Practicing Mindfulness While Eating “When we eat we usually think. We can enjoy our eating a lot more if we practice not thinking when we eat. We can just be aware of the food. Sometimes we eat and we’re not aware that we’re eating. Our mind isn’t there. When our mind isn’t present, we look but we don’t see, we listen but we don’t hear, we eat but we don’t know the flavor of the food. This is a state of forgetfulness, the lack of mindfulness. To be truly present we have to stop our thinking. This is the secret to success.”–Thich Nhat Hanh The purpose of eating mindfully is to connect yourself to the food in front of you. It is important to be in a relaxed state of mind so your body is focused on ingesting the meal, experiencing what is in front of you and allowing the nutrients to be absorbed to their greatest capacity. Eating with mindfulness means avoiding ingesting stress, anxiety and unrest of a distracted mind. The calmness and presence we cultivate from eating mindfully will help us to enjoy life more as well. We will be more present with others and ourselves, which is where peace and joy reside. We don’t need to eat a lot to feel nourished. When we are fully there and alive for every morsel of food, we eat in a way that each bite fills us with peace and happiness. If we are full of this joy, we may find that we naturally feel satisfied with less food.
Slow Down and Open to Spirit
(adapted from the Mystic Cookbook by Denis and Meadow Linn)
Look at the presentation of the meal. Embrace the colors, textures, and aromas. Relish all of it!
Take time to be grateful to the Creator and to those who grew the food, picked it, transported it, sold it, and prepared it. Every meal has a story to tell.
Take the first bite. Put down your fork and slowly chew, savoring the nuances of flavor the way that you would savor a fine wine.
Only after you’ve swallowed the first bite, take another. Be present and focused. Taste and smell the food.
Remember to breathe deeply and relax as you eat.
Allow more time for eating.
As often as you can, eat without reading, watching television, working on the computer, texting, talking on the phone, or e-mailing.
After the meal, spend a few moments being still before jumping up to do the dishes or put the food away. Quiet your mind, open your heart and listen to the whispers of your soul.
Affirmations Affirmations are a great way to align the food you are eating with what you intend to ingest. Your body believes your mind, so by using affirmations when cooking and eating, you can “charge” your food with whatever energy you want, which ultimately “charges” your body.
Some examples of affirmations: The food I consume provides me with all the nutrients I need at this time (to nourish my brain). My body has the amazing capacity to turn the food I eat into radiant vitality (while also providing my brain with ample energy). The food I eat renews and revitalizes every cell in my body (to also help regenerate my brain). This food is filled with the life force of the Creator, which surges through my entire body with each bite I take.
“While we eat, we can try to pay attention to just two things: the food that we’re eating and our friends who are sitting around us and eating with us. This is called mindfulness of food and mindfulness of community. Eating mindfully, we become aware of all the work and energy that has gone into bringing the food to us. If we are eating with others, we can notice how wonderful it is that during this sometimes hectic life we can find the time to sit together in a relaxed way like this to enjoy a meal. When you can breathe, sit and eat together with your family or friends in mindfulness, this is called true community-building.”–Thich Nhat Hanh