Being more mindful when you eat can help reduce cravings for sugar and carbs, decrease appetite and prevent overeating, improve digestion, enhance nutrient absorption, improve mood, heighten inner peace and feelings of well-being, make meals taste better and the act of eating a richer and more satisfying experience, and facilitate more connection with your spiritual source.
It’s simple, practical, and costs you absolutely nothing. Eating mindfully should be a basic principle built into your lifestyle when designing your individualized Paleo plan. I suspect our caveman ancestors were just naturally conscious during meal time as they didn’t have all the distractions and stressors to contend with that accompanies modern day life.
Here are ten ways you can put mindfulness into practice when you are eating to immediately begin to reap these benefits.
- Slow down and be fully present with your meals and the act of eating.
- Focus on and recognize the full worth of each food’s unique qualities: its shape, color, texture, aroma, temperature, nutrient content, how it sounds and feels against your lips and in your mouth
- .Chew slowly and intentionally.
- Be conscious of and engaged with each bite and sensation, as if nothing else in the world exists in that moment.
- Close your eyes periodically and relish in the food and the entire experience of eating. Don’t scarf food down mindlessly.
- Savor each moment and morsel.
- Be with your meal and the experience of eating as if they are the focal point of a meditation or you are engaged in a tender lovemaking session with the love of your life for the first time.
- Sit at a table while eating. This forces you to focus on your food and what you are doing.
- Eliminate distractions. Put your cell phone in a different room or turn it off. Separate yourself from the laptop, computer, tablet, mail, books, television, and magazines. Engage in no other activities while eating.
- When you’re done eating, sit quietly for a few moments and reflect on the experience (e.g. how the food looked, smelled, and tasted, and the sensations you experienced while eating) before rushing on to your next activity. You may also want to acknowledge gratitude internally, or to your spiritual source, for the food and the experience.
Apart from the actual act of eating, the principles of mindfulness should be extended to all aspects surrounding your meal, including making good choices about the food you put in your body (e.g. organic, grass-fed, pastured, cage-free, hormone and antibiotic free, low-carb, no sugar, Paleo), and preparation (e.g. shopping, cutting, tossing, cooking).
Being mindful of how your body responds to your meals (e.g. makes you tired, itchy, or achy, or enhances energy) can be used as a guide to make modifications and individualize your diet according to your unique biochemical needs.
Furthermore, mindfulness should be practiced in all areas of your life, not just eating and meal time, to enhance health and well-being more fully. You can find 15 techniques to help you become more mindful within minutes in my instantly downloadable eBook, Meditating for Health. Regardless of what health condition you are dealing with, or even if you are just practicing preventative measures, you can’t go wrong by living a more conscious life.
Enjoy the journey, don’t be in a hurry to get to the destination.