19-03-2016 by admin
So our desires to eat come from so many different things: pure hunger, need for energy, way to fill time, a distraction from our true emotions, boredom, rewarding our self ,celebration, ritual, and just because that is what we have been doing since we broke away from our Mother’s Nurturing Nipple……..
Personally, I feel most of my time eating happens without much awareness between busy appointments. Just as a horse eats feed out of a bucket, oftentimes I find myself eating over the kitchen sink, dropping crumbs into the already dirty basin and contemplating if I should begin doing the dishes now or later. I typically praise myself if I drum up enough energy to start scrubbing the pots and pans while somehow completing my last bites. Within no time, my stomach swells and I feel like I’m in my third trimester of pregnancy. Luckily, I live alone so there is no shame when I am able to reenact 4th of July with my own firework celebration out of my very own patriotic arse.
As I write this blog entry I have memories of eating in grade school cafeteria. I would be so hungry and eat so fast that I literally would take one to two bites and then swallow. I would feel a hard knot that would press into my chest and I would have to gulp some chocolate milk down quickly to clear my esophagus. I could feel an unnerving pain in my chest; however this experience was only strong enough to slow me down a bit until 3 or 4 days later.
So how can we eat more mindful? Start with these tips:
Ask yourself why are you eating in this moment… For now forget about categorizing the answers into good or bad reasons. Just be aware.
Plan your meal time and your meals the night before. There will always be changes so don’t get upset if your planned meal doesn’t happen. However, do notice patterns and if you are unintentionally creating your own obstacles.
Develop a relationship not only with your food but this sacred time that acts to serve you. You may think relationships are only connections we have with people. Rethink and contemplate, We have a relationship with all aspects that touch our life: values, spirituality, sex, food, how we nurture our self, and to family and friends. Research and learn why certain foods are good for you. When you value certain foods you may be willing to pay more for that particular food and actually have a greater capacity to feeling the positive effects from the nutrients that make up the food. When you are consciously aware that you are creating a nurturing experience, you benefit not only physically but emotionally and spiritually.
Stop multitasking and awareness to the present is inevitable. Multitasking used to be thought of as a way to create more efficiency. The truth is multitasking divides your attention and no longer puts what you are doing at hand as the single most important thing. Do you want quality or quantity? Your experience will be enhanced when you put down the tv remote, your phone, and let go of all the incomplete conversations you had prior to your meal.
Create ritual, a way to fuse consistency with sacredness. The word ritual used to make me feel uncomfortable where I felt it was connected to religion or some sort of cult. Ritual creates purpose and a planned order that simplifies the experience from beginning to end. When I am cooking, I like to put on relaxing clothes or even cook in the nude. No hairnets required when I am cooking for myself! First of all, I like to start with a clean kitchen. If the kitchen is still a mess from your last meal, now is the time to clean it up. Clutter and dirty space holds certain energy and is transferable to you, the cook, and to your viable food. Secondly, I like to bless my food and give thanks to all the people that were responsible for nurturing it to the point where it finally arrived in my kitchen. Many times, I am cooking from a recipe that I will substitute ingredients or make additions to. If the meal turns out, save the new recipe with a food selfie, or even post it on social media to inspire others.
Use all yours senses to take in the experience. Senses of taste and smell are most apparent, but what about sensation. Before you take your first bite, think of caressing your food with your lips, your tongue. As you chew your food, suck on it a bit; swish it in your mouth like you are at a wine tasting. The first time you do this you may want to do it alone so you are not distracted about what you look like and in case that cute little gherkin pickle slips out of your mouth you are not creating a scene. As you start to practice these techniques you can always refine your technique so you don’t sound like a cow and you can enjoy a meal in the presence of another proper civilized being.
Slow down and Chew, Chew, Chew! So how many time should we chew are food? 10 x, 20x, 32x. Well it really depends on what you are eating. A spoonful of applesauce is going to breakdown a lot quicker and easier than a medium rare piece of bison steak. Obviously, there is no need to actually count, but by simply having awareness of slowing down the speed of chewing and creating pauses between your next spoonful of peas will allow your digestive system to work optimally. Besides mechanically breaking down the food with our teeth, our spit contains digestive enzymes that begin to break down our food even before the bile in our stomach completes this chemical breakdown. So when you hold food in your mouth with a longer chewing process you are allowing your digestive enzymes to work best. A tip for slowing down and being more aware of the act of shoveling vs sweetly guiding your food from plate to mouth is to use your non dominant hand. Sure, you may feel awkward and may even drop a carrot or two, but this ensures you to be in the moment. Another way to immerse yourself in the experience is to blind fold yourself. Taking vision out of it allows your other senses to be heightened. If you are an extremist and want to take it to a whole other level, combine blind folding yourself and use your non dominant hand. A safety tip is not to do this with any required cutting. So no knives! Hopefully your fork will end up in your mouth and not your eye!
Room for seconds? Tap into the awareness of how full you are throughout your whole meal. Are you going back for that second piece of chocolate cake because you are still hungry or because you crave more, “just because the Devil told you to”. The foods we indulge with are meant to be a treat. Create good habits of eating small portions of these sweet delectables. If we are in tune with our senses especially while eating these kinds of foods there shouldn’t be a strong desire to have more once we have made a decision of what are limit is going to be.
I hope this is just a beginning to your journey in creating a healthy mindful relationship with food and how you eat. So off to ponder how it’s possible so much kale debris lands on my kitchen floor as I prepare my next Mindful Meal.