How often do you eat while watching TV or checking your phone?
Standing and rushing out of the house with food in your hand?
Postponing lunch till you’re in the car so that you don’t miss out on extra minutes of work?⠀⠀
How often do you find yourself eating so quickly that it seems like you're inhaling your food rather than chewing it? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
How do those affect your meal and eating experience? Do you notice what you are eating - the flavor, texture, smell and taste of the food? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Mindful eating is a beautiful practice that we can incorporate into our everyday lives to pause and move out of the busyness of ‘DOING’ and into ‘BEING’ in the present moment to savor our food and enjoy the experience.
Although practical and easy, many of us skip this essential step because eating by itself has lost its true meaning in our rush world.
It is true that food gives us energy to do our everyday tasks, but it is also nourishment for our cells and the well-functioning of the systems in our body. Food is medicine, but it is also cultural, social and emotional. If we’re missing out on one aspect, the food experience is not complete. Mindful eating can allow us to better experience those aspects because it offers us the ability to acknowledge their presence every time we sit for a meal.
Here’s a little guide to eating more mindfully:
- Disconnect to Reconnect: the aim is to disconnect from the busyness of the world, from your electronics, from the negative thoughts and to take a moment with 5 deep breaths to move into a more relaxed state. If your brain is elsewhere as you sit down to eat, it will not signal to your digestive system that it’s about to receive food.
- Savor your food and engage the senses: Do you know what happens when we think of food? If you’ve ever entered your grandma’s kitchen while she was baking cookies you know how hunger directly hits you! This gut-brain connection is crucial to activate the initial process of digestion. Another thing that happens when we touch food, taste it, smell it or even hear it cooking, we actually start salivating. Saliva contains enzymes which are crucial for digestion that starts in the brain and continues in the mouth.
- Chew your food: another thing I see a lot of people bypassing is chewing their food! This very simple process of chewing your food really well can diminish bloating and excess gas that some people experience after eating. It helps reduce food particle size and increase the surface area for crucial digestive enzymes to start digesting the food in your mouth. Chew don’t inhale!
- Take your time: taking your time while eating will help you enjoy the experience and really notice all different components of food, not to forget that it will help you better notice your hunger and satiety cues!
- Practice Gratitude: for the presence of food and whoever prepared it, even if it’s just you!
Like any mindfulness practice, Mindful Eating requires some practice, but it is worth every second!
Article by Christina Zakhem
Follow her amazing page for more content on Holistic Health & Nutrition