Chances are you are stuck at home as I am. And just like me, you may also have your kids at home all day since the schools are currently closed. As a result, many of us feel stressed – our daily routines have changed, we may feel uncertain and anxious in these challenging times and we miss going out and seeing our friends, going to the gym or even just going for a walk. On top of that, our fridge, pantry and liquor cabinet is probably well stocked and only a few steps away. The fully stocked fridge seems to call my name all day.
These are perfect conditions for a downward spiral: We end up snacking all day on processed junk food and are not expending enough energy as gyms and parks are closed. The solution could be mindful eating. Let me explain.
I am sure you have heard about mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being aware of the present moment and yourself in it – your movement, actions, feelings and thoughts. It has become very popular in recent years. There are videos, apps and audio recordings with guided mindfulness meditations, books on how to use mindfulness to resolve issues such as stress or anxiety, colouring books, essential oil blends, journals, planners and many other products. Even my kids learn and practice it at school.
Mindfulness can also be used in how we eat. It means that we are paying attention when we eat to what we eat and how we feel and think at every moment. In essence, mindful eating means paying attention to your food. In practice, this means the following:
- Before you start eating, think about what it took to bring the meal to the table. The time and effort involved by everyone from growing the vegetables to cooking them for example. Be grateful for the food you’re having. If you’re saying grace then you are practicing this already.
- Take small bites when you eat as it increases the enjoyment.
- When you eat, try to taste the food with all your senses. Serve the food on nice plates, arrange it nicely, appreciate the colours and the smell of the food. The Japanese for example have made this into an art form.
- Chew well and eat slowly. I am certainly guilty of gobbling down a huge piece of chocolate cake in one minute flat. But it’s a shame really – eating it slowly would extend the enjoyment and chewing well makes the flavours come out much better.
But mindful eating is not just being attentive when you eat. Mindful eating starts with the shopping list, goes on to food preparation and cooking and serving the food. I think that mindful eating can help us control how much and what we eat. Not just in these crazy times, but in general – we tend to eat in front of our electronic devices, while we walk down the street or watch tv. So the current situation may be the right opportunity to slow down and practice mindful eating and make it a habit for our future – hopefully soon, back in our daily routines.
Stay safe everyone.