Katrine started her online journal My Capsule Kitchen as a reaction to the onslaught of confusing messages about how to be healthy. She craved a simpler, more joyful approach to food – an alternative to guilt inducing approaches to eating that have strict rules and restrictions. Her philosophy is to be healthy and happy and to enjoy eating. Sometimes that means muesli and green juice, sometimes it involves cake and wine.
Could you tell us some background on who you are, and how you got to be doing what you’re doing?
Food has always played a huge part in my life. I love the memories it creates and how it connects you to who you are, where you come from and what you value. But what was once simple has become complicated.
We live in a world with information overload and are often made to feel guilty about the food we eat. The list of what you should add to or cut out of your diet is long. There is no shortage of recipes or advice but often it contradicts itself and not all of it applies to you. It left me confused and frustrated. I grew increasingly tired of trying to stick to other people’s rules of what my healthy diet should look like.
My approach to home cooking leans on the concept of a capsule wardrobe, which is all about owning less, making you feel good about yourself and finding your own style. I believe that finding balance and moderation is personal and needs more than a cookie cutter ‘one size fits all’ solution.
That’s why My Capsule Kitchen is about letting go of things that don’t serve you, creating a space you love cooking in, and recipe collections that are seasonal, balanced, achievable and most importantly uniquely yours. Green smoothies can happily co-exist with chocolate cake! It’s about shopping, cooking and feeding yourself and your family more intentionally, with less stress and more joy.
What does mindful eating mean to you?
Mindful eating means to me a guilt-free and joyful approach to food. Sometimes your circumstances don’t allow you to approach food or home cooking in a way that you know is ‘better’, but nourishment comes in many different forms. Home cooked meals with local and seasonal ingredients are nourishing and so is take away pizza at the end of a long and tiring day when it brings the family together.
Mindful eating for me is to allow yourself to tune into what is good for you, and achievable, right at this minute. And then enjoy that thoroughly without judgement.
Would you share with us one of your favorite simple recipes?
I love rhubarb because it reminds me of the simple and slow days of summer at my aunty’s house who has a hobby farm and garden. Very idyllic. She always came out of the garden with large stalks of rhubarb, ready to make compote.
Per person I use 1 cup milk (hereI used oat milk) and 2 tbs semolina.
Simply combine in a non-stick saucepan and stir as it heats up and thickens. Take it off the heat when it’s still easy to stir, it will thicken further as it cools.
Rhubarb and Blood Orange Compote
5 stalks rhubarb, washed, peeled and chopped into 1 cm pieces
2 small blood oranges, juice only
3 tbs caster sugar
Combine in a saucepan and let simmer for about 20 mins, stirring occasionally.
I made this in advance and have it in a jar in the fridge. It’s nice to potter in the kitchen but it’s also nice not having to stress about all the different elements. Cooking only the semolina in the morning makes for a slower and more mindful breakfast preparation. Then you only have to top it off with the compote and nuts and seeds of your choice.
Nuts and Seeds
Black sesame seeds
Best eaten warm!
Katrine uses our Everyday Deep Bowl for her recipe.
Not to be confused with loneliness, solitude is a constructive solitary state that scientists say is absolutely essential to creativity. Apps and podcasts rob us from otherwise natural moments of solitude and the creative breakthroughs that happen in extended periods of silence.
In his book Imagine, Johan Lehrer shares his research on the link between downtime and problem solving, saying, “While it’s commonly assumed that the best way to solve a difficult problem is to relentlessly focus, this clenched state of mind comes with a hidden cost: it inhibits the sort of creative connections that lead to breakthroughs.”
At Winterwares, we’ve found that setting aside time to be alone in the studio and let the mind run idle is so important to allow creative ideas rise to the surface. Solitude also adds to a sense of overall wellbeing, because — like the body — the mind needs to rest.
So what are some other benefits we can gain from solitude?
Aside from helping us to be more creative, solitude is gives our brain all-important downtime it needs to process all the information we come into contact with throughout our day.
In the Scientific American, Ferris Jabr writes that downtime is not purposeless, it is essential to mental processes that “affirm our identities, develop our understanding of human behaviour and instil an internal code of ethics.”
“We replay conversations we had earlier that day, rewrite our verbal blunders as a way of learning to avoid them in the future.” says Jabr, “We mull over the aspects of our lives with which we are most dissatisfied, searching for solutions. We sink into scenes from childhood and catapult ourselves into different hypothetical futures.”
So how do we find solitude? Here are three simple ways to find more solitude in your day or week;
The first step to finding solitude is to cut off all means of connection with the outer world. An easy before phones and iPads existed. Now, we must allocate times throughout our day to disconnect is. Moments where you’d otherwise be in solitude if your phone wasn’t around are best. For example, at home, before bed, or first thing in the morning. As much as we love podcasts and audiobooks, going for a walk without an iPhone is the perfect tim to let the mind wander free.
Get some vitamin ‘N’
Vitamin ‘N’ is finding time to be in nature. It’s vital for our mental health and a great place to find solitude.
Other ideas include;
- Enjoy a cup of tea alone outside in the morning before the house wakes up
- Meditate outside — you can keep your eyes open or closed
- Walking meditation
- People-watching in the park
- Watching a sunset or a sunrise at least once a week
- Keep a notebook nearby
In her TED Talk Your Elusive Creative Genius, Elizabeth Gilbert shares an anecdote about Tom Waits who’s ideas would come to him at the most ‘inconvenient times.’ Not coincidentally, these were moments of solitude; while driving a car, in his case. Famously Waits says, ‘can you not see that I’m driving? If you’re serious about wanting to exist then I spend eight hours a day in the studio. You’re welcome to come and visit me when I’m sitting at my piano. Otherwise, leave me alone and go bother Leonard Cohen.’ If only Tom Waits knew the connection between solitude and creativity, he’d bring a notebook with him.
While your mind is in idle downtime, you will likely have creative breakthroughs, or questions come to mind, but resist the urge to Google them! How often have you innocently opened your phone to check one thing, only to spend 15 plus minutes opening apps, scrolling Instagram or the news? This is why keeping an unplugged paper notebook nearby can be handy to jot down notes and ideas to follow up on later.
A few other bonus ideas;
- Tag team an hour of alone time with your spouse if you have kids
- Have a bath, but don’t bring any devices, books, or notepads with you
- Read a book
- Learn to draw or play an instrument or any other solo hobby you can think of
- Turn music off — as much as we love music, it’s great to give your mind a break
Feeling fulfilled comes first with gratitude. Having everything would feel like sweet nothing without it. Winterwares is a place that we try to practice gratitude every day and it fills the space and the people in it with more calm, peace and joy. From deepening relationships, our sense of self and even our sleep — practicing gratitude also has endless benefits backed by science.
Studies have discovered the gratification we receive from soothing behaviours, like eating sugary foods, are less sustaining than practicing gratitude. “Gratitude is something that leads to much more sustainable forms of happiness, because it’s not based on that immediate gratification; it’s a frame of mind,” says Emma Emma Seppälä, Happiness researcher at Stanford and Yale and author of The Happiness Track. Other studies have shown that gratitude leads to a significant improvement in happiness in people suffering from depression.
“If there were a drug that did that, whoever patented that drug would be rich. Gratitude is very powerful.”— cognitive scientist, Susan Peirce Thompson
Here are five simple and actionable ideas, to experience the benefits of gratitude first-hand;
Keep a gratitude journal
There’s nothing more uplifting when you’re feeling down then flicking back through the pages of a gratitude journal. One study at the University of Minnesota discovered that the stress levels of their participants greatly reduced after writing down all the good things that happened during the day before bed. Keep a journal by your bedside and simply write three things you’re grateful for morning and night.
Thank one person every day
Whether it’s the guy who served your morning coffee, or your friend for simply being your friend. This practice is even more potent when we make an effort to really feel our sentiment as we say it. Making a habit of thanking the people around us is said to develop more new friendships, enhance existing relationships and our feelings towards the people in our lives. The more we practice, the easier it is to feel gratitude well up inside each time we say thank you, instead of simply saying the words.
Give thanks before each meal
If we contemplate long enough on how the food we eat grows, along with all the processes that bought it from farm to plate, it leaves a lot to be grateful for. From the flavours and healing properties of the food we eat, to the people that worked hard to make sure we can easily access anything we need from the grocery store. Taking a moment to be grateful for these things before each meal is an effective reminder to make sure we continually practice gratitude throughout the day.
Oat and chia porridge with berry chia jam, coconut yoghurt & strawberries with a little maple syrup, made by Jess Ettridge of @mindful_moose served in our speckled eggshell everyday bowl.
Write down your moments of joy throughout the day
Maintaining a grateful attitude is habitual, so it can be easy to forget in the early stages of forming the habit. During days or weeks when the world seems grey, it can feel harder to recall all the good things. Keeping a journal to record these moments can help us remember the blissful times, particularly on those days where we need a bit of help. Intentionally being grateful also has a compound affect, leading to more positive experiences and more things to feel grateful for.
Wear a reminder
They say it takes 30 days for a new neural pathway to form in our minds and fire long enough that it becomes second nature. During that time, it takes special effort to solidify. Wearing a symbolic piece of jewellery, or doing something novel like painting one fingernail blue can act as a reminder while we’re in the process of making the habit.
Mindfulness is fast becoming the antidote to stress for modern society and there’s many ways to practice it, from meditation, walking and even eating mindfully. Author Don Gerard shares a guide to eating mindfully through his book One Bowl, a concept intended to make people more aware of the food we eat, how and what we eat. The idea is to use a single bowl to eat all your meals for a period of time.
Buddha Bowls have become a popular menu item at healthy cafes in recent years, but the name was no accident. It’s a reference to a form of mindful eating called called Ōryōki, which was practiced in temples by Zen Buddhist monks. Similar to a Japanese tea ceremony, the multi sized lacquered wood bowls come wrapped in a cloth with various utensils, including a wiping cloth and chopsticks. They make a ceremony of eating this way, making sure to practice mindful presence and gratitude in the process.
Why eat mindfully?
With so many things to distract ourselves and multi-task with (hello Netflix and Instagram), doing one thing at a time has become more important than ever. Even if you meditate early in the morning, your good work can quickly unravel after eating breakfast, lunch or dinner while intermittently staring at a phone screen.
Fragmented attention deprives the brain of all-important downtime, where we can fully switch off our minds and process the day. Scientists are calling it cerebral congestion and have found it reduces our ability to innovate and be productive. Eating is an opportunity to give ourselves the downtime we need to remain stress free and industrious.
How to practice Ōryōki at home
Practicing Ōryōki at home is simple and doesn’t require a formal ceremony like the Zen Buddhist do (unless you want to). Simply choose one bowl from which to eat when you’re at home for a period of time. It could be 30 days, or three years depending on how much you like it. It helps to have a beautiful ceramic handmade bowl that you love to eat from. Make an association with the bowl as your time for mindfulness. The key to practicing Ōryōki is in the name itself, which consists of three Sino-Japanese characters below;
応 ō represents your response to the gift of your food — a cue to reflect on your foods journey from farm to plate and to focus on tasting every bite (not just the first few).
量 ryō denotes the measure or amount received — imagine your empty bowl is the size of your hungry stomach and fill it to the level that you need to feel satisfied, eating just enough, but not too much. This helps you to become a more intuitive eater and being more in tune with how hungry you truly are and what foods you need on a particular day.
器 ki symbolises the bowl itself — whether we’re eating at our desk, or stress-eating through a meal, rushing to eat is common. ‘Ki’ encourages us to take time with our food, treating the act of eating as a ritual, rather than a chore. Notice the temperature and feel of the bowl in your hand and the aroma of the food. Having one bowl also gives a singular point to focus your attention. Make sure not to multitask and do one thing at a time.
A few of the surprising benefits of mindfulness:
- Reduced stress and depressive symptoms
- Boost in memory and focus
- Better relationships
- Less emotional reactivity
- Increased energy
- Improved general health
Things to note
This is a practice and at first you might feel like rushing through it. It’s important not to judge yourself when you feel like this, it’s all a practice. Start with one meal a day until the practice becomes more effortless and grounding for you.
People often describe Winterwares as a tranquil place; one they want to linger in and stay for a cup of tea. Creating a relaxing and beautiful space is easy; it only takes a few intentional adjustments to completely transform how you feel, work, and live. Here are 10 ideas we use for creating a calm space to recharge in:
Indoor plants have been found to benefit our emotional and physical life. They lower blood pressure, removing toxins from the air and improve our general feeling of wellbeing. Succulents are a low maintenance option and look beautiful in any space from the bathroom, bedroom, courtyard, or studio.
Introducing natural light into the room improves our mood and reduces energy consumption. It looks beautiful, as the sun pours in from the skylight at Winterwares. If you don’t have a skylight, swapping heavy fabrics for sheer white curtains lets the perfect amount of light in.
The five elements
In Fung Shui philosophy, the universe is made up of five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Incorporating organic materials into a space has a calming effect, especially when compared to clinical and man-made interiors. Candles, wooden furniture, a vase of flowers, pot plants, and metal ornaments, are all examples of this concept that help to balance and improve any space.
Diffusers with a gentle mist or a candle scented with oils, do more than simply smell good. Lavender and rose geranium are two scents that are proven to calm the nervous system. The smell of eucalyptus from our Woodland Candle nearly always burns in the studio. It helps to clear the air and add to the calming atmosphere.
While there’s a place for collecting cherished items — too much hoarding can create a feeling of chaos. Keeping a space minimal, helps to keep the atmosphere easy-going. Minimalism can be achieved in a space with clean lines and a consistent colour palette, but be careful to incorporate warm light, warm neutrals and cosy textures to avoid it looking too clinical.
In the same vein as above, the Winterwares studio was designed intentionally with neutral tones, to give the space a relaxed feeling. We intentionally leave out colours that are over stimulating like bright reds or yellows. Sometimes, it’s what we leave out that has the greatest impact. The colours at Winterwares mostly white and grey, with the exception of some pastels and greenery. Light blue, white, and cream are examples of colours that are proven to calm the mind.
A clean space
It’s that age-old cliché that stands true; a clean space equals a clear mind. The popular book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ is a great manifesto for this.
The Danish word ‘hygge’ describes the quality of cosiness and wellbeing that can be intentionally created in a space, or occur spontaneously. There’s many ways to create hygge. Our favourite is with cups of hot tea throughout the day and a candle burning. For our workshop, we create hygge with beautiful textures; like linen napkins during lunch. We also find it spontaneously with the feeling of clay between our hands. This wonderful book by Meik Wiking describes the word beautifully and includes endless suggestions for creating more ‘hygge’ moments in everyday life.
Music is a powerful tool and it can create chaos or calm. Choosing music deliberately is a wonderful way to set the pace and mood in the studio. If we’re lagging a little energy, upbeat instrumental music from classical to contemporary is a great mood booster. The long-standing staple though has got to be old-world jazz like Ella Fitzgerald and a little bit of blues.
No matter how calm a space is, it’s useless unless we’re peaceful on the inside too. During workshops or workdays, we encourage the practice of slowing down and bringing mindful awareness to the moment. On days where thoughts won’t stop racing, a few deep breaths, some music and a conversation are usually enough to come back to the moment.