Say what? Mindful eating? Lately it seems this whole mindfulness craze has taken off to almost the ridiculous. Mindful eating? Really?
Well, yes, really. For me, mindful eating is a part of savouring life, slowing down and relishing in the moment. The practice of mindfulness means being fully present while recognizing and accepting thoughts, body sensations, and feelings then simply letting go as we reengage in the now.
Like other mindfulness practices, mindful eating is an opportunity to quiet the mind and body, observe and fully embrace the current moment. In this easy practice, we put our full attention on what we are about to eat.
I like to teach mindful eating with raspberries on the menu. These little gems are not only delicious and nutritious, they are a playground for the senses. I feel they are a perfect food to explore in an introduction to the practice. First, turn off the television and your devices. Devote your attention to the experience.
Set out a bowl of fresh raspberries. Begin by examining a single raspberry and taking note of this visually interesting fruit; the varying shades of it's colour, the little hairs (called pistils) and the texture. Gently feel the fruit, maybe with your eyes closed now so you can marry the visual information with the tactile. Now smell the berry. Maybe now you are starting to salivate, hold on for a moment longer. Rather than popping the berry in your mouth, have a nibble. Was there a sound? Is it juicy? Sweet? Tart? Now put the entire fruit in your mouth and savour the textures, sensations and tastes. Now, take another berry, and repeat.
Now that you have the basics, try mindful eating any meal. If you use utensils, include the touch and feel of the tools. Pay attention to the combination of flavours and any sensations that come up as you eat.
Take your time as you move through the stages of observation. I particularly love this raspberry exercise because it uses all the senses. I typically eat too quickly so when I remember to do so, I slow down and savour.
Turn mealtime into an opportunity to truly relax, a time to nourish your mind, body and spirit. Enjoy and bon appétit.
Be well and take care of yourself.