What if you could Reduce Stress while Enjoying Food?! You can practice mindfulness as you cook and eat your meals, by yourself or with friends and family! So, what is Mindful Eating and how can I practice?
Mindful eating is not a complex and difficult concept that you need to read a lot to be able practice! It simply involves awareness and care for the body and mind, inviting you to develop a healthier attitude toward food and, consequently, kindness towards the body.
Direct the attention to hunger:
Sensations - Detect signs of hunger by being aware of your body. Just as your body tells you when it’s hungry, it also tells you when it’s full.
Thoughts - As sensations of hunger arise relating thought follow. Be aware of preconceived ideas about what you should or shouldn't eat and let them go. Be present and start a new relationship with yourself and your body. Enough forcing yourself to jump from diet to diet, eating on crazy schedules and deprive yourself of certain foods or ways of cooking.
Emotions - You should feel joy and pleasure as you are eating! Make every meal a special moment of the day. Sit comfortably, eat slowly, carefully exploring each bite. Be aware of challenging feelings that you have a tendency try to overcome by eating. Use instead strategies like meditating or mindful walking to calm down strong emotions.
Mindful Eating Steps:
Pause & savor. Take a moment before eating to notice the aroma, texture and colors of the food.
Eat mindfully. Be mindful of the lifting of your hands and utensil and, once the bite is placed into your mouth, be completely mindful of the act of chewing the food itself. Experience each flavor as it bursts in your mouth and notice how the food feels as you chew it. The sounds that it makes inside the mouth. Be fully present for the act of chewing.
Simply be. When thoughts, feelings, or other sensations arise just acknowledge the fact that your mind wondered and then gently and firmly bring your focus back to the act of eating.
Pause & breathe. Occasionally, in between bites you can be mindful of the in breath and out breath if you’d like to really savor and enhance your mindful meal.
MINDFUL FOOD SHOPPING
Shopping starts in your mind. As you use your imagination, food triggers the brain to turn the desire to eat into the act of eating. If you feel mindful & confident follow your intuition, if not it is best to write down a list so you don't forget what you are really shopping for.
Any kind of shopping should be done, for your own benefit with a clear and focuses mind. When this doesn't happen you are at risk of being being hijacked by a new promotion or strong emotional reaction. Specially shopping for food we should avoid doing it while feeling hungry, as this will increase the probability that you will add some unnecessary extras, for example in the form of sugars. If possible choose foods that are produced by your local community, by going the local markets instead of supermarkets. Be aware of the colors, textures and aromas! If the ingredients are fresh you should feel an immediate input from the senses. Don't buy more then you can eat, specially fresh ingredients, avoiding potential waste.
Get out of your habitual eating and cooking patterns! Be grateful for all the steps and people involved for you to be able to simple enjoy each meal. From the ones who planted, to the ones who harvest, created and develop products, the ones who transported them to the local supermarket, then cooked!
Break the cycle and look for new recipes and ingredients.
When I stopped eating meat I realized that I had to be much more creative to cook meals then before. So this change triggered a necessity for new recipes and specially new ways to cook and combine vegetables. It has been so far an amazing journey of discovering dishes with a variety of combinations of colors, textures and aromas!
It is known that some nutrients are lost when foods are cooked, so you can use strategies such as steaming food rather than boiling, or broiling rather than frying, which significantly reduce the loss of nutrients while enhancing their natural flavors. Again follow your intuition!
MINDFUL EATING WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS
Meals have always been the perfect time to enjoy quality time with friends and family. Who doesn't remember their grandmother's or mother's cooking's? Of course times has changed and technology as been taking over these quality moments. My advise is tho reclaim them back, turn the TV off and leave phones out of the table. Mindfully savor the food that was carefully cooked. Make every meal a special moment of the day. Sit comfortably, eat slowly and enjoy the company of your friends and family!
Mindful Eating: A guide do rediscovering a healthy and joyful relationship with food, by Jan Chozen Bays;
Body Kindness: Transform Your Health From the Inside Out and Never Say Diet Again, by Rebecca Scritchfield;
Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A mindful eating program to break your eat-repent-repeat cycle, by Michelle May.