Mindful eating is a new concept… until processed foods came along, there wasn’t a need to eat mindfully.
For thousands of years, foods were always natural – not tampered with, not genetically modified, and free of dubious additives. Today, eating healthily often involves becoming more aware of what not to eat.
Way back when, we also never had to think about how to eat, because we didn’t have the stressors we have today. We didn’t eat at our work desk, while driving, while on the phone, while watching TV or the like. Instead we ate in nature, being present with our food and surrounded by our family and friends.
So, how can you reestablish a healthy and mindful relationship with food? Transitioning from an unhealthy, mindless way of eating takes time. A lot of people think willpower plays a large role in this, but I think the term ‘respect for my body’ is a lot more relevant. Willpower is when you really want a food, though know you shouldn’t have it, so you don’t eat it. However, I think it’s more important to realise that you actually don’t want that food at all because you have respect for your body. This is a very important habit to gain, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
Here are a few tips that can get you started on your way to eating healthily and more mindfully:
- Eat to be well, not to be thin. This makes healthy eating SO much easier. By eating non-inflammatory, nourishing foods always – not just sometimes – you are eating to be vibrant, energetic, confident, happy and free of symptoms, and weight loss or maintenance is simply a positive side effect. When people are ‘eating to be thin’, they focus on their weight, not their body’s nourishment. When this happens, they often reach their desired weight, but then gain the excess weight back soon after, because they were eating to be thin, not to be well. Eating to be well means having a long lasting, sustainable, positive relationship with food where you are mindfully eating 100% of the time.
- Take three deep breaths before eating. This aims to get you out of the stress mode, and into the rest and digest mode, preparing you for your meal. It also allows you to take a good look at your food, appreciate it and be thankful for what you are about to consume.
- Put away or turn off electronic devices around you, like your phone, TV or radio. These devices can leave you feeling tense, stressed and remove you from the present moment. When you are feeling stressed, your body shunts energy away from your digestive system, which can stop you digesting efficiently (read more here).
- Educate yourself. We cannot get away with being uneducated about food and nutrition today. Those that are uneducated about the food they eat are at risk of becoming one of the many statistics that are on the rise: those with obesity, autoimmune diseases, cancers, anxiety, depression and more. Seek a holistic practitioner to support you, read books, listen to podcasts, and always question anything you are told.
- Make your food ridiculously delicious. You don’t need to deprive yourself when eating healthy. I promise that I never, ever eat a boring, tasteless meal. It is quite the opposite! Visit our recipe page for inspiration – you will find some wonderful, satisfyingly delicious recipes that I eat on a regular basis.
These steps have become a natural ritual for me now. I hope that they help you to overcome any concerns about eating healthily and mindfully, because it is a pleasant, positive process and the rewards are definitely worth your while!
What are you going to try to implement? What has worked for you in the past?