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Mind Body Soul | Mindful Eating

Mind, Body & Soul
Mindful Eating

by Ashley Hunt

Author- Ashley Hunt

Eating is something you do every day, often on autopilot and often without really thinking about it. Learning to use mindfulness when you eat will bring more enjoyment to mealtimes, and has some serious health benefits too.

This month, Ashley Hunt, wellness coach and meditation teacher, joins us with simple steps to achieving mindfulness when it comes to food.

Mindful Eating

WHY SHOULD YOU DO IT?

Here are my three top reasons to eat mindfully

1.  IT’S A SURPRISING WAY TO MEDITATE

When we think of meditation we often think of sitting in a lotus position trying not to think. But there are so many different ways to meditate, and completing everyday activities mindfully is one of them.

While many people think they don’t have time to meditate, mindful eating is a simple way to turn an everyday task into a meditative act. The good thing is it doesn’t require too much extra time or effort on your part, but it teaches you the important lesson of slowing down and simply focusing on one thing at a time.

It’s important to not have any distractions as you do this, which you may find surprisingly difficult. When was the last time you ate a meal without watching TV or scrolling through Facebook?

2. IT WILL HELP YOUR DIGESTION

A lesser known fact about meditation is how beneficial it is for gut health. Meditation lowers stress by activating the body’s parasympathetic nervous system – this is the opposite of your fight or flight mode, often referred to as “rest and digest”. It gets this name because it is when your body is relaxed and stress free that you are able to properly digest your food. Studies have shown that meditation and mindful eating can help reduce symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)

 

3.  IT WILL BRING ENJOYMENT BACK INTO EATING

Eating mindfully will change your relationship with food. We take our food for granted – we are so used to our routine that we forget how lucky we are to have access to delicious food. With mindful eating we are switching off autopilot and seeing our plates with new eyes. You are experiencing the meal like you have never had it before. You are tasting flavours as if it is the first time. You are regaining your love of food and your passion for eating, making it a pleasurable ritual instead of something that you do out of habit and often on the run.

SO HOW DO YOU DO IT?

1. Start by taking a few deep breaths to ground yourself. Breathe deep into the belly, inflating the belly like a balloon as you breathe in, and exhaling fully as you breathe out. Do this a couple of times before you tuck in.
2. When you sit down to eat take a moment to look at your food. Observe the colours, notice the different appearances of the foods and the patterns they create. Feel grateful that you get to indulge in something so delicious. Take a moment to smell your food, try to sense all of the different flavours you are about to eat.
3. Then, take a spoonful of food into your mouth and hold it there without chewing or swallowing. Simply hold the food in your mouth and notice the flavours and textures. Start to chew and continue until your food is completely turned to liquid before swallowing finally.

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