What is mindful eating?
No doubt we are living in the age of ‘mindfulness’.This refers to the mind being fully aware and rapt to the present events occurring, it is another word for the phrase ‘paying attention’. Is mindfulness religiously affiliated? Yes, it has been linked to Zen Buddhism and Buddhism but anyone can practice mindfulness without necessarily associating it with a religion because it is more of a state of mind. Mindfulness has become a hot topic in many aspects of today’s living, including eating. Mindful eating is the process of paying attention to the meal you are having without distractions so that you can take the time to taste the food, chew it and swallow it at a favorable pace for optimum digestion and nutrient absorption. Mindful eating has been researched and experimented and it was found that it can make significant changes in one’s health. It has shown to be effective in weight loss cases, eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating.
What are the benefits of mindful eating?
There are many health benefits to mindful eating, these include;
• Mindful eating can help you prevent eating excessively.
• You understand your body better so that you know when to start and when to stop eating.
• Helps you to watch your weight.
• It can help you manage your emotions.
• Increases your attention span.
• It aids you in practicing self-control.
• You enjoy your food better if you struggle with eating.
• Your body digests food better and nutrient absorption improves.
• Mindful eating helps with cancer patients as the mindfulness process helps them to tune into their bodies, understand it and absorb nutrients better for the healing process.
• It can help manage eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia and binge eating.
• It reduces food cravings.
• You will start to enjoy social events more without the worry of overindulging.
Mindful eating exercise.
Mindful eating begins long before you even sit down to have a meal. It’s a practice that involves all the processes of preparation of the food; this is probably why mindful eating is more effective with home prepared meals rather than a take-out meal. Mindful eating starts from deciding what ingredients are you going to buy. Are you going to pick more healthy and whole foods rather than highly processed foods? Are you considering the national value of the food? Are you checking for additives that are not good for your health? With these ingredients can you make a balanced meal with variety?
After purchasing, we have the cooking process. Wash ingredients that need to be washed and cooked in a clean environment. Watch the amount of fat you are putting into your food. Do not overcook the food especially vegetables, leave them on the crunchier side so that you don’t destroy the heat-sensitive nutrients. Try and make sure that you add enough salt into the food because it is healthier when it is infused in the cooking, rather than when it is added into a dished out meal. Include condiments like herbs and spices, preferably fresh from the garden or the ones that are not mixed with additives. Benefits of spices in food include;
1. They aid in weight loss.
2. They are good for the health of the heart.
3. They can help you prevent cancer.
4. Spices lower blood pressure.
5. They promote the production of feel-good hormones like serotonin.
Serve your food nice and hot; make sure that when you are having your meal you are not too hungry so that you take some time to enjoy your meal. Have your meal in an environment that is in a relaxed mood. Switch of distractions like the TV and put your phone away so that all your senses are focused on your food. Take a few seconds to feel gratitude for the food which is in front of you. Gratitude decreases stress levels allowing your body to digest and absorb nutrients to the maximum.
When you are eating your food, savor it. Taste the flavor, smell the aromas, excite all your senses. Take your time to chew it; don’t eat too fast or too slow. Give yourself time to swallow. Make sure your plate has an adequate amount of food. Feel your gut as you eat to tell when you are full. Paying attention to your gut will help you avoid overeating.
Who can benefit from mindful eating?
Everyone can benefit from mindful eating. You avoid problems that could potentially occur due to careless eating. Patients that can also benefit from mindful eating include;
• Cancer patients.
• Weight loss patients
• Anorexia patients
• Bulimia patients
• Binge Eaters
You can change so many areas of your life simply by practicing mindful eating. Feeling joy and gratitude while you eat can transform your body and heal your ailments. Sometimes we take our meals for granted not realizing, the food that we eat nourishes our body so that it functions the way it is supposed to function. Without food, our bodies fail. Be cautious about what food you buy and where you buy it. Love yourself enough to watch what you put into your body and how you put it into your body, this way you can live a longer and healthier life.