Sometimes, it’s not what you eat, but how you eat. Our eating habits have become about convenience; we’re always on the go, and so we grab what’s fast and easy. This sometimes leads to inhaling our food without a second thought. We may even eat out of boredom, loneliness or stress and not even know it!
It’s very easy to overeat and not pay attention to what is being consumed, and the result can be weight gain and other health issues that are associated with excessive eating. Eating without mindfulness takes pleasure out of eating.
Of course, what we eat is important. Whole foods; fruits veggies, nuts, lean protein and good oils like olive and avocado are a great start to nutritious eating. However, attention and intention in our dining habits are equally important. Meals and snacks deserve your attention with consideration to time and place.
Mindfulness is about being present throughout your day—enjoying each moment as it comes. Mindful eating should be distraction free – it doesn’t involve watching television or working on the computer. It is about the experience of eating. Food appeals to us on so many levels starting visually.
There are lots of ways to be mindful about eating. Plate your food—don’t eat out of bags or containers. Meals should be a ritual and should bring joy. Try tidying up your table, set it with plates, cutlery, and napkins that appeal to you. You can light candles and play relaxing music for ambiance, even if you dine alone. Mostly, slow down and taste your food. Savor each bite and find pleasure in dining.
When it comes to meal planning, contrast foods with different textures, flavors, and temperatures, try mixing it up with crunchy textures; savory, spicy, bitter, sour tastes and experiment with trying hot versus cold dishes. Commit to experience each bite with appreciation, respect, and gratitude for the foods that you’ve prepared. However you choose to dine, just be sure to enjoy and savor each meal! This is mindful eating.
You can also take your mindful eating to the next level by finding out what works with your body on an individual basis. Companies like Pathway Genomics offer simple tests that help you understand your body on a genetic scale.