Eating is necessary for survival and body maintenance, but we often eat without necessarily paying attention to enjoying the food. One of the reasons is that we usually want to fill our stomachs and continue our daily activities. People often eat while watching a movie, driving, reading, and doing other things. According to a chef at London House Orlando, “People who take time to focus while eating tend to enjoy the food more than those who do not”. Mindful eating is an art that everyone should practice for its emotional and health benefits.
Benefits of Mindful Eating
There are many reasons mindful eating can ensure better digestion. First, you do not rush the food and zoom off. Secondly, chewing food gently will ensure it is broken down well for easy digestion. Paying attention to what you eat also helps you to know when you have had enough. That way, you do not eat too much food, which may cause indigestion.
People always want to do many things at the same time, and this includes eating while doing other things. Not focusing on your food can be stressful because your body has to split its attention into different activities. But with mindful eating, the body can focus on eating and help you relax while enjoying the moment.
Improved Gut Health.
Rushing to eat can lead to improper chewing of food, which later is passed into the gastrointestinal tract. Partially chewed food can cause constipation, indigestion, and discomfort. Mindful eating helps to prevent this by ensuring you properly chew every bite. Also, eating while doing other things can stress the body and disrupt gut microbe balance, which can cause bloating and other discomforts. Mindful eating prevents this and ensures improved gut health.
Even when a meal is super delicious, rushing or being distracted while eating will not make you appreciate its flavor enough. Mindful eating can correct this by allowing the senses to indulge and reflect on its taste. Indulging your senses would make the food taste even better, offering the right emotional relationship with the food.
Mindful eating can help to prevent overeating. You can achieve this by taking moderate portions and chewing slowly. Also, paying attention to your food allows you to easily tell when your stomach is filled. Telling when you have had enough food might be difficult when you combine eating with other activities. Moderate eating will give the digestive system less stress and prevent health issues like obesity.
Increased Satisfaction and Better Food Choices.
Savoring your meal will help you enjoy every bite, thereby increasing satisfaction. This satisfaction is not necessarily in the volume of food consumed but in how much you have enjoyed the overall eating experience. This satisfaction will also enhance your food choices as you understand its nutritional benefits and appreciate it better.
A Healthier Relationship with Food.
Taking time to eat and enjoying every bite of your food helps to improve your relationship with food. When this happens, you will stop seeing food as a necessity but as an experience. Every munch and gulp should come with a bond that craves more the next time.
How to Practice Mindful Eating
Practicing mindful eating involves paying attention while eating. The cue here is appreciating the food while engaging the full senses. Mindful eating makes food more enjoyable and satisfying. Some of the ways to achieve this are:
Take Away Distractions.
Distractions while eating can negatively affect your health and well being. It is very tempting to want to check that notification on your phone at the slightest beep. Before you know it, you are already deep into chatting and viewing posts online. To avoid doing this while eating, put your phone aside. You can drop it far from the dining room or give it to someone to hold. You could turn off your TV till after your meal. Doing this will help you pay attention to the food.
Engage your Senses.
Do not start scooping the food into your mouth right away. Take time to let your senses appreciate its quality before digging in. Let the eyes appreciate the appearance, the serving style, and everything before you. Also, let your nose patiently perceive the aroma. Engaging your senses will help you have a relationship with the food and prepare you to eat. As you eat, let your tongue enjoy the texture and taste of every bite.
With each bite in your mouth, chew slowly and mindfully. To do this, you can drop your cutleries after each bite just to give you time to thoroughly chew your food, feel every flavor and texture, and relish the savor. Chewing your food slowly will help you enjoy the food better and also prevent you from overeating.
Listen to your Body.
Listening to your body is very important in practicing mindful eating. So many people would still open another sachet of snack, whereas their stomach is full already. Listening to your body will help you know when you are full or hungry. Your body has its cues, which you should not ignore. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Listening to your body will help prevent overeating and keep the body comfortable.
Mindful eating is an art that improves with time. While you may have been used to gulping down the coffee and hurrying to work, you would need time to adjust. So, by practicing and taking your time to enjoy the food, you get better at it and be in control of your eating habits.
While it may seem a bit unpopular to eat undistracted, its benefits cannot be underestimated. Not only does it improve your overall health, but it helps you be in control of your eating habits.
It is important to note that mindful eating is not the same as dieting. Dieting makes you avoid certain foods, but mindful eating helps you improve your overall eating experience. As you become more conscious of your eating patterns, you will make changes that will be good for both yourself and the environment.
Lynn Martelli is an editor at Readability. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University and has worked as an editor for over 10 years. Lynn has edited a wide variety of books, including fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, and more. In her free time, Lynn enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.