Mindful Eating

1 September 2016

 

Mindful Eating is the practice of being more conscious of the food that we consume, slowing down and taking the time to truly enjoy the food we’re eating and fully absorbing all of the minerals and nutrients into our bodies. I completely understand how busy we all are and living in a society that is GO-GO-GO 24/7, mindful eating may sound counterintuitive and less productive. However, mindful eating can actually help us be more productive and can easily be introduced into our lifestyle!

 

Today I have 3 easy tips for incorporating Mindful Eating into your lifestyle:

 

   1) Be Aware

 

   2) Prepare

 

   3) Take Care

 

The first step of mindful eating is to “Be Aware”.  Start to be more aware of where your food comes from.  Where do you get your food? Grocery store? Farmers Market? Farm? Restaurant? Grow your own? How far did your food travel to get to you? How many people were involved to bring you your food? Is it organic? Is it conventionally grown?

 

Being aware helps with:

 

   1) Portion control: being aware of how much we are eating

 

   2) Balance: Helping us feel more centered and focused

 

   3) Better digestion and nutrient absorption

 

The second step is “Prepare”. Prepare your body and your mind for eating with 6 S’s:

 

   1) Sit Down: “Only Eat Off Your Feet”. This allows you to focus on your food rather than standing in front of the fridge.  By

       putting food on a plate, you control portion size as well and can enjoy your food more.

 

   2) Slowly chew: “Pace, Don’t Race”. Slowly chew each bite. Pick a number of times to chew each food that works for you and

       chew until your food is the consistency of applesauce before swallowing.  This will help aid better digestion. Better

       digestion = more nutrient absorption = healthier body

 

   3) Savor: “When you eat, just eat”. Fully taste each bite. Notice the texture, where on your tongue you taste each bite,

       notice if your food is crunchy or soft. Turn off the television and step away from your computer/iPad/smart phone to fully

       focus on your food.  Put your food down between bites and focus on the bite you’re chewing in your mouth rather than

       the next bite you’ll take.

 

   4) Simplify: “In sight, in mind. Out of sight, out of mind.” Research shows that keeping healthy foods and snacks within sight

       (e.g., on the counter or in the front part of the cabinet or fridge) will increase the chances you’ll make healthier choices.

 

   5) Share: By sharing a meal with others, enjoy their company and conversation. This will slow your pace as well as helping

        you enjoy your food more.

 

   6) Smile: Pause and smile between bites.  Smiling increases endorphins, lowers stress, and helps you feel happier and more

       satisfied.

 

The last step of mindful eating is “Take Care”. Take care of yourself. Notice if you’re truly physically hungry (stomach growling, low energy, hours have passed since your last meal, etc) or if you’re emotionally hungry (quiet stomach, specific cravings, food isn’t satisfying, etc). If you’re physically hungry, eat a healthy snack or meal with good fats & oils (avocados, coconut oil, nuts or seeds) with a fruit (apple or banana) or vegetable (carrot or celery).  If you’re emotionally hungry, do you need a distraction or to feel comforted? You can take a walk, read, or connect with a family member, friend, or loved one.  You can also relax, breathe deeply, take a nap, or listen to music.

 

Try these easy tips during your next meal or snack!

 

When you think about the term “Mindful Eating”, what are some thoughts that come to mind?  Do you have questions or comments? Connect with me and sign up for a free health history coaching session.