Embracing Mindful Eating: Nourishing Body and Soul
You're busy, I get it. If you're a parent like me, and even if you're not, sometimes feeding yourself can be the last thing on your to-do list or something you fit in while in a meeting or in the car.
Why do I care?
Your nervous system has two states of being; ‘fight or flight’ or ‘rest and digest’. When you are operating in ‘fight or flight’ mode, all your blood and energy is sent to the brain, heart, and muscles so that you can either fight or run away from danger.
In ‘fight or flight’ mode you are NOT in the best state to digest your food. If you eat when your nervous system is thinking it needs to be preparing for combat, you will likely suffer digestive symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, bloating, gas, and either constipation or diarrhea. Because your body is not focusing on digesting food, you also won’t absorb as many nutrients from whatever you are eating, not to mention miss out on the actual enjoyment of your food which is a really important part!
Be honest with yourself - can you take 15 minutes to slow down and actually be present with your food? Is the world going to fall apart in that short period of time? I know this is not always realistic for a hectic morning of meetings or getting the kids ready for school, but most of us have at least one meal or even a snack each day that we can slow down and be more mindful with.
By cultivating mindfulness in our eating habits, we can enhance our overall well-being and create a more harmonious relationship with food.
The Art of Slowing Down: Mindful eating starts with slowing down the pace of our meals. Get off your phone, step away from the TV, avoid the dreaded doomscroll while eating. Take a moment to pause before digging in, and observe your food with curiosity. Notice the colors, smells, and textures. By savoring each bite and chewing slowly, we allow ourselves to truly experience the flavors and enjoy the nourishing process.
Engaging the Senses: Engage your senses during mealtime. Tune in to the sounds of food preparation, the aroma that fills the room, and the colors that fill your plate. As you take a bite, pay attention to the different tastes and textures and how the food feels in your mouth. Engaging all your senses enhances the pleasure and satisfaction derived from eating and gets your digestive juices for better nutrient absorption and digestion.
Listening to Your Body: One of the fundamental principles of mindful eating is learning to listen to our body's cues. By slowing down while eating, you're more likely to notice when hunger arises and when it begins to subside. This allows you to honor your body's needs and maintain a balanced relationship with food.
If you're ready to take it one step further, check out the link below to download a mindfulness activity you can do in just a few minutes with a piece of chocolate or another treat. If you give this a try once, every day, or all week, I'd love to hear how it goes for you. Feel free to drop me an email or shoot me a DM on Instagram.