Mindful Eating

In our go-go-go world, it’s so hard to find time to sit down and enjoy a meal, appreciating the way the food we eat nourishes our bodies. This leaves many of us out of touch with our sense of hunger, not to mention with the pleasure of eating. It’s hard to derive much joy from wolfing down a candy bar on the way to the subway.

According to an article published in the June Environmental Nutrition newsletter, in a 2008 General Mills online hunger and eating survey that included 1,049 men and women aged 18 and over, only 6% indicated that they almost always notice physical hunger such as a growling stomach before they eat.

When subjects were asked how often they multi-task (driving, walking, working, watching TV, shopping online, etc.) while eating, only 3% reported never. Only 34% of participants indicated that they decide a meal or snack is over when they feel full.

There is a very popular meditation about mindfully eating a raisin, taking a long time to focus on the texture and the flavor and the feel of it in the mouth. Many practitioners use it in treatment for overeating, but it’s a great exercise for anyone who feels that they need help focusing.

Not that you have to take a full minute to ponder every single bite of your food, but try slowing down and allowing yourself to sit down and practice mindful eating. Listen to your body’s signals that tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re full. Eating well balanced meals at regular intervals will help keep your energy levels up, along with your mood. It may seem hard at first to fit healthy eating into your schedule, but once you realize how great you feel when you honor your body and its needs, it will seem easy.

A few helpful hints:

*Plan ahead–Pack snacks like fresh, seasonal fruits so you have healthy food to keep you going if hunger strikes.
*Carry a bottle of water with you. Dehydration makes your mind cloudy, making it hard to hear the messages your body is sending you. It will also keep you from reaching for sugary soft drinks.
*Don’t skip meals. It messes with your metabolism and makes you more likely to give in to the allure of vending machines and the pastry display at Starbucks.
*Remind yourself whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed out that you don’t have to be multi-tasking all the time. Eating a meal is important in and of itself. While it may be easy to forget, taking care of yourself is a priority!

For more information about seasonal foods and flavors and healthy eating, visit Five Seasons Healing online.

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