug that Seidenberg offers about eating more meals together. Certainly, a community of people working towards the same goal of eating healthier and living their priorities will go a long way to support your goal than if you were out there making a go of it alone.

Have you and your family been discussing goals of eating healthier and eating together more often? Please share your ideas and stories!

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Jan 22nd

“May I have your attention, please…”

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Like most parents, I find communicating important messages I’d like my children to be aware of or understand can be tricky. This humorous quote reminded me that effective communication sometimes requires a bit of strategy, as well as patience, good timing, and confidence.

Making breakfast or dinner a routine shared event with your children can help you establish opportunities for meaningful conversations. At these shared meals, you can grow in comfort and trust with one another and look forward to these important times for open, relaxed communication.

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Jan 15th

Do You Do “Meatless Monday”?

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I love the “Meatless Monday” movement because I think it makes a lot of sense for the environment that we limit our intake of meat. There are also plenty in the medical field who say that less meat means leaner and healthier bodies. For me, I haven’t naturally loved tofu, but I’m finding the more I literally handle it, the more comfortable I become cooking with it. I had to get used to the various textures (I prefer firm at this point). It’s easy to add flavor so it’s versatile, and it’s a fairly inexpensive way to get your protein.
TofuAlso, if you shop once a week, it seems to stay fresh a while longer than meat. Overall, I just feel lighter and healthier when I do “meatless,” so I’m going to keep trying to find ways to prepare it that appeal to my taste buds. It’s not something I’m wanting to do every day, but Monday, you’ve got my vote for a “meatless” day.
I’m reviewing a few books on this topic and will have some titles to refer to you on a future Monday. In the meantime, what are your thoughts about “Meatless Monday”? Are you trying to do this? If so, what is the main impetus for you? How’s it going for you?
(photo courtesy of

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Jan 10th

Why Do Shared Meals Matter?

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There are a host of reasons why I believe sharing a meal with someone – at least once a day – matters.  Sharing a meal helps us nurture our relationships, provide work-life balance, offer feelings of stability and security, promote healthier eating, continue cultural traditions and legacy, support educational and life-long learning pursuits, and enhance innovation and creativity.  Each of these areas on their own is reason enough to pay attention to the precious activity of gathering with those we love over a meal. And over the upcoming weeks in this blog, I’ll write more about each one to help you become more aware of what a shared-meal practice can do to add more joy and meaning to your life.
sharedmealsblogSome people want to share meals with their loved ones but feel lives are too darn busy to make or keep plans, struggle with syncing schedules, feel shopping and cooking meals is a hassle, are too distracted, etc.  All of these reasons (and plenty more) are a reflection of a modern American society that keeps us in a perpetually busy state of being and mindset.  As someone who can relate to many of these factors, I offer that there are so many reasons why developing a shared-meal practice is vital to your health, as well as to your family and community. In fact, I felt so compelled to share what I’ve learned with you that I wrote a book called The Shared-Meal Revolution:  How to Reclaim Balance and Connection in a Fragmented World Through Sharing Meals with Family and Friends.   In a nutshell, this book is about the signficance and benefits that families of all types (related or not) can enjoy when making a shared-meal ritual a lifestyle choice.
I look forward to sharing information, and hearing ideas and stories from you, too!

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Jan 6th

What Matters Most in 2013

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Kindness. . .

Many of us have a hard time letting go of the holiday season. I still have not taken down my Christmas tree, as my ritual is to take it down after a full week of the new year has passed. Although the neighborhood streets are not lit up quite as brightly with proud displays of festive lighting, there are still plenty of visual reminders that we have just concluded the holiday season. For some, they will keep their blinking — Santa sled and reindeer display on their roof — and savor that last holiday cookie, well into the first few weeks of January. It seems we don’t want to let go of the warmth we feel towards one another during the height of the season. We want these feelings to linger, and not be in a rush to go back to “business as usual.”

I’m not particularly devoted to making a specific list of New Year’s resolutions because, for me, it seems that reviewing what we like and don’t like about our lives is a 365-day-a-year process. But I did reflect upon what quality I could focus on this year; one that would be achievable each and every day of the year, and I came up with a simple word: kindness. This word may have bubbled up to the surface for me in part because in 2012 life events, and subsequently my lifestyle, was a little more like a roller-coaster ride than I’d like. Consciously seeking opportunities to show kindness helps me maintain a balanced life, reminding me through interactions with others that relationships are what count.
Keeping kindness as a core ingredient of interaction with others is a fine way to keep the warmth of the holiday season alive all year long. And, practicing kindness is something each of us can find the opportunity to do at least once a day, whether it’s resisting your impulse to honk your horn at the car that just cut you off on the freeway (who knows, maybe they really didn’t see you), or helping your elderly neighbor by offering to carry in a bag of groceries from their car (it could be just the load they needed lifted to lighten their day), or offering a smile and a few friendly words to the chatty five-year-old in front of you in line at the pharmacy (highlighting to him that the world he is learning to relate to is indeed a friendly place — and holidays are not the only time people people are nice.)
Another way of practicing kindness, to yourself and others, is to share a meal with someone, at least once a day. When we make contact with another through a shared meal, we are renewing the same bonds of social unity that most of us find so inspiring and fulfilling throughout the holiday season.
Why put away the holiday spirit when you’re packing your holiday ornaments?

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