The waiter looks at us confused, as always. Again we need to explain that we share every plate between the two of us. Straight to the point, we are not big fans of the ”Joey doesn’t share food” mindset and see only positive outcomes when you do share. It allows you to taste and enjoy multiple dishes, but even more importantly, it becomes a shared experience that creates a connection between the eaters.

In Cyprus they know the Meze through and through and there is no surprise or confusion even if we share something else. We usually even get an (unnecessary) extra set of plates to make it easier to share.

The Cypriot Meze is a beautiful thing and in our weeks of travel we have seen our fair share of them. Our own first experience was an unexpected surprise on our second day in Cyprus. In broken English the cook asked us if we wanted to eat. Well, we were in their restaurant for a reason. Beside it being one of the few places to eat around the small village, all local residents highly recommended the place. The next question was: ”Good food? Full?” We nodded and she disappeared.

This time it was our turn to be confused. Unsure if the woman had understood what we wanted we waited, expecting her to return with a menu of some sort. Empty plates were brought to the table, indicating that there was food on the way. Shortly after a young waitress came with three small plates with different dishes. Both thinking that we were brought a starter, we dug in. Were we wrong! Soon more plates came in. And more and more. The entire six seat table was filled for just the two of us sharing.
As we ate our way through a large group came in, cyclists we heard later. They seemed to know what to expect. Plate after plate came to the table as they shared and laughed. No menu was ever seen. But even more beautiful: the host joined their table, where the cook joined ours.
Talking about food suddenly became as easy as talking about the weather. Everyone ate the same, tasted the same. With this simple example we were shown yet again how easy it is to connect with one another over a shared experience.

This of course is true for every shared experience. All teambuilding works for a large part on this simple principle. As long as it’s new or different than usual, it’s enough to connect over. It doesn’t matter if you just met someone or have been married for a hundred years, every new shared experience is an opportunity to (re)connect.

Sharing and tasting the same food, doing a yoga practice together or even partner yoga with actual physical contact may be some of the most pleasant and easiest ways to make such a connection. Mostly because all these things bring forth an important second aspect: being in the moment. Almost every moment of the day we are working on either our future or our past. Therefore it’s easy to meet with someone but not connect, even if you see each other every single day. In order to connect both minds need to arrive in the present moment.

In Dutch restaurants it’s simple to take the easy route and order a separate plate for each of you. Perhaps taking a small bite from the other’s plate to “taste” it. But many people are afraid the other will empty “their” plate and protect it as if their lives depended on it. Keeping their experiences separate. I wonder if this is why we spot many people in restaurants staring at their phones while sharing their table with another person. They are together, yet not connected.

Maybe next time when you go out with a friend, date, spouse, sibling or parent, choose your plates together (this is where the connecting starts) and choose dishes you both like. When the waiter asks you where to place the plates tell them to “just put it down. We’re sharing.” and watch the confusion. Try switching the plates around as you’re eating and discuss the set of flavours. Or bring the experience to your own kitchen and try out new recipes together (here are some of our own surprising recipes!). Not only will you have tasted more at the end of the evening, most likely you will have connected better with the person you’ve been eating with.

About Primal Beings:

Mark is a passionate cook through and through with great affection for using the freshest produce. He studied Western science and Eastern philosophy, in relation to the effect food has on the physical and emotional systems, and brought these together in the kitchen. Mark is a grounded nutrition specialist, personal coach and trainer.

Kimi is a well traveled woman in search of flavors and inspiration while learning about cultures, customs, and mindfulness. Always sharing knowledge from her own experiences in different corners of the world. She is a movement artist with a big appetite for not only knowledge and personal growth, but also for what Mark conjures up in his kitchen.

Together we are the Heart and Mind of Primal Beings.

Our Mission is to bring people closer in connection to themselves through movement, nutrition, and relaxation. These are the three pillars of Primal Beings.

Educating others to become more aware of our subconscious decisions to subsequently improve the quality and understanding of life.

Years ago a famous violin player took his time and played an hour in the metro station. He earned the occasional pound, mostly from children. That same evening he performed for a sold out theatre, where people had booked seats long in advance and paid more for a single seat then he made in the entire hour at the station. This simple experiment shows how easy it is to miss the beauty of life, the beauty of art, when in a rush. We could all miss that world famous violinist if we don’t pay attention. Missing out on the simple extraordinary things in life by being to busy or not paying attention. The same applies to food. We can all miss out on the taste of the food on our plate, an art painted with flavours, by being busy with being busy. 

I’m pondering about this as we are 35000 ft. up in the air. The cabin crew comes by with the food trolley and even though I would like to eat a bit I’m quite sure the taste will be near to tasteless. At this altitude it is close to impossible to taste the subtle nuances of good food. Looking around it is obvious that most passengers aren’t aware of this. Big chunks of chips are being shoved in, followed by more before the first bite was even swallowed. I wonder how many people in the cabin eat out of boredom, trying to kill time on this short flight. As a passionate foodie I find this a huge waste. When not for survival and optimizing health, taste is all that matters. And if you do it right (and have the luxury), you can combine both. 

Our body is made to savour tastes to distinguish between good and bad tastes and help us not only enjoy life but also to find the food our body craves for. Studies show that the cravings of pregnant women are largely based on the needs of the foetus. And although it is harder to measure we also know that every taste in our body affects us. 

Sweetness for example makes us instantly happy the moment it touches the tongue. Suddenly the stereo typical break-up ice cream makes sense. When so vulnerable our body craves the endorphins that make you feel loved and/or save. Ice cream with it’s sweet taste and usually connected to good memories gives most people just that. 

So we can see how it works in both ways. Our eating behaviour is triggered by our emotions (eating out of boredom for example) just as our emotions are triggered by eating specific flavours (feeling loved because of sweet food AKA comfort food). Not all cravings are based on nutritional needs, this is especially the case in first world countries. We usually don’t tend to eat because it is (immediately) necessary. We really don’t need that ice cream, chips, chocolate, those delicious olives from the market or another piece of extra old cheese. Without a doubt we often want it and I’m the last person to stop you from indulging yourself in all the goodness life has to offer. I would however like to invite you to do so with attention and without haste. Take your time and allow the flavours to settle on your tongue. Let the experience of eating be part of your single focussed meditation and let your meal bring you on a colourful and rich journey. 

“The Coleslaw was a surprise in taste and structure. I imagined myself in a forest, strolling around barefoot. In abundance of flavours to smell, taste, discover and experience. Soft, hard, fine, warm, spicy, creamy, fresh, crispy to finally end the stroll through the forest by laying down on the grass (AKA couch) to reminisce.

The above is a response to one of our recipes. A beautiful example of someone enjoying the colourful and rich journey one can have by slowing down to enjoy what is given at that moment. In this case, a coleslaw salad.

In Japan there are many unwritten rules and etiquettes that make that most people are naturally more mindful with their actions and develop healthier habits. One example that fits into todays story is that it is a no go to walk and eat. And when it’s up to the older generations, you shouldn’t even stand. Sit down and eat with attention. Personally I like to believe that this is also reflected back in their dishes as there are often many small bowls on the table for one meal that separates all different kinds of dishes and products, keeping everything as pure as possible so that flavors won’t mix and each and every individual taste can be explored and acknowledged. The elegance and detail that is also reflected in the dishes is a form of mindfulness by itself.

To make a long story short and come to a conclusion for this first blog: practice mindful eating by paying more attention to your eating habits. Not necessarily what you eat, but how and when you eat. Food is an incredibly powerful tool to optimize our well-being both physically and mentally. Becoming aware of our eating habits is step one to a deeper understanding and, if wanted, a transformation. 

For those who are interested to learn more about their own relationship with eating and the value of flavors are welcome to join the PrimalBeings course ‘(sub)conscious eating’. The first course starts on Monday evening 2nd of April. We are looking forward to working with you!

About Primal Beings:

Mark is a passionate cook through and through with great affection for using the freshest produce. He studied Western science and Eastern philosophy, in relation to the effect food has on the physical and emotional systems, and brought these together in the kitchen. Mark is a grounded nutrition specialist, personal coach and trainer.

Kimi is a well traveled woman in search of flavors and inspiration while learning about cultures, customs, and mindfulness. Always sharing knowledge from her own experiences in different corners of the world. She is a movement artist with a big appetite for not only knowledge and personal growth, but also for what Mark conjures up in his kitchen.

Together we are the Heart and Mind of Primal Beings. 

Our Mission is to bring people closer in connection to themselves through movement, nutrition, and relaxation. These are the three pillars of Primal Beings.

Educating others to become more aware of our subconscious decisions to subsequently improve the quality and understanding of life. 

(note from the editor)

A couple of days ago we asked our dear Balanzs yogi’s to give us feedback. What should we continue doing? Where can we still improve? The person with the best idea or suggestion for improvement could win a free 10-lessoncard worth €105,-. We received so many great suggestions and we are really grateful for all of you that brainstormed with us to make Balanzs even better. Meet Celine, the lucky winner of our contest. She shares the feedback she gave us, her view on Balanzs and on yoga in general.

“First of all thank you for the gift card, I was very very happy when I received that email. But let’s go back to how it started. I became interested in Yoga a few years ago, when I was still in high school and since I was still living in another city I would just practice at home with Youtube. Then I moved to the Hague and I realized I really needed something to balance out my study and all the time I spend behind the computer. I found Balanzs online and started taking classes.
Back then (2 years ago) I was quite happy with it but somehow my life was very busy at that time which is why I stopped up until this spring. Since then I follow classes on a more or less regular basis and cannot even think about my current super busy study without the great yoga classes. Overall I feel more energized and calmer at the same time and even have the urge to go at least 4 or 5 times a week.

What I really like about Balanzs and what I think makes it quite unique is the broad variety of classes, teachers and styles. Currently I am still trying out different ones and am surprised every time. It is quite nice that there are so many classes each day, so even as a full-time student I can attend classes at almost any time of the day and fit it into my schedule. Last week I followed the Barre, Hot Yoga, Yin Yoga, Vinyasa flow and Balanzs Fusion for example. I don’t have so much of routine yet and try to just find out every day what would work for me best. And in 99{aa9bba2555f33912aac1678d73b62ff6fe13e61f0fff9507c35bf83da347724e} of the cases there is a class that fits me at that current moment. For example yesterday I had a bit of a cold and felt quite stiff, so I went to a yin class and feel much better today.

Since I live in the Hague I tried out both Balanzs studios and am quite happy with the calming atmosphere of both of them. There is not so much of a difference for me, since both have its advantages. I like how Balanzs combines a very physical practice with a spiritual one and how that makes me actually feel a lot better in my daily life outside of yoga.
When there was the email then to win a 10 lessons card by sending in proposals for the studio I thought it was a great opportunity to give my feedback.

Obviously I was very happy with Balanzs before so my ideas where just minor propositions of what I think might be nice to experience at Balanzs and how all different people can connect on other levels. One was for example to have some small events, where people that go to Balanzs can meet and have inspiring conversations and simply a good time. Another idea was for example to have more theoretical classes about the ideas and philosophy behind yoga.
So with the 10 lessons card I plan to deepen my practice and to try out even more classes than the ones I currently take. I am excited to continue!”