Inspiration from a Lifelong Vegetarian
– Writing and Photos

avosMy friend, a fellow vegan beginning a path of spirituality, returned from a 5-day meditation retreat saying it was a life-changing event. One of the lessons he wanted to integrate into daily life was “setting the fork down after every bite, eating mindfully, fully enjoying every bite and honoring the hard work that went into growing the food and getting it to the table.”

This reminded me of the Slow Food movement, a grassroots membership organization which says no to fast food and living an unhurried life, starting at the table.

The movement originated when delegates from 15 countries signed a Slow Food Manifesto in 1989. Slow Food now has an international following of 100,000 members. Local chapters, of which there are over 1300, are each called a “convivium.” These convivia (plural) organize food tastings, visits to local farms and producers, film screenings and more educational events.

The Slow Food vision is similar to that of many vegetarians and vegans:  “a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it, and good for the planet.”

Slow Food supports organic agriculture, biodiversity and growing methods that are eco-friendly and reduce the use of pesticides. Here’s a listing of restaurants in San Diego that follow Slow Food principles.

What if  — just for one day — we chewed our food completely, really tasting the individual flavors and imagining the line of people involved in making that meal possible, from the grower to the grocery store to the person who prepared the food? If we also ate meals away from TVs, computers and cell phones, we would no doubt feel calmer, happier, and have better digestion, so let’s all take a breath!

Photo by North Country Farms, Kauai, Hawaii