What exactly does it mean to be mindful?
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition is ‘to be conscious or aware of something.’ Seems easy enough, right? We’re mindful of the words we say, the decisions we make, our yoga practice, and our surroundings, so why not be mindful of our food too?
A quick Google search for ‘Mindful Eating’ brings up countless articles encouraging readers to be more aware and appreciative of their food – a whole process which takes time, patience, and focus. Oh, and no distractions!
I know you’re thinking, ‘Jordan, I don’t have time to devote an extra 30+ minutes to EATING. I have projects to finish, people to see, I had a long day and I just want to unwind and watch TV…’
You are busy. I totally get it! However, by taking the time to sit down and notice what you’re eating, you’re impacting your life in so many more ways than just fueling your body.
Let me explain.
When you focus on your meals, you’ll notice what you’re actually putting into your body. You’ll also notice when you’re full, as opposed to just mindlessly finishing everything on your plate. You’ll also improve your focus! And all of the focus you begin to cultivate will carry over into other aspects of your life too. You may notice an increase in focus and mindfulness when you’re working, studying, socializing, oh and practicing yoga!
AND when you don’t overeat, you’re less likely to feel lethargic and sleepy after a meal, which leads to a better chance of you actually making it onto your mat! And let’s face it, aren’t we all inspired to eat better after an awesome PodHot or YogaTone class?
And just to clarify, eating mindfully does not require you to go on a diet! You don’t have to change up the foods you eat; however you might find yourself eating healthier after a few meals. Eating mindfully is about taking time to appreciate your food. Here’s what I recommend:
Step 1: Unplug
Start off with a dish you know pretty well, so you don’t need to check the recipe constantly. Remove all of the distractions around you. Turn off your TV and leave your phone in the other room. Now is not the time to be checking Facebook or the Yoga Pod app! If you’d like some background noise, choose soft music at a low volume.
Step 2: Prepare
Really focus on the thoughtful preparation of your food. Take note of the ingredients you’re adding to your dish and where they came from. Be grateful for fresh food and ingredients. Notice aromas, flavors and colors. Sample your dish as you go along. Pay attention to and appreciate the cooking process.
Step 3: Sit Down (at a table!) and Eat
Plate your meal with pride. Sit down at a table (no couches) and focus on your food. Take small bites and chew slowly. Don’t rush! Try putting your utensils down in between bites if you’re tempted to eat quickly. Notice the flavors and textures. Is your food savory or sweet? Crunchy or smooth? How do the flavors complement one another? Avoid the urge to eat quickly, no matter how good it tastes! Same goes for whatever you’re drinking. Avoid taking big gulps, and savor each sip. Most importantly, remember to stop eating when you are full. There’s no shame in having some leftovers for later!
I encourage you to try it for a week. Make an effort to sit down and pay attention to your food at every meal, whether it’s at home or the office. It may feel silly at first, but I promise that you (and your body) won’t regret it!
Looking for inspiration? Check out these healthy and delicious recipes from our friends at Earth Balance!