I am going to introduce some more non-recipe blog posts, from now on. Because let’s face it, food and nutrition is only ONE part of the healing equation. And it’s only ONE simple way to help us feel amazing. How we eat and how we live also have an impact on how we feel as much as what we eat and do. So I thought it was about time that I started writing about this too!
I really hope you will enjoy this new twist and addition to this space as much as I love sharing my musings and insights with you all. Again, thanks for being here and taking the time to read what I write.
Now let’s dive into this week’s topic!
HOW CAN MINDFUL EATING HELP US UP-LEVEL OUR LIVES?
My dear mentor Dr. Deanna Minich always says “How we eat is how we live and how we live is how we eat.”
But what does this really mean? Can our lifestyle really influence what we choose to eat? And can the food we eat affect how we feel?
I’m a big believer that it does work like this, and also that it is a two way dynamic dance between the two.
When we start looking at our relationship with food and eating in a more non-judgmental and curious way, keeping these words top of mind can serve as a guiding light to get us asking deeper questions.
What if you started asking yourself these questions?
Like, how does my living and lifestyle influence my food choices? And do these choices say something about how I care and value myself?
What if you were to start making your food choices from a new place, one out of selfcare and self love, rather than self judgment and self criticism? Because let’s face it, this is where often our desire to change comes from…
So what if you then start from where you are right now, using the symbology of how the food you eat represents how you live and let the curiosity of your answers become the beginning of a new journey of self discovery.
Perhaps you are fuelling yourself with fast food, take-aways, coffee and chocolate? Foods that are easy to access, quick to eat and provides us with short lived energy.
Perhaps you are living your life in the fast lane?
Or maybe you are struggling with lots of sugar cravings and it may not just be your blood sugar being out of balance causing these cravings, it may actually be an indication of a lack of “sweetness” in your life.
You may have heard of Mindfulness by now, and all the benefits of practicing mindfulness brings. But what is Mindful Eating? Mindful eating is when we bring the art of mindfulness to the table and use this practice with how we engage in the entire eating experience. And I’m a huge fan, as it can open so many doors of awareness, compassion and healing.
The Principles of Mindfulness are;
Deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally, in the present moment, and it is being aware of your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations, right here and now.
Mindfulness promotes balance, choice, wisdom and acceptance of what is.
Many of us are caught up in a never ending battle between body and mind when it comes to food and eating. This may be as a result of body dissatisfaction, numerous diets and other external influences on what we should and shouldn’t eat. Throwing in further nutritional information in to the equation can make knowing what to eat more confusing than ever.
How did this simple act, a total necessity, become so overwhelming and confusing?
This is where mindfulness and mindful eating comes in really handy, because with practice, mindfulness cultivates the possibility of freeing ourselves of reactive, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting. A very liberating thought… Just imagine that! And this is something you can practice with each and every bite you take!
The language we use can be a strong indicator of not only our relationship with food, but also ultimately a messenger to how we relate to ourselves and life. Listen in. How do you speak to yourself?
One I tend to hear all the time is “I was so good all week”. And then the last few days “I was bad and had x,y,z…” If we are speaking about ourselves as good and bad what we might find when looking a little closer is that shame and a lack of self worth could be lurking underneath.
When we bring mindful eating to the table, with awareness, compassion and curiosity we can let go of the judging of ourselves for the food choices we make.
This will allow us to see that the food we eat is just as it is. We are not morally better or worse than anyone else, depending of the food choices we make, nor are we less worthy of love and belonging based on what goes into our mouths.
With awareness we also get the space to see why we might eat the way we do. Maybe I’m not as addicted to sugar as I think? Maybe my cravings are a symptom of something else missing in my life and by directing my attention to fill this void with something that’s not food, it will not only diminish my cravings, it will also fill me with joy in a way a chocolate bar can never do.
When we bring non-judgmental presence to our eating experience, we give ourselves permission to return back to our root. To go back with trust and awareness of the inner knowing we all have, the inner wisdom of what we need to fuel our bodies with, to feel at our very best. But so many of us may have forgotten what this feels and sounds like, after being so accustomed to listen to external cues for most of our lives.
When we cultivate awareness around How and Why we eat, choosing the best food for fueling our bodies and desires, becomes so much easier.
I truly believe that by doing so we change our perception altogether and start making decisions from an entirely different place.
My own story with food and eating has been complex and complicated at times but it eventually lead me to a career change, a deeper appreciation for my inner wisdom and a closer connection with the Earth that nourish us all.
It took me ten years, traveling and living in three different countries before I finally found my way back to a peaceful relationship with food, eating and my body. From counting calories and bingeing, to learning and understanding how food and nutrition effects us both mentally and physically, to eventually using the kitchen as my creative outlet and growing some vegetables of my own. And now I am here writing about it, as well as working with people in a professional capacity to heal their own body and relationship with food and eating.
It’s been a journey, and it is a process. One that makes my life richer, more colourful and definitely less stressful!
So with this I want to leave you with five ways you can integrate mindful eating in your everyday life and experience all the benefits for yourself!
Don’t forget that if you don’t fuel your body, you’ll have no vehicle to drive your desires! So feed yourself with love in every way.
Five ways to use Mindful Eating up-level your life:
- Look at the symbology of your food choices. What are your food choices telling you about your living?
Are you consuming yellow, brown or fried foods? Are you craving sugar? Are you eating lots of colourful fruits and vegetables, fresh “live” foods?
- Use eating as your mediation practice
You eat many times every day, which means you get ample opportunities and time to practice. Staying with each bite, noticing the sensation of the food in your mouth, paying attention to your surroundings and even noting when your mind wanders off on a tangent, taking you away on a tangent, is all mindfulness practice.
- When you eat, be all there. (Or all here!)
Being fully present with the eating experience allows you to not only to easier notice if you are hungry, or full. It also gives you the opportunity to actually taste the food you are eating! Which will (hopefully!) bring more pleasure to the experience.
Plus, being present and slowing down when you are eating gives your digestive system a chance to deal with the food properly. Which in turn means less bloating and more energy.
- Get into the habit of asking yourself what it is you really need.
Sometimes we eat for a whole host of other reasons than hunger. When you catch yourself reaching for the biscuit tin, or the fifth cup of coffee, pause and ask yourself if it is food you need, or if it is something else? Perhaps you need comfort in a different way to deal with the emotions that you are experience. Maybe you are just tired and need a rest?
- Make food choices out of care and compassion for yourself.
Ponder this one and journal on what it may look like for you…
To get you started on your mindful eating journey I’m gifting you with a free copy of a guided mindful eating exercise.
Simply sign up below 🙂