1. Shop mindfully. When we choose foods that we know are healthy and the most natural foods for our bodies, we will find it easier to be able to eat mindfully. If we sit down and look at our food and see that it is good for us and that it originated from the earth and is fresh and colorful, we will feel happier and more connected to the food. If we choose foods that are highly processed and far removed from their natural state, it will be more difficult to be mindful while we are eating. When shopping for your food, ask yourself the following questions, Is this the best choice for my radiant health? Is there a better choice I can make for myself and my family? If we bring mindfulness to our shopping and make the decision to only purchase whole, unprocessed foods we will find it easier to be mindful and feel good about what we are eating.
2. Meditate on the origins of your food. Meditating on the origins of our food is not often easy as many of us have never really given thought to where our food even comes from. To do this we must practice looking deeply. If we look deeply at an apple we can see that it is not only an apple but it is made up many different elements. It is made up of the clouds and the rain and the tree that it originated from. It is a natural food, created and intended by nature for us to eat. If we look deeply into the meat that is on our plate, it is not as pleasant an experience. Most meat comes from factory farms and all meat comes from an animal that had to die. When we practice looking deeply into the origin of non-vegan foods we see confinement, fear, abuse, and death.
3. Prepare your food with mindfulness. It is very helpful to be mindful while we are preparing the food as well as eating it. If we are aware of what we are doing and focused on the task at hand, we will feel more peaceful and have a better connection to the food that we are eating and that is going to make up our body and our mind. Be aware of how the food you are preparing looks, smells and feels. Take this time to be present with what you are doing, chopping, boiling or mixing. Give thanks as you go about food preparation, meditating on the origins and health benefits of the food you are about to consume.
4. Clean as you go. Start with a clean environment and as you are preparing the food clean up after yourself. This will make it easier for you to be mindful of your eating because you won’t have to worry about the dishes that need to be done or the counters that need to be wiped after your meal. This will help you to be able to be more present with your food while you are eating and also makes for a cleaner and more peaceful eating environment. I have made this tip into a habit of mine. I always do the dishes and wipe up after myself right away. While the food is cooking, you should have plenty of time to do a quick tidying of your kitchen, then when the meal is over you will only have a little cleanup left to do.
5. Turn off the T.V. Background noise and other external things going on during meal time only create distractions and pull your attention away from eating mindfully. Turn off the T.V or music before you eat. If your phone rings during dinner time, let it ring and call them back later. If you have children, make sure that toys and other distractions are not allowed at the table. Make this a family time as well as a time to be mindful. Have only light uplifting conversation at the dinner table and sow seeds of love. Make meal times a time of peace and connection.
6. Give Thanks. Before beginning eating, give thanks. This could be in the form of a prayer or just by simply taking a few deep breaths before you lift your fork. Be grateful for the food that you have and the strength and life that it is going to give you.
7. Chew. You may have heard it said before that your stomach doesn’t have teeth. Chewing is so important, not only for practicing mindfulness, but for proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Make an effort to chew each bite at least 15 times before you swallow it. This will give the food time to breakdown in the mouth and you to have time to slow down and practice mindfulness during your meal. You may even find it helpful to put your fork down between bites to help you slow down.
8. Don’t stuff yourself. Think about how you would like to feel once you are done your meal. Do you want to feel heavy and bloated or light and energetic? Slowing down and feeling the satiety from your food will help you not to over stuff yourself. It is not always easy to slow down and really tune in to the signals that our body’s are giving us, especially when we are very hungry but with practice it gets easier and we begin to connect more deeply with our hunger and satiety cues.
Eating nourishes us physically, but with mindfulness it can nourish us mentally and spiritually as well. Remember these tips next time you sit down to a meal. Take the time to be mindful and allow yourself to feel wholly satisfied.