Tips to Start a Mindful Eating Practice | Whole Family Living

9 Tips to Start a Mindful Eating Practice

In Food, Healthy Eating by Alicia S. Hyatte, MSW, LCSW, CIHC0 Comments

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(Last Updated On: May 6)
When was the last time you had a mindful meal? When we sit down to eat, we are not just eating, we are consuming our thoughts, emotions and the circumstances surrounding us. Rushing through a meal, or being stressed, frustrated, tired, or distracted can hinder your ability to digest properly and derive adequate nourishment for both the body and the mind. But when you start a mindful eating practice you set the stage for many benefits. 

Stress can impair the contraction of our digestive organs; it weakens essential blood flow to digestive organs, reduces digestive secretions and confuses the nervous system. This can lead to inflammation, loss of appetite. IBS symptoms, gas, bloating and heartburn.

Eating a plant based diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans is great, but there’s a key component that is often overlooked…It’s not just what we eat, but how we eat that matters.

Here are some tips to keep in mind to create a healthy eating practice

9 Tips to Start a Mindful Eating Practice

1. Take pause and observe your food.

Digestion begins with the senses. When you register a meals’ pleasant aroma and attractive colors you secrete more digestive enzymes that aid in proper digestion and absorbtion.

2. Minimize distractions.

Turn off the gadgets and set your phone on silent. When working from home, it’s often tempting to “work through lunch” or have a snack at the computer. It’s important to focus on the meal at hand and give your body a break to eat uninterrupted.

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3. Chew thoroughly.

Macrobiotics suggests we chew each bite 50 times. Yes, 50 times! I understand that seems like a bit much, but the key is to chew your food thoroughly. Allow your teeth to do the work so your GI doesn’t have to overwork. Breaking down large food matter is taxing and requires a lot of energy. If you’e often tired after meals, this suggestion might be right up your alley!

4. Drink water. 

Water is the best way to hydrate and is an excellent choice for any meal.  In addition,  when you drink water you are avoiding excess sugar and calories from juices and other sugary beverages. 

5. Slow down.

Make a habit of putting your fork down between bites. Overeating is typically the result of eating mindlessly or rapidly, which is usually caused by overstimulation or distraction. Take a pause between bites, allowing your gut and brain time to register and send proper signals that cue actual hunger and satiety.

6. Limit excessive talking and negative conversation.

If we are consuming the entire experience, that includes our conversations. Keeping table talk pleasant amplifies the good nature of the food and the experience.

7. Give thanks.

Being grateful makes everything more precious.

8. Make meal time a time to connect.

Nowadays, the typical family is so busy and often members are running in opposite directions. Get the family together for dinner time to connect and bond.

9. Plant something.

Even if it’s a patio garden or herbs on your counter. This is a little reminder (especially for the kids) that real food actually grows from the earth; it doesn’t originate from boxes, bottles, bags, cans, containers etc. I’m am so excited and looking forward to planting my first organic vegetable garden this Spring, and so is my little munchkin.

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Your turn!

What do you think of these tips to start a mindful eating practice? Did anything take you by surprise or strike your fancy? Perhaps you’ll try chewing each mouthful 50 times this week 🙂 Let me know by sharing in the comments.

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