No doubt we've all done it – shovelled and scoffed every morsel of food from our plate without really tasting it. A relatively new school of thought suggests that mindful eating – eating with total awareness – is not just good for our body, it's important for keeping our mind and emotions in check too. So what is mindful eating and how should we practise it? Read on to find out.
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is all about how (and not just what) we eat. The goal is to give food your full attention, savouring each bite and stop eating before you're stuffed. When we eat mindfully, we tune in to our food.
The concept is based on Buddhist teachings and is seen as a sort of "meditation with food"'. By being conscious of each moment - biting, tasting, chewing - eating becomes more pleasurable.
When we eat mindfully, we aren't chatting or checking Facebook or watching TV. We're slowing down and becoming more aware of what we're putting in our mouths.
The Benefits of Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is capturing the attention of foodies and nutritionists the world over. Many hail it the "anti-diet" and see it as a potential solution to eating disorders and obesity. If we are more conscious of what we eat, they say, we are likely to eat less of it. We tune in to how we feel as we eat and stop when our body is satisfied.
Dr Lilian Cheung, who co-wrote the book "Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life" told the New York Times that mindful eating is becoming more important as we live busier and faster lives.
"We need to be coming back to ourselves and saying, 'Does my body need this? Why am I eating this? Is it just because I'm so sad and stressed out?'"
In this way, we may be able to curb emotional eating and solve many eating-related dilemmas and disorders that continue to become more prevalent in our society.
How to Eat Mindfully
The best way to practise eating mindfully is to prepare a delicious dish and sit down in front of it. Place that first forkful of food into your mouth. Put the fork down. Slowly chew your food and become aware of how its texture, its flavours, its lingering aroma. Try not to talk as you eat mindfully, so you can give your full attention to each morsel.
The goal is to eat the entire meal mindfully, so you finish it with satisfaction, heightened pleasure and a greater awareness of the fuel you're feeding your body and soul.
Why not try eating mindfully during your next meal? You may prefer to practise in solitude to begin with, and introduce it to your family or friends once you've experienced the simple pleasure of mindful eating.
A nutritionist can also help you establish a new and more positive attitude to food.Originally published on Jun 04, 2014