“Smile, breathe, and go slowly” Thich Nhat Hanh
The purpose of eating is to eat. I really believe there are harmful consequences to our health, and well being with careless scattered, rushed eating habits.
Mindful eating, on the other hand is relaxed, thoughtful, respectful of our body, and could even be considered a meditation practice. You are aware of your eating environment, the chair you are sitting on, breathing into the moment and enjoying the aromas, taste and appearance of your food. You give all your energies and attention to the pleasure of eating and those you share it with.
Mindful eating is something I’ve been focusing on of late. I highly recommend it as an interesting exercise in observing your own eating habits. The good ones and the bad ones, like gulping down food whilst at your desk, or rushing out the front door in the morning with breakfast in hand.
Can’t be great for your digestion or getting maximum energy and nutrition out of your food. In fact Ayurvedic medicine believes that rushed eating disrupts your digestive process and agitates your nervous system causing great imbalance in your body, and in your mind.
So as I fine tune my mindful eating habits I’ve put together a list (to share with you) of the many ways, you and I, can both bring a dose of mindful eating habits into our lives.
12 powerful ways to unwind your eating habits:
“I am worth more and choose to eat healthier foods from now on” Louise Hay
1. Sit down:
The purpose of eating is to eat. Respect your body and appreciate what it needs to do during the digestion process by sitting down.
2: Arrive at your meal:
The wonderful Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh suggests a little breathing ritual so you can feel settled and more present within yourself before you eat your meal.
Repeat three times “Breathing in I calm my body” ‘Breathing out I smile”. This will help you arrive into the moment with your breath, mind and body and become more in tune with your food and the environment.
You might also like to read live more in the moment with the 3 arrivals.
3: Bring a smile to the table:
Another wonderful piece of advice from Thich Nhat Hanh is to always bring a smile to the table and for the people you are sharing your meal with. Thict Nhat Hanh believes both breathing and smiling are two importance practices for mindful eating
4: Relax when you eat:
Lose the frown, un-hunch your shoulders, part your lips slightly to unlock your jaw, breath into your belly, smile and exhale deeply to unwind and release a little of the surface tension you are holding in your body.
5: Notice what words you are eating:
Words spoken while collecting, preparing, and eating food ultimately become ingredients in the final meal. They can change how food tastes, and what results in the body. What word(s) do you want to toss into your salad today or smooth into your smoothie. Wise words by Dr. Deanna Minich.
6: Stop multi tasking:
Multi tasking splits your energy into many different directions – which in turn steals energy away from the digestive process and the present moment. Don’t sit at your computer, your desk, in front of the TV or chat on your mobile. Give all your energy and attention to the pleasure of nourishing your body with food.
7: Engage all your senses in the eating experience:
Let your eyes see and explore the colours, shape and presentation of the meal in front of you. Let your nose smell and be nourished by the aroma’s. Let your taste buds awaken with the flavours and textures. Let your sense of touch feel the food either through your utensils or with your fingers. Listen to calming music or the sound of food cooking to nourish your sense of hearing. Allow your whole being enjoy the eating experience.
8: Eat in a soul satisfying environment:
A busy, crowded, over stimulated environment (with either people or technology or noise) can agitate your nervous system and weaken your digestive fire. Either turn off all the excess or find a quieter space.
Eat at least one meal a day in a calm and peaceful environment. Notice the difference.
9: Spend longer chewing your food:
Many holistic medicine practitioners say digestion starts in the mouth. So how long should you chew your food for ? The general opinion out there is to chew until the food is liquid or unrecognizable from it original appearance. Some holistic medicine systems suggest chewing each mouthful of food around 30 times. Either way my guess is that most of us could spend longer on the chewing process.
Chewing your food for longer will also release at least four times more serotonin. Seretonin is a mood regulator, de-stressor and helps you feel better.
10: Take 20 minutes to eat a meal:
There’s lots of research out there suggesting that it takes at least 20 minutes for the stomach to send a message to the brain to say that its full. Chewing your food for longer and taking your time to enjoy your meal may just well help you from over eating.
11: Do not rush away from the table:
As soon as the last mouthful is swallowed, take your time getting up from the table.
12: Experience a silent meal:
Deliberately choosing to eat a meal in silence is a wonderful way to help calm and balance your energies. You’ll also notice, feel or experience things that you would have normally missed.
If you have ever been on a retreat that included silent meals you’ll be able to appreciate just how more aware you are in the present moment.
You can also grab your daily rejuvenation tip by clicking here
What I’m reading at the moment:
If you love food (tick), love Paris (two ticks) and love a little romance (uber ticks) then you’ll love this book. Lunch in Paris: