There are an abundance of benefits associated with mindful eating. Mindful eating is being aware of what you’re eating, how much you’re eating, preparing the body for digestion and supporting the body after consumption. In some countries it is tradition to eat with your hands, this promotes relationship with the food, activates all the senses. Although this can be a fun family dinner try-on, what we are recommending for mindful eating does not include eating with your hands.
Lets talk briefly about the stress response. What the body perceives as stress versus what we perceive as stress are on 2 different levels (most of the time). When the body receives a stress signal it goes into what we call “fight or flight”. Fight or flight prepares the body to be able to run, think, react and maintain homeostasis quickly. This process does not include proper function of the digestive system. This is one of the main systems that shuts down during the stress response. This shut down allows for all the other necessary systems to receive proper support in order to survive.
Here are a few tips to mindful eating:
- Smell your food. Preparing home cooked meals is a great way to activate the digestive system deep in the gut. Give the body approx 15 min of good sniffing time to fully prepare for digestion. If the preparing does not happen at home take some time, close your eyes and take in 3 good deep breaths really smelling the food and thinking about all the different smells which will be nourishing your body.
- In the event of smelling your food take the time to think about how it got from ground to plate. Think about the people involved in the growing and picking of the food, think about how the food is processed and delivered. Think about how the food is stored and kept before you buy it. This is a great way to keep yourself from eating overly processed foods, eating foods which have not been treated well and compulsive eating or overeating.
- Chew your food at least 25 times. I find this one fun to play with. We do not often think about how often we chew our food. we shovel it in, we take a few chomps, then down the hatch it goes. Chewing our food at least 25 times give the salivary enzymes ample time to begin the breakdown of the food. This make it easier for the food to move through the digestive system and be broken down faster and absorbed more properly without being shoved through the process.
- With this being said make sure to take breaths between each bite. Taking a breath between each bite, gives the body time to process what you just consumed. This keeps the digestive system running smoothly without overwhelming the system.
- Speaking of digestion, when the body is under stress it does not digest properly. it is important to turn the TV off, avoid stressful conversations such as those consisting of money, responsibilities or work while you are eating. This keeps the body in a rest and digest state, making it easier for the body to digest the food you are consuming.
- The last tip I have to share with you you today is to steep fresh ginger in hot water or drink a ginger tea after you eat. Ginger has so may health benefits. It acts as a digestive fire and an anti-inflammatory.
I hope you find some if not all of these tips to be extremely helpful and inspiring! Enjoy your foods, the company which you chose to share with and the earth from which provides!