There is a deliciously decided revolution going on right now, right here in America: I am talking about the way Americans perceive and prepare food. Today's buzzwords denote this undeniable shift in mindset from the mid-century mayonnaise-laced casserole days to the carbed-up food pyramid of the 80's and 90's to the turn of the century Atkins days to at last, something that sounds appealing and smart: artisanal, organic, sustainable, local, micro, whole, all-natural, heirloom, superfood -- you get the idea. We're all foodies now, and some of us are yogi-foodies.
The Slow Food Movement is the anti-fast food establishment that actually started in the 1980's but only in the past 10 years gained popularity and momentum. Tenets of this culinary revolution promote the importance of culture/locality, farming/sustainability, and preservation/anti-modification; educating the public on the drawbacks of large-scale processing, monoculture and fast food; lobbying against genetic engineering; and encourages ethical buying. For example, heirloom varieties of vegetables are less-popular strains of that vegetable which are, in a sense, "endangered" due to large-scale farming and modernization. Heirlooms (the most well-known being the Heirloom Tomato) are gorgeous and very tasty! Their rising popularity has been due in part to Slow Food's Ark of Taste Program, which has caused many seed distributors to look local and look backwards (in time).
What does this have to do with yoga? Everything! The Yoga Sutras, Ayurveda, and other Hindu scriptures encourage mindfulness and outline the yogic lifestyle adopted by so many practitioners. This is thought to be one of the reasons yoga is associated with weight loss. Yoga doesn't burn a ton of calories and studies have shown it actually slows the metabolism, but yogis are stereotypically waif-like and wiry. Slow food, whole food, healthy food -- they make you feel good. Most yogis are mindful when choosing foods to put in their bodies. In class, we learn to slow down. We bring this change of pace off our mats and into our dining rooms. It takes 15 minutes after ingestion of a food for the body to realize it is full. We find that perfect satiation makes our minds and bodies happy, and as a result, these healthy choices become habits. Sometimes in these hectic days of modern living, slowing down actually cranks up our wellness.
Maybe you don't know much about farm-raised all-natural, grass-fed beef and are looking to get involved in the slow food movement? You can start by educating yourself by reading the FAQ's from Slow Food International's website. Slow Food is actually a non-profit organization, so of course, you can make monetary donations to the cause. You can also quite literally "sign up" and become a member. Paid membership will bring you together with other aspiring as well as seasoned foodies, help you advocate on a local and national level, and educate you on the movement as well as keep you in the loop with the food movement. Oh, and as far as those buzzwords, the Slow Food Organization was kind enough to compile "The ABC's of Slow Food" to fill in the gaps in your gastro-knowledge. By becoming a member, you will have meetups with other members and become part of a local community.