Mindful Lunch at Dream Impact Innovation Lab

Val | 4th March 2024 | 4min read

Having joined the Dream Impact Membership, Future Green is now connected to a whole host of social enterprises throughout Hong Kong with a common purpose-driven mission and we’re excited to join a plethora of industry events!

One of which is a recent get together for a mindful lunch with nutritionist Melisa Fu O’Connor, founder and CEO of lucid, a company specialised in understanding the link between genetics and nutrition. 

Melisa laid down the ground rules

But wait, you might ask yourself: mindfulness and sustainability? How does that relate? Well, as we always say at Future Green, sustainability is not only about carbon emissions but it’s also about promoting social sustainability and health. 

We all have this in common. We all eat three times a day and we are all directly impacted by what we eat: physically – as our framework area ‘Ensure Access to Nutrition’ highlights – but also, as Melisa reminds us, emotionally.  

On top of this, we are in Hong Kong, a city where time is money and efficiency is a guiding principle for all. It’s not rare to see restaurants where the time limit for eating is 30 minutes, a far cry from a relaxing break! In this hustle and bustle, do we actually take time to enjoy our food? or do we even take the time to think about it? Most of us would say they just eat by necessity and that their lunch break is just an hour between stressful and rushed meetings. 

Keeping all of this in mind, how does a mindful lunch go? 

Melisa laid the ground rules as soon as we sat. 

Melisa introducing the mindful lunch

First, no phones were allowed to prevent all distractions. Our sole focus was what was on the plate in front of us. That made sense.

Secondly, no chatting is allowed. 

Third, no forks, knives or chopsticks are allowed. Why? Melisa reminds us that we are initially supposed to eat with our hands in our ‘natural state’. We also tend to eat bigger portions of food with utensils. 

The food was served.

A wide and colourful array of different plant-based organic food generously cooked by Food Wisdom, another fellow social enterprise. From crunchy kale and cauliflower with tangy and sour ranch-style sauce, organic bell pepper and carrots, slightly tart beetroots and different nuts and seeds for this toasty smoked flavour, most of us had the reflex to start eating fast. 

Ready to indulge in a nutritious and plant-based lunch

Melisa guided us through an almost meditative state to ‘reconnect’ with our food taking the time to masticate and sense all the flavour of each bite. For most of us, it’s almost muscle memory to swallow our food barely masticating and preparing our next mouthful before even we finish the first, so it was a bit unnerving for us to eat so slowly!

Taking the time to be more conscious about our food

But it did prove its worth, not only do you take time to enjoy all the complexities and differences in flavours, but you also take time to think about the people behind the food as Melisa reminded us.

Then, when most of us only had a few bites, Melisa stopped us and just said: “Now you have 2 minutes to finish your plate”. We all stared at each other and panic took over the room as everyone tried to gobble down as much food as they could. Yes, this felt a bit ridiculous and we did feel like barn animals but what did Melisa try to tell us here? 

After the storm

We do need to rethink our often-hectic relationship with food and, when we have time, try to consciously savour what we eat. As advocates for sustainable health, let’s incarnate this mindfulness in our routines.

Check out Melisa’s amazing work here




Are you curious about your food’s impact?