Food is not just food. Food is nourishment to our body and to our soul. It creates connectedness between ourselves and nature, between ourselves and other people. Eating is social, cultural, emotional and is crucial for our health.
But how many of us just rush to grab something quick. I am not only talking about fast junk food, but also healthy homemade granola bars on the go or a piece of fruit for a quick snack.
How many of us take time to be thankful and feel connected to our food? How many of us forgets eat mindfully? I know I am guilty of this. However, lately I am really working on mindful eating, focusing on, observing and being thankful for my food, nourishing my body and my mind at the same time.
But what does mindful eating mean? It means that we respect our food, we feel connected to it, we eat natural whole foods that our bodies meant to eat, we make sure we eat regularly, we make sure take time to eat, and most importantly, we stay in the present moment while eating.
How does mindful eating look like? It is a simply process that can be described in 9 easy steps.
- Hold it in your hand. Feel your food in your hand. If it is a soup or very hot, hold the plate in your hand or hold a spoonful of it.
- Observe it. How does it look like? What color is it? What does it remind you of?
- Touch it. Or perhaps stir into it with a spoon or a fork. What texture it is? What is the surface like?
- Smell it. How does it smell like? How does this smell make you feel?
- Put it into your mouth. Do not swallow it yet. Just feel the texture in your mouth.
- Taste it. Is it sweet? Sour? Bitter? Salty? Bland? How does this taste makes you feel like?
- Chew it. Chewing is an important step of digestion. Chew it slowly at least twenty times.
- Swallow it. Observe what happens in your body. Wait a few moments before the next bite.
- Observe. Observe how your body and mind reacts to the food. Feel connected to your food. Be grateful for the nourishment.
You see, mindful eating is not difficult, but it does take effort, patience and practice. But it is totally worth it.
Who wants to rock this mindful healthy eating things with me?
(The picture above was taken on an olive farm in Turkey where I was volunteering in 2012. The village women cooked borek for us often, a typical Turkish dish, which may not be the healthiest, certainly not the lightest but certainly gave the best nourishment of our soul. We felt connected to our food, to each other, to other cultures (having international volunteers working alongside with locals), to nature (both through the food and being in nature), to nature and to the universe (by being thankful for our food and our beautiful surrounding. While you may not be eating Turkish borek on a beautiful farm right now, you can certainly practice mindfulness and mindful eating whereever you may be.)