Mindfulness means being aware of the present moment. More importantly, it means being intentional in what we do and focused on the task at hand. From waking up in the morning, to washing the dishes, to exercising, to meditating, being in a mindful state help us squeeze the most out of life and have the best experience in each moment.
In an age where efficiency is the name of the game, it’s crucial that we do everything we can in order to achieve more but, ironically, the more our minds become full, the less we become mindful.
Studies show that lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease rose in proportion to the stress and speed of modern day living. Distracted living from multitasking has made us less productive, more tired and more sick. However, simply pausing and bringing all your focus to the present moment can save your energy and improve your health.
This brings us to MINDFUL EATING.
Eating is a great opportunity to feel the present moment. Eating is not just means to nourish the body, it is also a respite for the mind. Sadly, most people don’t eat because they are hungry or in need of nourishment. They eat when they are bored, angry, sad, anxious and seeking stimulation.
This is the hallmark of a DISTRACTED MIND.
Mindless consumption of food such as texting while eating or eating too fast takes our mind and body away from our plate and this can be bad for our digestion. We will not properly absorb the food we eat when our minds are not in-sync with our bodies. Not to mention, it’s hard to feel full if our minds are distracted.
Mindful eating is being fully present with your senses, your emotions and your food. It’s not just about enjoying what you are eating, it is also knowing why you are eating what you are eating at the moment. Mindful eating not only helps us track the quantity and quality of our food so we can achieve our goals, it is also a time to be in the moment and appreciate our blessings.
Here’s a simple practice of MINDFUL EATING:
1. Start with gratitude. Before digging, begin by saying a prayer of thanksgiving. Thank God, the Earth, the farmers, the people involved in transport, the markets that sold the ingredients and the living plants and animals who offered their lives for your meal.
2. Remove distractions. Make sure there are no phones or electronic devices on the table. Instead, anchor yourself to the experience of eating and enjoying your food. If you are eating with people, enjoy their company and presence.
4. Smell your food before eating it. This will stimulate your brain to begin the digestive process. The smell of food prepares the saliva and gut enzymes so you can properly digest and absorb your food.
5. Savor your first bite. Chew this bite and notice its texture, the different flavors. Chew slowly for 30 to 50 times before swallowing. Masticating your food properly helps the stomach break down and absorb your food. You’ll feel less bloated and avoid heartburns.
6. Listen to the physical cues of hunger or fullness. Pay attention when your stomach is filled up, but not full. Finish your meal at 70 to 80% full.
7. Notice your emotions. What do you feel? Are you content with what you ate? Are you dissatisfied and want to continue eating? Why do you wish to continue? Are you still hungry? Do you want to fulfill a sensory desire?
8. Aim to nourish the mind and body, not just to satisfy your cravings. Food is fuel for our workouts but it also fuels physical healing and soothes our mood.
Eating is more than what we put in our mouths. There is food for all our sense organs–eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, mind. Whatever we consume can either be nourishing and healing or toxifying and destructive to our health. – Joseph Kauffman