[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I have just sat down after another busy day. I am hungry to eat and hungry to write this article in equal measures, as the concept has been swimming around my mind for some time.

As I settle myself into my orangey, my phone is ringing so I put it on silent. Then it buzzes, this is also distracting so I take it off the vibrate mode. Then I see notifications pop up on the lock screen, so I place my mobile face down to try to ignore it. Really I should just turn it off… but what if someone wants to get it touch? What if I miss something? So I leave it on… just in case.

We are becoming rapidly conditioned by our smart devices, believing that we need them to get by. They have become an extension of ourselves. This isn’t news per say and many people more than likely don’t have a problem with it, it has becomes the norm; the modern way.

I have my phone synced to my laptop. The techies say it is convenient, but I wonder, convenient for who? By syncing all my gadgets to the iCloud, I am now even more accessible and can be reached via my Mac laptop in addition to my phone.

As I write this I am snacking as I didn’t have time to eat a proper lunch. A familiar story, right? You have been there – life is busy, people are busy – but what are we all busy doing? Surely some time out to eat a proper meal on a daily basis should be a prerequisite of existence and life, a normal thing to be able to do.

We are becoming more fast paced, not allowing ourselves proper time to enjoy our meals. The art of eating is lost and the art of conversation has gone. Social interaction has been replaced to a greater degree, with social media. A couple of days ago, I was sitting in a café eating while replying to messages, watching YouTube clips and checking Facebook (although I have deleted the app off my phone which was liberating). I then lifted my head up from the phone and looked around the restaurant. I saw something extraordinary; people weren’t talking to each other. I was on my own but the majority of the customers were with other friends, colleagues, families and loved ones. But they weren’t really ‘with’ them, they were massively distracted by their smart devise of choice.

It astounds me how this is now considered standard practice and is universally-accepted behaviour. You may be reading this thinking I have aged a generation, and that perhaps it is an old school way of thinking, but I feel deep down that it is morally wrong to go to a restaurant with others and then sit looking at a phone.

When we eat well, endorphins are released which give the feel-good factor. We release enzymes which help to break the food down so we can digest and absorb it correctly for optimum nutrition. When we become distracted, we lose some of the ability to break down food correctly. The same thing can happen if we read something alarming or disturbing while eating, this stressor can impact on healthy eating processes.

How about we set ourselves the challenge of not ‘tweeting while we are

eating’ and taking a break from our smart devices during meals? We could try this a few times per week to begins with, and work up to longer periods of time. Let’s become more mindful about what and how we are dining, and enjoy time just eating or interacting with our fellow man/woman.

Why not use my Malaysian curry recipe as an exercise? Buy the ingredients, cook the dish and eat every last bite, being grateful for and mindful of the experience. Together we can regain control and not let social media and technology interfere with the fundamental basis of our lives, and that is to eat and eat well, and to get the best from our food.

Good luck!


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‘Mindful’ Malaysian satay curry

(serves 2)



  • 4 tbsp peanut butter (I use Whole Earth)
  • 400ml tin of coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 50g coconut creamed block
  • A few splashes of tamari sauce (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp Stevia
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Selection of vegetables (I use sweet potato, spinach and red pepper)
  • Handful whole cashew nuts
  • Handful coriander
  • Salt and pepper

Curry paste ingredients

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1-2 birds eye green chillies (depending how hot you like it)
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • A thumb size of ginger
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil


  1. To make the curry paste, add all the dry ingredients together and fry them in a teaspoon of coconut oil for five minutes until they start to caramelise. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Put the mixture into a food processor, and add the sesame oil and tamarind paste. Mix together to create a basic paste.
  3. Next get a large pot and stir in the peanut butter, coconut milk, Stevia, lime, water, coconut creamed block and the curry paste mixture.
  4. Place on a medium-low heat and add the vegetables. Cover and simmer until the vegetables have softened slightly.
  5. Meanwhile make a rice of your choice.
  6. Grill the cashew nuts for a few minutes until golden, chop up the coriander and garnish the dish with nuts and coriander before serving.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Sal Hanvey is a local complementary therapist based in Cultra, Holywood.
You can find her on facebook https://www.facebook.com/naturalhealthni/

Or contact her:
Natural Health NI
07801 476048

Sal Hanvey