A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Thoughts: Mindful Eating

How often do you think about food? I (obviously) think about food a lot; this blog is pretty good proof of that! One thing that bothers me is how some people view food. I know the whole “to each his own” saying, and realize others’ views should not bother/affect me, but they do. I want to be able to help spread the message to be more mindful of the food we eat.

Everything from the ground it is grown in or lives on into our home should be considered when choosing food. Too many people will just pick up and eat what is served without really knowing what all is in meal or how it was prepared. I’m not saying to take things to the extreme, but just having a general understanding of food sources and the ingredients in common meals can go a long way. These same people focus more on the apps their phone has and the specs on the latest digital equipment, for example, well before considering the nutritional quality of the food in front of them.

Nothing against anyone like this, it seems to be the norm since most regard me as the weird one for wanting to know more about food before eating it. I’d like to propose a challenge to anyone willing to accept; be more mindful and aware of your meals for a week. Instead of finding the quickest thing available before calling into your next meeting, then scarfing it down in 5 minutes, try planning your meals ahead of time. If you can’t prepare and bring your own food to work, know what’s around and pick it up on the way in if you think you won’t have time. Basically, even though most people say they don’t have the time, there is usually a way to make time.

This might seem a little corny, but here are 6 tips from another blog that will help you be more mindful of each meal or snack you consume:

1. Count Your Blessings
Honor your food and express your gratitude. Do you feel fortunate to be able to afford the food you eat? Is your food nutritious? Does it look pretty on your plate? Tell it!
I admit to complimenting my food. I say, “Wow! You look delicious!” I say, “Thank you so much for being here with me.” I say, “I am so grateful for all of the people who made it possible for my food to be here with me.”

2. Be Aware of Your Senses
Eating is more pleasurable when it is a multi-sensory experience.
Use your eyes and notice what is on your plate. Smell the aroma. Chew slowly so you can appreciate the flavors and experience the textures.

3. Appreciate All Food Equally
Don’t treat everyday food as boring and unimportant. Give it the same gratitude, interest and excitement that you offer a favorite meal. It’s natural to ooh and ahh over a favorite birthday dinner. But what about the chicken or salad you eat frequently? Take the time to notice and be thankful.
Arrange it on your plate so that it looks nice. If you have good dishes, don’t just use then for special occasions. Everybody and everything likes to be the recipient of good vibes and positive attention. Appreciated food is more likely to deliver all of its nutrients—partly because you aren’t gulping it down.

4. Feel Your Feelings
Don’t require your food to be a workhorse for your emotions. It wasn’t designed for that job. Feelings are part of the human experience. Don’t be frightened of feeling bored, lonely or sad.
Sit with your feelings rather than fleeing from them. Determine whether you are hungry or bored. This small amount of attention and awareness helps prevent mindless eating.

5. Take the Stress Out of Eating
Be present when you’re eating, and be mindful of the way you talk about food when you’re not. Remember: complaining about bad eating habits doesn’t actually do anything to change them!
When you habitually talk about your discontent, you create an ongoing poor relationship with food. If you were to constantly speak about your boyfriend or wife in this way, you would cause plenty of problems in your relationship.
Instead of dwelling on your problems with food, say something nice about it. For example, focus on the way food fuels your body and allows you to do the things you want to do.

6. Love Your Food
Don’t buy into the idea that if you enjoy food too much, you’ll never stop eating it. Take a chance and see what happens when you love your food. Doesn’t it make sense that just as in any relationship when love and appreciation are expressed a greater sense of well-being follows?
When food is your friend, you can’t help but feel happier. And that is a state of mind that we could all benefit from seeing more of in the world.

Just be sure to regard your food as different fuel grades. This is a great analogy that's used often. Whole foods like broccoli, carrots, whole grains, beans, etc. are the higher octane fuels (think dragster fuel) that provide quality energy to your body. These things have more than just premium energy (calories); they are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. On the other end, packaged and processed foods such as crème filled pastries, flavored drinks, fried potato chips, etc. have plenty of calories that don’t do a lot for the body. Sure, I agree these things taste good, but consistently eating these things will drag you down in the long run.

So, next time you are served a meal or go to pick something up, ask how it was prepared or check the ingredients. Try to not worry about how you might look when asking; it’s your health, after all. This is by no means an attack on anyone, just something I notice a lot since it’s always on my mind. For whatever reason, I care about my food and want to inform others on making better choices for themselves. The feeling after changing my diet years ago is amazing!

How will you be more mindful of your meals? Do you feel there’s room for food on your list of priorities?

No comments:

Post a Comment