food for thought

How To Eat Mindfully: A 30-Second Trick That Will Make Every Bite (Or Lick) Count

Step away from the TV, people, and put down that book. (At least at mealtime, anyway.)

Does this scenario happen to anyone else? It will be, say, a normal Tuesday night, and I will be eating dinner as I watch a movie or read a book. Suddenly I look down, fork in hand, to find an empty plate, and I realize that I demolished the entire meal without even realizing it. My mind was somewhere else, on that movie or that book, maybe, but definitely not on the plate of home-cooked deliciousness that took me over an hour to prepare (AND that I had been looking forward to all day).

This, friends, is what is called mindless eating. I’d guess I’m not the only one guilty of this, but the question is: Does it even matter if we are mindful when eating? If “food is fuel” and we are filling our bodies with food, then the job is done, right? Well. It depends on why we are eating in the first place.

As health and wellness helps to evolve consciousness, the thinking has become that not only does food only give us health, vitality and energy, but it also feeds our soul. We nourish ourselves with the experience of taste and texture and with the pleasure of creating something for ourselves and for those we love. When we are not fully present with our food, we miss a marvelous opportunity to experience one of life’s greatest gifts.

When we take the time to actually savor the taste and to chew slowly and to be with our meal and to connect with our fellow diners, the experience of sitting down for a meal goes beyond ‘having dinner’ and into an experience of relishing the nourishment of the soul.

Still tempted by taking your meal to the couch to enjoy the season finale of RHONY? Me neither. Following is an exercise that may inform us all how to eat mindfully!

First, take something small, maybe, say, a raisin, and, before you even put it in your mouth, look at it. Notice what it is that is about to nourish your body. Then place it in your mouth, and taste it without chewing, noticing the texture. Now as you chew, chew for much longer than you normally would, with your eyes closed, playing with how long you can make the experience last before you swallow. Finally, when you swallow the food, visualize it making its way into your stomach, and imagine your body absorbing the vital energy that this food is giving. You can even thank the food as you complete your bite.

How was that? Did that piece of food taste different—more alive, more intense—than you have experienced before? What if you were to practice this with every bite of every meal? How much more pleasure do you think you would have in your experience of eating?

We are all pleasure-seekers. That is the human condition. But consider this: Mindful eating is a way to bring even more pleasure into our lives.

More on finding mindfulness

…how to be mindful on social media.

…the difference between mindfulness and meditation.

…how to organize your home for instant zen.

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