If you’re like most people (and me), Christmas and New Year has been a bit of an over eating fest, and that’s totally okay to indulge every now and then, we have to live life and it’s definitely the time of year to enjoy! However now we're getting back into the swing of the new year, it’s a great time to begin focusing on being mindful with the body, nurturing it, not only in what you eat, but how you eat.
I invite you to slow down and give this mindful eating exercise a go.
So often we are in such a rush, we’re eating our food in front of our computers or while checking our social media, watching TV, or even while we’re walking down the street; not even tasting our food, let alone giving our bodies the opportunity to digest it properly.
Firstly, I encourage you to take time out to eat while not doing anything else, pause, breathe, stop multi-tasking, and come to the table or the kitchen solely for the purpose of preparing and eating your food.
If you’re cooking, focus on what you're doing, prepare it with love, knowing that whatever you make will be nurturing your body. Notice the textures of the food, the smells, how it changes as you cook the ingredients.
Even if you’re at work and buying your lunch, take a moment to really notice what you’re eating, look at it with curiousity.
Smell it and notice the aroma. When we smell our food, it gets our saliva glands going even before we take that first mouthful, and that’s the initial step for our bodies to begin to process our food through our digestive system effectively.
When we take that first bite, how does the food feel against your lips, then in your mouth? How does it taste?
Begin to chew slowly. Notice the sensation of the food in your mouth. Notice the movement of your body, your jaw, your tongue.
Notice the sound of chewing, and how the texture and taste of the food changes as it begins to break down in the mouth.
Eat slowly, chewing the food so it’s assimilated and absorbed, as when we properly break down our food our stomachs work more effectively to turn the food into fuel. Appreciate the nutrients that it’s giving your body to lift your energy and vitality.
I also like to do an appreciation exercise while I’m eating, being grateful for the farmers who planted the seeds, grew the crops, the drivers who’ve taken the food from the land to the market, the people who served me at the store. You might even like to think about who designed the crockery that you’re eating off, made the chair you’re sitting on, and just taking time to be truly grateful that we have food on our plates, not something everyone in the world has, and we often forget.
Even acknowledge yourself for taking the time to nurture yourself in this way, giving yourself the gift of nutrition.
And if you have the good fortune to be sitting at a table surrounded by friends or family, perhaps even having had someone cook for you. Take a minute to acknowledge how lucky you are in that moment.