Take a moment, spray your favourite perfume, put on your favourite heels and line your lips with an exotic red lipstick. Today is a special occasion; today you are going to dine with style and grace. Just like French woman you are going to take some pleasure in the dining experience.
Today you are going to eat with all of your senses and be more mindful of every bite so that you can taste and savor the food. You are going to sit down, slow down, chew thoroughly, and eat without distractions – turn off the television, put down the book, and just purely focus on the dining experience.
The problem with our diet-crazy culture today is that we have become imprisoned and fearful of food to the point we treat it as the enemy as opposed to being grateful for the energy we are feeding our body. We have lost touch with the intuitive way of eating. Food controls the individual rather than the other way around. We need to change our approach to food – we need to eat with mindfulness. Food is meant to be enjoyed.
In today’s modern world, mindless eating and mindless living are all too common. We mindlessly race through our day, trying to fit in as much as we possibly can. The pace of our lives is hectic and spinning out of control, we are always looking for ways to do things faster. We eat while we check emails, talk on the phone, drive to work, shop and watch television. It’s become the norm to mindlessly do two, three or ten things at once. We have less time to stop, focus and reflect on ourself, thus losing touch with our inner self – our thoughts, feelings, and consciousness.
Some of us find that it is too inconvenient and difficult to eat a wholesome home cooked meal. Therefore major food outlets have cashed in on selling “convenience food” marketing it as quick and easy, giving you more time in your day.
These foods are packed in boxes and coated with the manmade version of natural flavour. These foods epitomize the new food-marketing concept of “convenience” There are no crumbs and no fuss, no mess to clean up and nothing to interrupt. It’s just a quick zap in the microwave, five minutes to mindlessly wolf down and then back to the mindless chores of the day.
Most of the time, we are eating on autopilot, eating on the run, eating away our worries or anxieties from the day’s demands, stresses, annoyances, and “to do” lists.
If we are not conscious of the food we eat, if we are not actively thinking about the food we eat, how can we taste it and get the pleasure from eating it? How can we appreciate it? And how do we know what it is doing to our bodies?
After reading the book “Savor” by world renowned Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and Harvard nutritionist Dr. Lilian Cheung, my views on eating have completely changed. Eating is now a mindful practice, one where I unite my body and mind in the present moment.
The purpose of a meal is to nourish your existence. It feeds your body, and when you eat it mindfully, it will feed your soul and ignite your spirit. Eating with mindfulness is a meditation and one that will awaken you. With this awareness and insight, you begin to have a greater feeling of gratitude and appreciation of the food you eat, and your connection deepens with nature and all others. Food becomes more real and vibrant to you, and your life becomes more real and vibrant.
The greatest beauty of a meal is that it represents the wonderful presence of life. Food is united with all that is. When you choose to eat with mindfulness, you unite with the universe; you can see the miracle in your meal. You can see the farmer who loved and tended to the crop; the seed that became the plant, the blossom that became the fruit; the fertile earth, the sun, the clouds, and the rain. Without the combination of any of these, your meal would simply not exist.
Why eat with Mindfulness? When you eat mindfully you show gratitude for your food. You choose to appreciate and live in the moment. You become fully engaged in the here and now. By living in the moment, you appreciate what the food offers you, and you become more alive.
Mindful eating helps you to lose weight and become healthy; it inspires you to choose healthy foods and to stop when you are full. Mindful eating is about respecting your body, your food and your world.
Mindful eating makes your food taste so much better; because eating becomes a sacred ritual, one that is full of pleasure.
Practicing mindfulness will help you reconnect with yourself and become healthier in mind, body, and spirit now and in the future.
How do you eat with mindfulness? The time has come to have a taste of mindfulness and start savouring your food. Next time you eat, choose your food mindfully by thinking to yourself. Will this nourish me? Will it repair and rebuild my cells? Will it make me feel good? If the answer is yes, then please proceed.
Now before you take your first bite, and start devouring it thoughtlessly, PAUSE FOR A MOMENT. Ask yourself, are you preoccupied with other thoughts, such as thinking about ‘why he didn’t call you’, ‘what bills you have to pay’, ‘why did my boss say that’. Bring your awareness back to what you are going to eat, so that you can savour the delights that this meal offers you. It’s time to stop eating on auto pilot and to start savouring the simple act of eating.
Be still while eating, make it a luxurious ritual. Don’t eat while driving. Don’t eat while you are walking. Don’t eat while you are reading. Just be still and be in the moment. Savour what you are eating; enjoy what it offers you - the sweetness, flavour, aroma, freshness, nutrition and texture. Appreciate its beauty and what are the colours?
Smile as you take a bite, chew with awareness, concentrate solely on eating, make sure nothing else is filling your busy monkey mind. No projects, no deadlines, no worries, no “to do” lists, no past or future tripping.
In this moment it is just you, the food and the simple act of eating.
Some food for thought. Thanks to the book “Savor” I now have a mindful eating ritual. I have five contemplations that I mindfully focus on while eating. Read the contemplations below and savor them during your next meal or write your own
The Five Contemplations
1. This food is a gift from the universe: the earth, the sky, and from human kind
2. I will eat with mindfulness and gratitude, I am fortunate to be blessed with such abundance and nourishment.
3. I will eat with awareness, and stop once I am full.
4. I will eat with compassion, I choose to eat in a way that I reduce the suffering of living beings, preserve our planet, and reverse the process of global warming.
5. I accept this food so that I may nurture and nourish myself; this food will bring me strength so that I can serve my community, friends, family and all living beings.
Savour the flavour and let eating become a joyous experience by practicing the art of mindful eating today…to get you started get access to my beautiful friend, New York yoga instructor Nadya’s mindful eating meditation. To get access just simply sign up to my free Eat Pray Love Detox. To learn more about Nadya visit her at Spinach and Yoga.
Stay happy and mindful