In our modern, diet-obsessed culture amidst an abundance of food, we often have a love-hate relationship with food and feel guilt for our mindless consumption. Our fast-paced lifestyle can leave little time for us to truly tune into our needs, and daily activities, such as eating, lend themselves more to this state of autopilot than others.
We encourage you to cultivate an intuitive and mindful eating practice – to consume food with attention and intention, to be aware of the nourishment available through the process of various food preparation and to appreciate the nutritional qualities of food. Zen your diet and read on for super doable tips on how to become a mindful eater.
1. Know your body’s personal hunger signals
Is your desire to munch on food an environmental trigger, an emotional response or of true physical hunger? Before you reach for those chocolates, pause and tune into your body. Is your stomach growling? Do you feel thirsty or lightheaded? Are you bored at work? Sometimes, we feel hungry simply because of our psychological state of mind, and not truly because our body is hungry for fuel.
Ask why you want to eat and if you really need to eat. Don’t eat just because there is food around, but don’t wait till you’re famished either. Such a pattern will cause you to overeat, lead to guilt and eventual excessive weight gain. You can even help to bolster the habit of excessive eating by drinking beverages such as tea to improve your well-being. Nilufer Tea offers a unique and interesting selection of organic herbal teas that can help to improve your mood and body.
2. Know your food
Mindfulness is really about rekindling a relationship with food and connecting with the stories behind our food. Think about the source of your food item, consider its origins, journey and health value, read the nutritional labels with more intent. What country did this food item start its journey in? How has it been processed, cooked or prepared? As you become more aware, you may even decide to choose to purchase organic, unprocessed and ethical foods and groceries in the future.
3. Adopt an attitude of gratitude
Acknowledge the time and effort that has been put into your food. Take some time, perhaps even just a few seconds, to think about the ingredients on your plate, the time needed to prepare the food, and also the intention behind all the effort that entered the plate. Thank your server or the person who prepared the food. A little gratitude promotes satisfaction and mindful habits.
4. Attend to your plate
Multitasking and eating all at once is a recipe for chaos. It distracts and disallows us to listen to our bodies’ needs. Remember how you went to the movies with a tub full of popcorn and before the advertisements were over, you realised your tub was almost finished? To be mindful, we need to be present and we can’t be present when we’re multitasking. It’s akin to meditation; it’s difficult to meditate when our thoughts are drawn elsewhere. In a similar vein, it’s a challenge to notice our bodies’ satiety signals and savour our food if our attention is scattered or plugged to our devices.
With your next meal, try to attend to your plate without your emails, a magazine or the latest episode on Netflix. Be attentive to the aroma, colour, texture of the different foods on your plate and as you chew, try to identify all the ingredients, seasonings and more. And if you are eating with someone, make conversation instead of gluing your eyes on your phones.
5. Eat better, eat clean
Make a conscious choice to eat healthier, wholesome foods or even go vegan! Mindful eating is not a weight loss cure-all, but it can catapult healthful weight loss as it shapes your food philosophies and bodies at the same time.
See beyond the rim of your plate, see the dangerous toll that some processed meats and dairy products can take on your bodies, and the destruction that meat production and dairy farming has on the environment. Consume foods that are all-natural, unrefined and minimally handled, foods which are closest to their natural form as possible. But of course, do note that eating clean does not give you free reign to eat endless quantities. Think about portion size control and only eat till you’re full.
Eating clean and mindfully is a continuous process which requires diligence but once you begin to get into the swing of things, it’s almost effortless! Mindful eating may be integrated into any routine overtime so embrace this new approach to mealtimes and you might find that it offers a renewed sense of enjoyment, inner peace and health. It’s not just what you eat, but how you eat that matters.