Most of us grow up learning table manners – elbows off the table, chew with your mouth closed, don’t talk with food in your mouth, put a napkin in your lap, etc. These are all great for making an enjoyable table companion, but another important table manner is eating mindfully. This is an ancient Buddhist practice that is essentially making eating a meditative experience. It is not focused on what you are eating, but HOW you are eating. Many of us tend to rush through our meals – quickly eating within a lunch break time limit, hurrying to get out of the house, or occupying the time with the phone or tv…Do you remember what you last are and more importantly what it tasted like?
Mindful eating means eating slowly, silently, and focused…no multitasking with phone or tv and putting the fork down in between bites. Use your senses to experience the taste, smell, and texture of every bite. Eating consciously not only allows you to genuinely enjoy your food, but improves digestion and reduces overeating, which often leads to weight loss. Here’s a couple of ways to practice mindful eating or EATWELL:
E – Establish a seat. Often, we are walking or standing doing other things while shoveling food in our mouths. Take the time to take a seat to eat.
A – Attention. Give your meal the attention is deserves and enjoy the flavors and textures on your plate.
T – Treat yourself. Use your best dishes – fine china, or dishes you really love. When you treat your meal as if it’s a special occasion, you tend to slow down and savor it more.
W – Worry less. When meditating, the breath is the primary focus because it allows the mind to focus on something other than the million other tasks awaiting your attention. Try counting as you chew…10 is a great number to start, but see if you can make it to 20 or even 30.
E – Enjoy the silence. Remove the noise and distractions and eat in silence. No talking, no tv, no phone, nothing. This brings awareness to your body and how it feels while you are eating.
L – Lay them down. Put your utensils down in between each bite and don’t pick them up until you are done chewing. Yes, it will make the meal last f-o-r-e-v-e-r, but that’s the point.
L – Learn about your food. When you form a relationship with your food and learn where it came from, how it was grown, and how it got to your table; you gain an appreciation and tend to make better buying and meal choices.
Eating with intention allows you to respect yourself to make better eating choices and fulfilling hunger. Because we are often busy and life is hectic, pick one meal a day to make your mindful meal and EATWELL. Leave a comment sharing your experience. Happy eating.