Who Is a Mindful Diner?
Many of us are concerned with the food we eat. We pay attention to calorie count, carbs, and fats. We may choose a primarily or wholly plant-based diet. We are concerned about the source of our food – is it local? GMO-free? Organic? Artisinal? Free-Range? Gluten-free? Whole-grain? Vegan? Sustainable? Eating out can be a challenge. Not for us the way of the Golden Arches, or even the Traditional Chain-brand Family Restaurant with their oversized portions, and high fat and salt content.
You don’t even have to be in one of the above-mentioned categories to want to eat “mindfully” – enjoying meals that are prepared from scratch, not re-heated from a flash-frozen assembly line of commercial food preparation. We may want to eat “whole food” – slowly made with love by human hands. Some meals may be considered more “health-conscious” than others, but for some of us, a properly prepared bacon cheeseburger is the perfect comfort food – local beef, whole-grain bun, home-style artisanal condiments, Bothwell cheese….
Are you a “mindful diner?” Whether vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, omnivorous, carnivorous, cheese-loving, bacon-frying or macrobiotic? Do you care about the food you eat?
Do you eat out? The Aquarian would like to invite you to contribute to The Mindful Diner column. This is NOT a restaurant review column in the traditional sense. Your meal will not be paid for by either The Aquarian or “comped” by the venue. We want a thoughtful, conscious evaluation of Winnipeg’s eating places – whether they are a bistro, restaurant, café, lunch-counter, take-out joint, or fine dining experience.
Here is the outline, as each article needs to be consistent:
- The type of cuisine – Canadian? Chinese? Asian? Italian? Bistro-fare? Comfort food? Tapas? Spanish? What’s the influence?
- Are there easily identified vegan options? (no dairy, no honey, no meat of any kind)
- Are there easily identified vegetarian options?
- What ingredients are locally sourced? Organic? Fair Trade? Are these identifiable or do you have to ask to find out?
- What is the atmosphere? Formal? Casual? Trendy? Urban chic?
- Family-friendly – kids welcome? Made comfortable? Kids menu?
- How is the service?
- Do you feel you get good value for your meal investment (time and money)
- Commentary – Here’s where you can say what you really think! (in 200 words or less)
As the introduction to the column states:
Today’s hectic pace means that we are eating out more often. For those of us who make food choices based on personal ethics, politics, or health reasons, eating out can be full of conflicts. Those of us who want to eat healthfully or mindfully for the most part simply want to enjoy our meal knowing we can make safe food choices without making a fuss or playing 20 questions with the staff and annoying our fellow diners.
To make the best choice they can, the Mindful Diner wants to know as much as they can before they pick their restaurant, and checks out the web and social media. They want to read a menu, understand their options, make their choices and enjoy their meal, often with friends. They might enjoy a cocktail, a nice glass of wine, and maybe even a decadent dessert – especially if the chocolate is fair trade!
Contribute to the mindfulness of Winnipeg’s food-loving community. Next time you eat out, think about your meal as a Mindful Diner. Send us your thoughts – we can help massage them into a proper submission. And take some pictures! You’ll get to see your name in print (if you want) and have the satisfaction of helping other Winnipegers find restaurants that meet their Mindful Dining requirements.