Mindfulness – paying attention to what you are doing, while you are doing it
When it comes to healthy eating, there is so much focus on WHAT to eat. Unfortunately, there is a lot less discussion on HOW to eat. The busier we get, the less connected we are from our food…the very thing that provides us the nutrients we need in order to survive.
Mindful eating is a simple practice to help you slow down, gain more awareness, improve body listening, and give gratitude to the food that fuels you. Mindful eating is eating…and not doing anything else. Yes, it’s really that simple! That means not eating with the tv on, or scrolling social media, or typing up a report for your boss, or snacking while driving, or “clean up eating” off of your kids plates. You deserve more than just left over grilled cheese crusts! Eating more intentionally helps us pay closer attention to how our bodies respond to the food that we eat. We are able to gather helpful information about if the foods we are eating actually agree with your bodies.
Here are some suggestions to slow down and practice mindful eating:
1) Commit to eating on only ceramic plates and using real utensils when you can.
Take the time to empty to-go meals onto real plates and bowl, pour drinks out of plastic cups and into glass containers, and swap plastic cutlery for the real stuff. Not only do you then have more control of your portion sizes, but it also makes your meal feel more home cooked and nourishing.
2) Use all your senses when you eat to experience your food.
Notice the color and shape of what you are about to eat. Sense the temperature. Smell the flavors. Feel the textures on your tongue. Taste the spices. How is your eating experience different when you slow down and notice these things?
3) Take a moment of gratitude before each meal.
You could call it a prayer, or just taking time to connect with yourself, your food, and the people who you are eating with. Just taking a few still and quiet moments before you eat helps you check in with your body and ask “How am I feeling?…How hungry am I really?” Most importantly, acknowledge the fact that you have food in front of you. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world gets to enjoy 3 meals a day. Give thanks!
4) Chew slowly.
Digestion starts in the mouth. Ayurveda (the ancient Science of Well-being) actually recommends that we chew each bite 32 times, chewing once for each tooth. Don’t worry so much about counting each spoonful, but get a feel for what this pace feels like.
5) Change your mindset when it comes to finishing your meal.
When you are DONE eating? Is it when you are full? When you food is gone? “Full” isn’t always a pleasant feeling. Over eating can leave us feeling heavy and bloated. Instead, stop eating when you are no longer hungry, or when you hunger is satisfied.