When it comes to eating, for many of us, less is more. Our wellbeing depends on it.
Focus on your food
For many people today, the process of eating on its own is not enough. Many of us are likely to multitask, for example, eating while we watch TV, use our phone or work – all of which deflect from the enjoyment of simply eating our meal.
Thích Nhất Hạnh and Jon Kabat-Zinn brought the Buddhist and Zen concept of mindful eating to the awareness of those in the West well before the term ‘mindfulness’ had become fully integrated by clinical psychology and psychiatry in the 1970s. Deepak Chopra has been a fan of eating with awareness since then too.
Mindful eating is about focusing one’s attention on experiences occurring in the present moment whilst consuming food and drink. This is all about observing the texture, aroma, and the colours of the food as well as its impact on our body.
Since as a mental state, mindfulness refers to a state of observing emerging feelings and thoughts without judgment, mindful eating embraces this detached standpoint and allows for distancing to emerge between the consumer and what is consumed.
Mindful eating is about focusing attention in the present moment whilst eating
Several benefits of eating mindfully have been noted and these included: better chewing (i.e. optimal priming of the digestive process), lowered sensitivity to food temptations, fewer cravings, being inclined to reach for healthy options, a better sense of fullness (satiety), and reduced need for larger portions.
Some researchers have also observed decreased reactivity to stress due to increased activity of the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system (often referred to as the “rest and digest” system), which slows down the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles. Altogether this accounted for better digestion and assimilation of nutrients from the foods consumed.
So, do your body a favour when you eat and put your mind to what you’re eating.
This self-care health hack is from Superfied expert nutritional therapist Beata Rachowiecka
Mindful Eating and Living