Lately I've been attempting to eat mindfully...not an easy feat for a food lover/devourer but enlightening none the less. This evening as I was eating I thought to share the experience with you by taking a photo of my delicious pizza! And no, that is not being very mindful of eating and only eating, but I choose not to judge myself because of it. :)
I see mindful eating in three steps:
1. Before eating ~ I sit down (no standing and eating!), I turn off electronics and put my cell phone away, and I pause. I think about my food and where it came from. My pizza is on a gluten free crust (made in Edmonton), with feta cheese (Montreal), balsamic vinegar and olive oil (Italy), and black pepper (India). The shitake mushrooms are organic, from Ontario I think. The arugula, broccoli sprouts, chives, parsley, and sage are all local and organic, some right from my backyard, or pots in the sunroom. I think about the work that went into these things and how they arrived on my table: the farmers and their hands that worked the soil, picked the harvest; the trucks and the drivers that drove long distances to bring some of the toppings to the store; and then the supermarket or farmer's market where I purchased them. I give thanks to all these people. I give thanks to the soil, to mother earth, to the sun and water for helping these things to grow. I give thanks to the divine/creator/spirit for supplying me with the money needed to purchase these things, for allowing me to do a job that I love, and for the clients and students that I share my work with. I could give thanks forever! I look at my food and how beautiful it is and the pleasure that went into preparing it.
2. Eating ~ Yay!! I take a bite and try to tune into each flavour, each texture, and taste separately and then combined all together. I try to chew mindfully and lots! Chewing is one of the first steps of digestions, very important. I try not to rush to swallow it down and get to the next bite but instead take my time and s l o w d o w n . I set my fork and knife down between bites. I try to keep my mind on the food and not other places. It's interesting to watch my urge to grab my cell phone to see if anyone's sent me an email or text. I think I've realized the reason for this but that's a whole other blog post. Other thoughts that come up often are work, family, men [it is spring time! ;)], friends, etc.
3. After eating ~ I sit and breathe. Another very important step in digestion. I continue to breathe and sit in the same spot where I ate my meal until my body tells me it's ready to move on. I notice how full I feel or if I want something else to eat. I notice if I have the urge to reach for something sweet or if I don't. I notice if I feel light or heavy. It's all very interesting. It's also neat to observe the thoughts that come up when I'm eating on a schedule, with someplace to be, or something to do very soon.
So, why am I doing this? Well, I struggle with digestion and food sensitivities. Food sensitivities are hard to discern but when you eat mindfully you become more aware of what settles well in your system and what doesn't, also what moves along in your system and what doesn't. This is one of the many instances of your body's innate wisdom sending you messages and when you are mindful you are more apt to receive them. And also, I believe that in general we need to slow down and be more mindful, that health and integration will not come to us in this fast-paced, high stress way of living.
Since I've started eating mindfully I've noticed:
~ Eating mindfully reminds me to be grateful for all that I have.
~ For proper digestion I need lots of time to relax both before and after eating.
~ I don't need to rush through my meal. I'm not starving and no one is going to come along and steal my food.
~ I'm eating less and what I do eat usually consists of high quality, healthful foods.
~ My digestion is better which leads to more energy, more exercise, more productivity and more smiles!
~ Food is one of our many connections to the source. If it weren't for earth, soil, sun, water, animals, humans, and divine love and energy we would all be very hungry people.
Thank you, source. Nandri.
(Nandri means 'thank you' in Malalayam, the popular language of Kerala, India)
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of mindful eating please visit: http://www.tcme.org/
Please feel free to share your experience(s) with mindful eating and any yummy photos that you may have. :)
Natalie loves life, people, animals, plants, and trees. She believes in the flow of life and approaches each day with gratitude.