The Illusion of Convenience.

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“Anything that gets that hot without fire is from the devil.”

~Ellen Degeneres, on microwaves

I have a big bone to pick with convenience.

It always sounds so great on the surface: something quick, and immediate, with less effort, and perhaps the biggest allure of all…time saving.

This notion that quicker, faster and easier is a positive—and even a luxury tends to hit especially hard in the realm of eating. Whether it’s fast-food, microwaves, prepackaged meals, or even a juice bar, its no feat to be sucked into it all.

But you know, its funny: I have few fond memories of meals at drive-thrus, no beautiful times spent standing and devouring a meal in a rush—I can count on a fingerless hand the number of times I’ve said “Dang, now that microwave makes for a meal to remember!”

Somehow, even that juice bar juice goes down faster when I’m not the one who’s washing the veggies and the juicer.

It’s not just about the freakiness of microwaves.

It’s not even about the quality of fast-food, so much as it is about the relationship we have with our food, and what we miss out on when we choose what seems “convenient” in the moment.

What is the cost of convenience? Do we really save time? Perhaps 30 seconds in a microwave seems like quite the payoff—driving up to a restaurant certainly saves a few minutes. But in that time that we don’t spend preparing, savoring and appreciating a meal…we miss much more.

We miss the opportunity to put our own energy into our food, we skip the pilgrimage: you know the journey that makes it all worthwhile—

its the preparation and buildup that makes a meal so satisfying, and not just for the stomach.

When we are rushed and racing—”feeding” more than “eating”, we find ourselves still feeling inherently empty when the food is gone. Is it perhaps that we are hungry for more?

I think we are:  hungry for the sacredness that is nourishing the body, hungry for appreciating and actually tasting our food and hungry for giving ourselves the moments to savor, rest and digest.

We may save a few minutes nuking (and nutritionally draining) our food, but it’s so ironic—

we think we are saving time, by taking time away from our wellness and nourishing our bodies.

…but if we don’t have time to nourish and care for ourselves, well, I don’t know what on earth we do have time for…because this body is ours for the whole run, and it takes dang good care of us.

Do you realize you can dissolve nails in Coca Cola? But somehow, this amazing machine can bear to pass it. Lets give it some respect, yeah?

We have time. I know we can get rushed, I know there are “those days”, but say it with me now…we have time.

Convenience can seem like a time saver, but, its really just an exchange for something else.

Choosing to avoid it when you are able means trading immediate-gratification for delayed, more fulfilling and well-earned satisfaction: and that feels awesome.

Don’t let the infamous them fool you: we have time…if it is meaningful to us. If we are willing to commit, we will be rewarded.

There are all sorts of meals that can be handmade and easily prepared for lunch, even in an office. And it doesn’t have to be all salads! The options are endless, especially with a little George Forman (only an 18 dollar investment!); I leave mine at the office.

I’m talkin’ grilled veggie wraps, black bean quinoa burgers…and so much more (I’ll share some recipes this week!) On average, I find myself taking about 5-10 minutes to make my lunch in the morning, and 4 minutes to make it extra primo on the grill come lunch.

It just feels better, tastes better…and dare I say it: is better.

Eating at work, rather than leaving for food (another “convenience”) also saves time, and allows for a little thing I call mindful munchin’, rejuvenation and enjoyment on that precious hour (lunch hour reading and meditations, anyone?)

Renée

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