Guest Writer for Wake Up World
“Mindful eating helps us learn to hear what our body is telling us about hunger and satisfaction. It helps us become aware of who in the body/heart/mind complex is hungry, and how and what is best to nourish it.” ~ Jan Chozen Bays M.D., for Psychology Today.
So many of us eat on the run, snack on fast food on the way to an event, and rush our children through dinner to get them to sports or into homework before bed. Although it may not be possible for us to sit down for every family meal, when we do have the opportunity, we can observe a few techniques that will help us eat more mindfully and make eating more enjoyable and peaceful to our body minds.
Try these easy steps at your next meal and practice being mindful while you eat.
Take time earlier in the day or the night before to prep for a meal. Chopping vegetables, preparing a slow cooker meal and storing it in the fridge the night before can help avoid chaos at dinner time. This way you can begin with cooking as opposed to sorting and chopping.
Clear as you go:
Clear and clean as you prepare, as this saves times after the meal.
Turn off TV, radio, cell phones and other gadgets when you sit down to eat.
Connect with your surroundings:
Engage with your children or partner, or if you eat alone really take in your surroundings.
Engage the senses:
Enjoy the colour of the food on your plate, the way it tastes and feels in your mouth. Close your eyes and feel the texture of the food in your mouth.
Be present in the moment:
Before even tasting your food, stop, take a big deep breath and exhale.
Be thankful for your food, and ask your children to think of the many people it took to get them this food. The farmer who grew it, the picker who picked it, the transporter, the shop keeper who sold it, and… well, you get the idea. This way your children get a sense of where the food actually came from.
Eat whole foods:
Include whole foods at your meal; salads, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Those that Mother Nature intended us to eat, as opposed to refined, pre packaged foods with little or no nutrients.
Chew your food well before swallowing.
Be conscious of how quickly or slowly you eat your meal. Remember, it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to signal the brain when it is full, so by eating more slowly you will give your body time to communicate this message.
These tips for mindful eating are all ways to engage with your food and your family as well.
What other tips do you have for conscious eating? Why not share them with us on Facebook or in the comments below!
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Previous article by Shirley Plant:
Finally … Food I Can Eat!
From the editor…
Author Shirley Plant’s book “Finally… Food I Can Eat!” is a dietary guide and cookbook featuring tasty non-vegetarian and vegetarian recipes for people with food allergies and food intolerances. It also contains useful guides to food allergies and intolerances, natural food chemicals, food additives, food families, and alternatives to foods that commonly cause allergy and intolerance.
You can find “Finally… Food I Can Eat!” here on Amazon.com
About the author:
Shirley Plant is a Nutritionist, Dietary Consultant and Cookbook author who has studied in the field of nutrition for many years. Diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and multiple food and environmental allergies, Shirley understands firsthand the difficulties of trying to plan creative, nutritious, and affordable menus while having to avoid such common foods as wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, gluten and sugar, just to name a few. But through understanding, education, and a keen interest to help people find food alternatives to fit into their life schedules, Shirley has developed an expertise and reputation in dietary design, customized recipes and menu-planning.
Shirley is the author of Finally… Food I Can Eat, an inspirational dietary guide and cookbook for people affected by food allergies and intolerances. She is recognized as a menu-planning expert through her company Delicious Alternatives and has written articles for numerous health and lifestyle magazines. She has also been a presenter at the Ottawa Environmental Health Clinic on food allergies, intolerances and rotation diets, has given seminars on food allergies, cooking and menu planning at Health Clinics and Natural Health Food Stores, and offers online seminars to help people to improve their diets, the healthy way.