–Written by Marusa Zamorano, MD, General Surgeon Specialised in Abdominal Surgeries, endoscopies and proctology–
There is no doubt that nowadays meals are often rushed, the concept of mindful eating invites us to slow down and appreciate the nourishment we receive. Forget counting calories or following strict diets – This is about connecting with our food, engaging our senses, and nurturing our body and soul in the process. Today we take a look at the art of mindful eating and see how it can transform our relationship with food and enrich our overall well-being.
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Tuning into Your Body’s Signals:
Picture yourself sitting down to a delicious meal, taking the time to notice the aromas, textures, and colors in front of you. What Mindful eating does is to encourage us to become attuned to our body’s signals of hunger and fullness. Instead of rushing through our meals, we pause and listen to what our body is telling us.
Start by asking yourself, “Am I truly hungry or am I eating out of habit or emotions?” By tuning into these signals, we can make conscious choices about when, what, and how much to eat. It’s about nourishing ourselves in a way that honors our body’s natural rhythm.
Engaging Your Senses for Mindful Eating:
Eating is a sensory experience. Just like when you are biting into a juicy, ripe peach and letting the burst of flavor in your mouth becomes almost an outer body experience (yes, we love food that much). Mindful eating triggers all our senses, turning each meal into a delightful experience.
As you take a bite, pay attention to the textures, flavors, and even the sounds your food makes. Let your senses take you to that very moment. By fully letting ourselves join in the act of eating, we can derive greater satisfaction and pleasure from our meals.
Creating a Sacred Eating Space:
In our fast lives, it’s common to eat while multitasking or on the go. Mindful eating allows us to create a sacred eating space – a place free from distractions where we can fully focus on our meal. Whether it’s a cozy corner of your home or a peaceful park bench, designate a space where you can nourish yourself without interruptions, a simple and joyful area.
Turn off the TV, put away your phone, and allow yourself the luxury of being present with your food. This simple act can transform mealtime into a meditative experience, fostering a deeper connection with both your food and yourself.
Conscious Eating and Chewing Slowly for Digestive Bliss:
Do you find yourself eating your food in a hurry? Slow down and chew your food deliberately. Chewing is the first step in the digestion process, and mindful eating encourages us to taste each bite, allowing our digestive system to work as it should.
Not only does slow chewing aid digestion, but it also helps us recognize when we’re full. By eating at a calmed pace, we give our body the time it needs to signal to us that it’s satisfied. So, put down your fork between bites and enjoy the flavors as you chew.
Cultivating Gratitude for Nourishment:
Our plates are often filled with an array of delicious foods from around the world. Mindful eating invites us to acknowledge the effort that goes into producing our meals and to express gratitude for the nourishment we receive.
Before you take your first bite, take a moment to reflect on the journey your food has taken – from the farmers who grew it to the hands that prepared it. This simple act of gratitude can deepen our connection to the food on our plate and remind us of the interconnectedness of all living beings.
Mindful eating is an invitation to transform our relationship with food, to enjoy and build up a good health. So, the next time you sit down to a meal, remember to truly taste every bite and let the magic of mindful eating enrich your well-being.