Mindful eating: 3 simple steps to begin your healthy journey
Written for Life = Vitamins, by Abbi Miller, HHC
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Get sensual. So much pleasure could be derived from eating, and yet we (as westerners, if not most humans) tend to obsess about what we eat, and then speed through our meals with very little attention to the experience of eating. We finally surface; empty plate, full tummy. Yet are often completely missing the point, missing the actual eating of the food. An analogy: imagine planning a dreamy date with your honey; picking a gorgeous moonlit path to walk, ending with the perfect bottle of wine. Then, when the time comes, you power-walk, chug your vino and kiss your love like a hurried automaton. Bummer date, dude. You get the idea? Allow the pleasures of eating to be present during the feast. It feels like a dirty thought, but what about tuning into the sensuality of our food? It does, after all, appeal to the senses. How does it taste? Smell? Look? If you are eating with a friend, turn the conversation into a type of food-meditation: “Man, this marinara is full of basil!” or, “Does that cinnamon make your tongue tingle, too?”- There are no rules. Talking about the act of eating is a way to stay present to, well, the act of eating. If not for the joy of the moment, there are numerous studies that link eating with mindfulness to weight loss, digestive efficacy (read: no gassy pants) and nutrient absorption. We also tend to eat just until full when we are aware of the food going in, rather than gorging ourselves and wondering where the food went. Next time, you eat some food, don’t forget to be there when you eat your food. Your taste buds will be grateful.
Pick an accountability buddy. I recommend meeting regularly with someone to discuss and solidify your health goals. Ahem: I’m offering 50% off my private holistic health coaching services (in KC or via Skype) for the first 3 people who sign up with the mention of this article. Avoid choosing goals like, “I wanna feel better”, or “eat less crap”. These are too qualitative and we often never feel we’ve achieved them. Instead, establish quantifiable goals such as, “survive a work day without caffeine”, or “2 weeks without processed flours”. The point is to be able to check them off, feel forward movement. Once you’ve written down these goals, meet with your accountability buddy, sip some yummy tea and co-reflect the changes that have been made and be each other’s health-cheerleaders.
Play with your food. The slow food movement is quite revolutionary, while the principles themselves wouldn’t be anything your great grandma would re-pin or tweet. Slow, wholesome, home-cooked meals are what she knew as normal. It’s amazing what a farmers-market-to-table meal can do for the spirit. The next time you have a few hours free, jump online, and google a few of your favorite ingredients, “brussels sprouts”, or “spaghetti squash” for example and spend some time nerding out on blogs until you find a recipe that gets you salivating. Hit up your favorite market or store for the ingredients and then an absolute must is cooking like you like it. This means allowing more time than you think it will take, crafting a playlist with your favorite power-ballads (Hanson or Mariah are shamelessly encouraged), and involve your whole self in your meal. Dance. Make a mess. Taste it along the way. Let the creating of your new dish be as delicious as eating it. I always make extra so that I have some noms for the week to snag when I don’t have time to cook, or if there is impromptu company.