One of the things I love to do when I travel is to eat local. And I’d gladly give up a chance to visit a famous tourist spot in favour of a local produce market. Nothing thrills me more than the sight of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers.
For me, beauty comes, first and foremost, from within, and I strongly believe in the maxim: ‘You are what you eat’. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cosmetics and beauty rituals, but I’ve given up quantity and complexity in favour of a few, good quality products that smell great, and give me a mindful, immersive experience of beauty. It’s about coming back to myself, getting in touch with my body and skin, with fragrances evoking memories that bring back warm feelings.
So, for me, traveling to France was a delight on multiple counts and truly a treat for all my senses! First stop was Paris, where I got to visit wonderful restaurants that served me plant based delicacies of the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. When you eat mindfully, savouring every bite, even a slice of tomato can explode in your mouth with a rainbow of flavours and aromas! The more your food is processed or has to travel, and the more jaded your palate becomes, the more hyper-seasoning and bombardment of flavours it takes to incite a response. We develop higher and higher thresholds and subtle flavours just get lost on us, unfortunately. If you eat fresh, keep your palate clean and your mind curious and open, every bite of the simplest of foods can bring you delight.
Next stop: Thenac, a little village, really, where I visited the beautiful Plum Village Monastery. And guess what, there were plum trees everywhere! But even more magical…these were purple leafed plum trees. So the entire tree was a profusion of purple! I dare say I spent less time exploring the village and more looking for ripe plums! These are Mother Earth’s natural vitamin pills and have a wide range of health benefits for the body and skin.
Coming back to Paris I did wonder about the French Paradox – how do the French eat seemingly fatty food and still stay so slim. Scientifically, this is a myth, but I did notice that despite the many more fast food chains that had mushroomed since I visited 17 years previously, there were still many options for slow food, real food and locals took their time savouring their meal. Also, the portions were certainly smaller than at the fast food joints. Even the McDonald’s there had their logo coloured green. Colours like red and yellow invite your brain to eat.
I left with wonderful memories and my big takeaway from being a flâneur (a watcher of people, there) was that if you inculcate a joie de vivre, make happiness or joy of living, a state of mind, then life is an adventure, every minute of the day!
Sandhya Krishnan is a certified wellness and mindfulness coach. She has over 20 combined years of study of philosophy and mindfulness and uses these learnings to help professionals, entrepreneurs, homemakers and young adults find deep purpose, drive, high productivity, contentment and balance in their lives and careers. She has studied and worked in wellness for over 5 years and helps stressed out individuals and anyone looking to better their fitness holistically, sustainably and without fads and pseudoscience.
Sandhya also conducts talks and workshops on resilience building, mindfulness and gimmick free wellness. She has a YouTube channel where she shares her ideas and uses the language of science and behaviourism to help people find their answers. She is also a certified Suicide Prevention First Responder.
Sandhya enjoys reading and dancing, is a rescue diver and a mother of two teenager, two dogs and two cats.