When you don’t have much time, it’s easy to fall for the temptation to do more than one thing at once (i.e., the infamous resume buzzword “multitask”). I often read while I eat breakfast and write blog posts while I eat lunch. And sadly, the food is gone in a snap and I realize afterward that I can’t remember the taste, the texture, or if I even chewed it all up properly.
In my new, more relaxed state of being, I thought it would be fun to try to master the discipline of mindful eating. Whenever I have tried it in the past, I have been pleased with how much more enjoyable each meal is and how much better my stomach feels afterwards!
What is Mindful Eating?
So what do I mean by “mindful eating?” At the most basic level, I mean eating and doing nothing else at the same time. Not reading a book, not looking through the mail, not watching TV, not writing blog posts, not cooking, not driving…
You get the point.
Before I started writing this post, I did a quick search on “mindful eating” and found that there is actually a Center for Mindful Eating. Who woulda thought?!?
Here are the principles of mindful eating listed on their website:
- Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food preparation and consumption by respecting your own inner wisdom
- Choosing to eat food that is both pleasing to you and nourishing to your body by using all your senses to explore, savor and taste
- Acknowledging responses to food (likes, neutral or dislikes) without judgment
- Learning to be aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decision to begin eating and to stop eating
Mindful eating draws on the general principles of mindfulness and helps you focus on the connection between food, body, and mind. Becoming aware of that connection is transformative.
How to Eat Mindfully
I like to keep things simple and I believe small steps toward simplicity and mindfulness are better than none at all. As such, I’m going to tell you how I practice mindful eating.
- Create a pleasing environment for eating (I like to light candles and make sure the kitchen table is cleared)
- Eat nutritious, sustainable and great-tasting food
- Don’t multitask while eating (I think we already covered this)
- Take small bites (it makes the experience last longer, leaving you more satisfied)
- Chew slowly and carefully until there’s nothing left
- Pay attention to the smells, tastes and textures of the food
- Put your fork, spoon, chopsticks (whatever) down between each bite
- Listen to your body and stop when you’re 80% full (thank the Japanese for this one)
- Be thankful that you have enough food to be healthy and happy
The Benefits of Mindful Eating
You can probably figure out the benefits of mindful eating on your own. However, as Sue Sylvester would say, let me break it down for you:
- You will become in tune with your body’s nutritional requirements and eat just enough
- If you have digestive problems, these will likely improve or completely disappear
- You will develop a connection with your food that makes each meal a more spiritual and enjoyable experience
- You will become more thankful for the food that nourishes your body
The Center for Mindful Eating has a book list on their website. I checked a few of them out and the following look like good reads (I haven’t read them!):
- Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food
- Every Bite Is Divine: The Balanced Approach to Enjoying Eating, Feeling Healthy and Happy, and Getting to a Weight That’s Natural for You
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (OK, I have read this one… Great book!)
- If the Buddha Came to Dinner: How to Nourish Your Body to Awaken Your Spirit
Like what you read? Pass on the goodness!