I get it!! We’re busy. We have too many things going on in our daily lives to stop and think just for one second about what’s on our plate, how it got there and whether it’s good for us or not. So how can we be more mindful about what we eat?
These are the things we need to be thinking about and doing in order to eat more mindfully. In reality we grab our food on the go and eat while we’re doing something else or trying to multitask. Therefore, we have not paid any attention to our food. We didn’t take in the different aromas of each food item nor think about the texture. We didn’t look at the different colours on our plate, or maybe there was only one bland colour to even notice. We didn’t allow our taste buds to get excited or our mouths to salivate in anticipation of good wholesome food. We certainly didn’t savour the taste of each mouthful and we didn’t give any chance for our food to even hit our stomach before mindlessly moving on to another activity!
With all of the above there is a danger of over eating which can lead to obesity and other serious health issues. There is a danger of becoming malnourished because our diet isn’t varied enough. There is a danger of becoming intolerant to certain food and there is also a danger of being susceptible to food poisoning purely through our lack of patience and mindlessness. Just grab and go! Grab and go not thinking whether our food has been cooked properly in the place it’s just been made not two minutes before we walked in.
So how can we eat more mindfully?
The first thing is to be mindful when you go food shopping. Never shop when hungry as this will lead to filling the shopping trolley with unhealthy snacks, alcohol and deserts. Instead go at a time when you have just eaten or not long after and try and stick to the same times. Also you may want to think about where the produce you chose is coming from and what’s in it rather than choosing something just out of habit.
Be mindful as to what your body is telling you. For example know your body well enough to be able to pick up hunger signals. Are you really hungry or is it thirst you’re experiencing? What are your emotional eating triggers? Is it stress, boredom, loneliness? All too often we eat when our mind is telling us to rather than our bodies so listening well to our own bodies will certainly make us more mindful.
Eating more mindfully is all about slowing right down and being more connected to our food and nutrition. This helps develop healthy eating environments which may include sitting down to eat, chewing each mouthful thoroughly, eating at consistent times and places. Not eating alone where possible and without technological distractions such as mobile phones and the TV. To feel gratitude as to how your food ended up on your plate, the journey it took, the people who planted, harvested, stocked and shelved. Take note of the cultural traditions, the shared recipes handed down from generation to generation or friend to friend.
Most of all mindful eating is about the single-task of just eating. It may not be something you do every time you eat. It may not be something you do every day but even if its once every other day I say try it and see!