Mindful Eating

Slow Down and CHEW – tips for eating mindfully

Mindfulness is a word, a concept you have probably have heard of, it is the latest buzz word and practice. But if you put aside the hype mindfulness can be a very valuable skill to implement in your daily life.

So firstly let us define mindfulness, a widely accepted understanding is “being aware of being aware”

You as an individual can choose to be mindful about any aspect of your daily life. It is a great way but not always easy way of slowing down and truly being in the present, the now of the experience you are having. We are called human beings not human doings for a reason! But many, including myself, are too often caught up in business.

One area of your life which can reap many physical health benefits that in turn support your mental health as you feel a greater sense of wellbeing is mindful eating .Are you like me too frequently eating on the run, not sitting down to eat?, do you chew insufficiently ( guilty)?,eat too quickly ( guilty again!). Perhaps the foods or fluids you consume you give very little thought too due to being busy grabbing whatever is around or perhaps you’re not ever really thought about what the experience would be like to be really present when choosing your food and drinks. We can all improve our sense of mindfulness when thinking about the nutritional value of the foods and drinks we consume but this can also be quite overwhelming as well, so try not to judge or label yourself rather be grateful for being aware that you are now choosing to be aware. You will assimilate what you eat better with less digestive upsets by being mindful of your eating.

Eating in a mindful manner is a challenge for most of us so don’t expect perfection from yourself, rather view the awareness as supporting your colon health and honouring your beautiful body making it with each thoughtful bite consumed a stronger more balanced digestive system which has far reaching wellbeing effects.

So some suggestions about being mindful in relation to your eating you might like to give a go!

  • Some people like to start with a raisin, or a single square of chocolate or a single piece of popcorn and simply just take the time to really investigate the texture feel in their hands, in their mouth, initial taste verse after taste, the more of your senses you used the richer the sensory experience and stronger the mindfulness becomes
  • Just choose one aspect of your current eating you would like to first focus on. That maybe the choice of foods being mindful at each meal to ensure ¾ of your plate contains colourful vegetables
  • You might like to be mindful how you set up your eating place. You could be more aware of creating a relaxed space in which to eat. This would usually include over time becoming fully present in your eating. Start of slowly, but eventually eating with no distractions like the TV, the paper,
  • Perhaps be mindful how you serve your food to yourself. Is it done in a loving way, does your plate or bowl of food look aesthetically pleasing or is it in a box or just thrown on a plate? Create your eating experience to be one of nourishment physically and emotionally
  • Some people like to say a blessing of thanks for the food they have in front of them again creating a sense of mindfulness about their eating
  • Maybe when you start eating you decide on one aspect each meal to focus on including chewing for long, eating slower than your normal rate, observing the texture of what you are eating, the color, smell, temperature.
  • Maybe you put down your spoon fork or knife between bites so you are mindful of the whole act of eating
  • You may like a cup of tea or an early morning coffee to get you going, so next time you do really notice how the tea seeps into the water, the steam, the smell the first sip as it enters your mouth and goes down your throat. Really inhale your coffee, and if you made it be mindful of each aspect of its creation. Really look at the granules, watch them dissolve in the water watch what the liquid looks like when you add milk.
  • All of these simple but yet hard thing to do until your learn to be mindful and embrace it as doable ways of being present and are building blocks the very foundations of being present and mindful in other aspects of your life.
  • Perhaps just be mindful of how eating that particular food made you feel
  • You will never ever have that coffee again or bowl of soup or plate of crunchy salad ever again this way. No matter how you try to reproduce it that moment of preparation and consumption is NOW so be in it relish the joy of such… be rather than do

There are so many great books on mindful eating, two I like are

The Mindful Appetite by Susan Albers

Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh and Lillian Cheung

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