We all love food…who doesn’t! but we are all guilty of stuffing our food as our lives get more hectic and busy. When was the last time you actually savoured your food and tasted it before it was gone into the abyss of our digestive systems.
Eating slowly seems to have been a mantra over many generations. I can clearly remember my Mum saying to slow down eating especially when it came to ice cream, but to be fair, we are so eager to get it in that it’s gone far too soon.. and that’s when we get into the slippery slope of asking for more.
The goal of #MindfulEating is to listen to our bodies..”Are we really hungry”? or are they emotional signals making us reach for something quickly, which sadly always seems to be a sugary satisfaction.
Mindful Eating is NOT a diet plan, it aims to reconnect us with the experience of learning to enjoy our food and the benefits gained from eating in a non emotional way.
In studies carried out there is well documented evidence that eating #Mindfully can help lower body weight, create a greater sense of wellbeing, fewer symptoms of eating disorders and a better gut system with less indigestion symptoms.
So basically, the rules if there were any are very simple.
Eating slowly does not mean you are still sat at the table two hours later but it’s good for you to remind your family that eating is not a race to the finish line. Racing to that finish line does not allow your body to send you the right signals to tell you it’s full. A bit like pouring water into a bottle and not turning the tap off it just goes on and on and on.
Take a fork full of food and learn how to taste it, feel it in your mouth and savour the deliciousness. Chewing releases the flavour as well as making the foodstuff small enough to swallow so the more you chew the greater the experience will be. Chewing your food will of course help you digest it more efficiently than swallowing whole lumps down mindlessly.
If you have a family make a game of it. Who can chew the longest, who can guess the flavour and describe it or use chopsticks for fun!
2. Savour The Silence.
I love meal times. It’s a wonderful time for families to reconnect their lives and their day and sadly we don’t do enough sitting around the table to eat. Eating in front of the tv with a tray is fine as a treat but we invariably end up only concentrating on the tv and not on what you are eating and the “Stuffing Ourselves” aimlessly without thought happens immediately.
Try encouraging some quiet time when eating. Again if you have children see it as a game of “Who can stay the quietest for longest” or adopt one mealtime a week where you can use the “Savour the Silence” idea.
Get the kids to turn off their mobiles…I know it’s not going to be easy but having a phone bleeping away at the table totally distracts eating and any conversation. I know a family that refuse to let any phones near the table at meal times and it works.
3. Enjoy Your Food
As I said in the beginning this is not a diet so whatever you eat Mindfully is totally your choice. Pay attention to the flavours that you miss when you just chew and swallow without thought. Savour the tanginess of citrus or the spiciness of a curry. The crunch of a pizza crust, paying attention on purpose is a great way to start eating mindfully and enjoying what you are eating.
4.Love Food For Life
Mindful Eating is all about rekindling a relationship with our food. Baking our own bread and planting a few veggies in the garden gives us a true appreciation of how food gets to our tables and teaches children that not everything comes from a packet from the supermarket.
Get a few chickens and learn to love their cheeky personalities and their rewards to you with the eggs they produce. There is nothing in this world finer than a fresh egg straight from your own chickens.
Whatever you are eating today Mindful eating can be practiced with anything from a salad to an ice cream…there are no rules, just a commitment from you to learn to love and appreciate the food you eat in a thoughtful, purposeful regard.
While you shift the focus from “How you eat” to not “What you eat” you might well find your ideas of what you thought you enjoyed eating will change. It’s a real adventure…Enjoy!