How To Make Your Own Pizza While Improving Your Mental Health?
Spend time making your individualized pizza on your own, with your family, friends, co-workers, associates or whoever you are quarantined with!
Pizza is a cultural phenomenon that can bring people together in a unique way. If you're Italian, Indian, American, Asian, Australian, Spanish, Russian, German, Lebanese, Polish, Ukrainian, South American, etc, pizza is a special food that can unite people, and evoke deep feelings from within. It is a comforting flavorful fun food that can trigger memories from our past, both negatively or positively. Please do not engage in this activity if negative emotions, trauma or allergies are triggered.
If you have fond and pleasant memories about pizza and are not allergic to making it and are physically able to participate, then when you are ready please proceed:
Think back about the last time you had pizza and ask yourself these four questions?
- Who was I with?
- Was I having fun?
- What did the pizza taste like?
- What did the flavor of pizza remind you of?
Bring your family together by scheduling a day to have each other make their own healthy pizza. Doing this exercise alone can be beneficial as well. This eating mindfulness activity may help you get to know what you like and/or dislike.
Before touching any of the ingredients make sure to take proper precautions and wash your hands. Cut up some of your favorite ingredients, veggies, cheeses, silly toppings, and exotic spices. You can separate the ingredients, mix them together, or make one pie with half the side with your favorite flavor and the other half a different style. You can add alternatives to meat, include exotic options such as pineapples, add veggies, onions, extra-cheese, unique international ingredients, etc. Add whatever ingredients you choose to add, try to remember that the healthier the better as in this pandemic boosting our immune system is the key to successfully fighting off the virus if we contract it. There are many gluten-free or vegan options to making pizza. There is controversy about how dairy and cheese can increase mucus and phlegm build-up, so please be mindful of how your body is reacting to dairy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Some researchers believe that cheese and dairy may increase mucus and phlegm build-up so please be conscientious of how much dairy you are consuming.
If you are doing this exercise with your family, you can ask them various questions pertaining to how they like their individual pie, slice and/or bite of the pizza they made or helped make. You can take this opportunity to explore how children feel if they like or dislike the ingredient. You can make this fun and interactive. After each bite of a different style (flavor) of pizza they have tasted, they can speak or communicate in the way they feel comfortable about what it tastes like to them. Everyone has unique taste buds, what tastes good to one child or adult, can taste dramatically different to the next. This is a great time to help promote languages by helping them use their vocabulary. While you are preparing your food take this opportunity to strengthen your vocal cords and sing with your children or own your own. Brush up on your spelling and test your kids on some SAT vocabulary words, helping them prepare for their tests and quizzes in school. Every time they answer the questions correctly they can add another topping until their pies are ready to be baked in the oven.
Also, think about using this opportunity to gage and take note of how your day was by assessing your mood of the day. When adding the items to the pies, you can create faces with the ingredients to represent your mood and/or each of the participants' moods of the day.
Keep in mind that while you are preparing the pies you can also add some physical mini-workouts pre-meal workout as a family or on your own. Do 10 squats in between each topping you add. Then do 5 sets of 25 jumping jacks while waiting for your pizza to be made. You can make your mini-workout as challenging as you would like. If you are learning choreographed dance moves on Tic Tok or other social media outlets that you would like to demonstrate and show the individuals participating in the activity this is a great opportunity to do so. Teach them your latest dance moves, while waiting for your pie to be ready.
Encourage the participants to use multiple languages during this exercise If they are learning Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin, Korean, Lebanese, etc this is a great time to have them practice what they are learning in school. Your kids can teach you and vice versa during this practice. You, your children and family can learn how to count from 1 to 10 in English, Spanish, Japanese and French.
Whether you made your own pizza dough from scratch or bought it pre-made you can start to add the toppings you chose to include into your personal healthy pie. Bake it when you have pre-heated the oven. Scroll towards the bottom of this blog and you will find recipes that are gluten-free and various ways to make your homemade pizza pie.
After the pizza pies have baked and are ready to eat, take a moment to be mindful and smell the aromas that are filling the air and space around you. This is a good pause to take and reward yourself with mindful breathing. Take in all the hard work you did and are now about to taste all those flavors and good intentions you put into making this delicious personalized pie.
If you are with multiple people you can get in a group and ask them various questions. It is best if the group can form a circle starting from the youngest to the eldest. The eldest person in the group goes first. Please be mindful of the members age and try to keep this as age-appropriate as possible. Remember this is not an opportunity to bully, tease or offend anyone during asking questions and giving answers. So please be mindful and empathetic towards the members participating in the activity. Please discontinue this exercise immediately if members of the group are being triggered and feel uncomfortable.
After answering the questions asked, the member whose turn it is participating in the activity can take a bite of their pizza slice, the next person can go after the member either passed or answered their question. A person can choose to pass on answering the questions they don't feel comfortable answering but they are unable to take a bite of their slice.
The winner of this exercise is the last member remaining with the last bite or crumb on their plate. As well, this mindfulness practice will keep you aware of how fast and/or slow you are eating.
If you are engaging in the exercise with kids ranging from various ages, you might want to consider having them watch this video below. Include them in the activity by having them observe if it is age-appropriate for your child to feel as though they are part of the activity although they might not be able to physically participate.
If you have very young toddlers that might enjoy watching a video about pizza while the adults are preparing and mixing the ingredients together to make the dough.
Below are some more links and videos to some healthy pizza options and instructions on how to make your own homemade pizza:
Jamie Oliver's Recipe - Cauliflower Cheese Pizza Pie
Make your own pizza dough
10 ways of making your pizza healthier