Most of us never heard of Mindful eating, but now it’s trending and helping many of us. We wonder what mindful eating is? Is there any new diet or any recipe or what it is? However, mindful eating is not any diet but how we eat our food. We eat by our mouths, but how we eat also matters a lot. We often don’t even think about how we are eating and how it will affect our body.
This topic may be new and exciting as it will help you understand how to eat. Traditionally, we eat whatever our mother or elder serves us on our plate, and we follow the same for some time without understanding that our body needs that much food. Here, mindful eating helps us know the food portion our body needs.
Most of our mother always says, eat fast, don’t eat slow. ‘This is how we should eat our food.’ When we eat fast, our body cannot give a proper signal, but when we eat slowly and chew the food properly, the brain indicates to our stomach whether it is complete or if we need to eat more. See how chewing the food is essential.
1. considers the wider spectrum of the meal: where the food came from, how it was prepared, and who prepared it
2. notices internal and external cues that affect how much we eat
3. notices how the food looks, tastes, smells, and feels in our bodies as we eat
4. acknowledges how the body feels after eating the meal
5. expresses gratitude for the meal
6. may use deep breathing or meditation before or after the meal
7. reflects on how our food choices affect our local and global environment
Keeping a gap between two bites is also essential. When we observe a gap and take a long deep breath in between, the brain gets enough Oxygen, and we all know that Oxygen is vital for everybody’s function. So does the brain. The brain gets good Oxygen and sends a good signal to the stomach. And accordingly we can decide whether to eat more or stop eating. This can happen only when we do Mindful eating. During fast eating or when we talk with people around or watch TV or mobile, This mindless eating- the lack of awareness of the food that we are consuming, may be contributing to the National obesity and other health issues. This mindless eating divert our brain to give proper signals and we end up eating more than the body actually need and can cause many other gastric and health issues.
When we do Mindful eating, body gets enough oxygen and in the presence of Oxygen, our metabolism also functions properly. Hence, digestion and absorption of nutrients also improve, so our gut function improves. We reduce the complaints of indigestion like acidity, bloating, gases, constipation, etc.
Seven practices of mindful eating
- Honor the food. Acknowledge where the food was grown and who prepared the meal. Eat without distractions to help deepen the eating experience.
2. Engage all senses. Notice the sounds, colors, smells, tastes, and textures of the food and how you feel when eating. Pause periodically to engage these senses.
3. Serve in modest portions. This can help avoid overeating and food waste. Use a dinner plate no larger than 9 inches across and fill it only once.
4. Savour small bites, and chew thoroughly. These practices can help slow down the meal and fully experience the food’s Flavours.
5. Eat slowly to avoid overeating. If you eat slowly, you are more likely to recognize when you are feeling satisfied, or when you are about 80% full, and can stop eating.
6. Don’t skip meals. Going too long without eating increases the risk of strong hunger, which may lead to the quickest and easiest food choice, not always a healthful one. Setting meals at around the same time each day, as well as planning for enough time to enjoy a meal or snack reduces these risks.
7. Eat a plant-based diet, for your health and for the planet. Consider the long-term effects of eating certain foods. Processed meat and saturated fat are associated with an increased risk of colon cancer and heart disease. Production of animal-based foods like meat and dairy takes a heavier toll on our environment than plant-based foods.
Summary: Chewing your food properly, eating slowly, not eating fast, taking breaths in between the bites, don’t force to complete the plate, this is mindful eating. It will help to improve our gut health and hence better Nutrient absorption and control portion size. No forcefully eating when you feel you are done. Slowly and gradually, we can understand the reduced portion and that practice in the future will give us good health. Mindful eating is very important practice to respect our health and Food.