You’ve been flat out all morning, after downing a double shot coffee in the morning and rushing to work whilst slamming down a banana or whatever you could grab on the way out the door. Lunch is not time to relax and no more prepared than breakfast was. You’ve got 15 minutes to find a bite to eat and inhale it all quicker than you can taste it before you get back to work. Not to mention, you have to check your Instagram feed from the last 3 hours to see what the 500 people you follow are eating and how they are living their lives better or worse than you! You need to have it all done yesterday. Sound familiar?
In this fast paced world we seldom take the time to appreciate the smaller things we do day to day, moment to moment. We spend our lives with our mind in the future, not realising that a little bit of it slips away every moment. Between work deadlines, traffic, study commitments, child commitments, time for exercise, social life and sleep, we leave but a small fleeting moment to fully enjoy one of the most physically, emotionally and spiritually important processes of life – eating! What would it mean to our health and wellbeing if we could all of a sudden bring an incredibly simple practice into our busy routines where we take the robot like eating habits we have developed and swap them for a moment of full appreciation of the process of eating food? What if we ate mindfully? Not only would we get to experience the tastes, the sensations, consider the origin of the food we eat and the processes it has gone through to get to our mouths but we achieve the FULL energising, nourishing, healing and life giving qualities that food has to offer.
So how can you practice mindful eating? Here’s simple guide to follow:
1. When first attempting mindful eating practice, it is recommended to use a food like chocolate or sweets, a food for which most people have strong cravings and/or issues with overconsumption in diet. In the beginning, using mindful chocolate eating can help to explore your relationship with foods that may be considered better to avoid but cause great challenge in reducing or removing consumption from your diet, overcoming or understanding cravings and helping with savouring the moment of eating. Once the concept of mindful eating is understood, it can be used anytime with any food for any purpose!
2. To begin, choose your piece of food to use in the practice, which can be a square of chocolate (not a whole block), a lollie, a single date or other small sweet. Later, it can be your entire meal you use in the practice. Place your choice of food in front of you and close your eyes taking 5 full, deep breaths, allowing your mind to become present and aware in the activity.
4. Open your eyes and before picking up or touching the food, take a moment to appreciate where this food has come from, how it has been processed, what is in the food, what this food is going to do for your health.
5. Become aware of the emotions that you begin to feel upon pondering the food like impatience to eat it, guilt for wanting to eat it, excitement to taste it or saliva production in anticipation.
6. Take the food in your fingers and feel its texture, temperature, consistency and smell, exploring with eyes, nose and hands.
7. Close your eyes and take a small bite of the food but avoid the temptation to chew it. Notice what happens inside your mouth, including areas of taste sensation, noises made by your moving mouth and how it melts or sits inside your mouth.
8. Allow the food to melt away completely or if using more solid foods chew slowly and deliberately and upon swallowing, notice any lingering tastes, emotions, noises and textures that follow the swallow. Don’t be scared to make one piece of chocolate last 10 minutes.
The purpose is to appreciate, enjoy, savour and be aware of your connection to food. Eat mindfully!
Train Holistic – Design your life