For the last several months I’ve been studying the concept of mindful eating. Recently, I was a guest blogger for a mindful eating website (www.eatq.com) so I thought I would create a blog series on my experience with mindful eating and offer tips for you too.
Do you truly focus on every bite you eat? Our fast-forward culture emphasizes multi-tasking and efficiency. So becoming aware of eating and the process seems very counter-cultural to me. A useful mindful eating strategy encourages us to GET SLOW and stay slow. It’s intriguing to me to look at the way America eats – through fast food windows, convenience products – frozen, chopped, sliced or heat-n-eat – and now ‘speed dating meals’, to name a few. Did you know there is a movement to bring the joy back into preparing and cooking meals and bringing families back together around a table for good, nutritious food and healthy conversation? On our busy days, we do rely on some convenience foods and drive-thru windows, but I’ve made a much bigger emphasis on home-cooked meals for my husband and boys (ages 9 and thirteen) in the last few months. We’ve noticed a difference in our wallets and in joyful conversation.
I recently challenged myself to intentionally slow down to eat my lunch and see what I would notice. Before I started, I said a prayer of gratitude for the farmer who grew my salad fixins, then took a moment to take in the color and the beauty of the deep leafy greens, cucumber, green bell pepper, shiny grape tomatoes. I sought out different flavors with each bite – pinto beans, turkey pepperoni, Italian dressing, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. I tried chewing each bite at least 20 times and to identify the texture, flavor, temperature of each bite. I even tried to use my right hand to feed myself, but that didn’t last too long! I must be very south-pawed.
Take action this week by intentionally slowing down, savoring, and enjoying a meal with intent and purpose. What do you notice? Consider making it a unique dining experience and eat by candlelight, with quiet, soothing background music. Try eating with chopsticks or make a Forkless Friday meal and choose items you can eat with your fingers only! Until next week….happy chewing!
If you live in West Michigan, learn more about mindful eating strategies when you attend my free Inner Peace and Wellness Series on Tuesday evening, September 30, 2014 at Vera’s House in Newaygo. Visit my website for registration details and other upcoming events.
Sara Wolfsen is a Certified Health Coach who specializes in helping people make their own healthy changes by providing private health coaching, nutrition education and wellness classes, and gentle weight-loss guidance and support. Schedule your complimentary coaching session and learn more online at www.sarawolfsen.com.