A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the fear of food and how having a digestive condition can create this fear & disordered eating. This post, I suppose, is a bit of a sequel to that to help you change your relationship with food, put the fear aside and see food in a totally different & healthier light.
I'm sure you've heard the term 'mindfulness' recently as there is a big focus on it in the health space at the moment. The term 'mindfulness' simply defines the act of bringing your focus & attention to the present moment. It can be practiced in any situation, at any time, in anyplace. for the purpose of this blog post, I’m focusing specifically on mindful eating and how powerful this technique can be, particularly for someone with digestive issues or a compromised relationship with food.
Mindful eating is all about paying close attention, without judgement, to foods, the actual act of eating and all the sensations that go with it. It does require a little focus but once you get the hang of it I promise it will change your relationship to food, your body and your health.
Eating is a ritual and so much of our culture is about food and enjoying a meal with the people we love. So why can't we create that same joyful ritual every time we eat? We can! And we should! Healthy, wholefoods are the most valuable gift the Universe & Mother Nature has given us so let's appreciate every meal, every snack and every bite! Below are some tips you can follow to create your own ritual and practice of mindful eating…
Prep time: Get excited about your healthy meal! While you prepare your meal notice & enjoy all the smells and make it look pretty & appetising on the plate. This helps to stimulate the vagus nerve and gets your digestive juices & enzymes flowing for easier & better digestion.
Space: Sit down to eat and create a comfortable & relaxing environment for your meal without distractions like TV, computers or social media.
Relax & Breathe: Take 3 deep breaths & consciously relax all the muscles of your stomach, throat and your mouth. When your tummy muscles are tense they can't properly digest your food.
Prayer: If you are into prayer then you can say little prayer (silently or aloud) here to whoever you see as 'God'. I like to silently thank the Universe for providing me with clean & healthy food.
Take your time! Don't rush your meal. You can do this by putting your fork down after each bite and chew until it is fully dissolved & swallowed.
Enjoy every bite: Focus your attention on tasting all the flavours. You can even close your eyes to do this (it might sound silly but seriously, try it), it really helps you focus on the flavours without other distractions.
Imagine the Nutrients: With every bite imagine all the cells in your body lighting up & getting excited about all the nutrients they are about to receive and use.
Visualise the Energy & nutrients from the food flowing through your body like a golden light touching all the cells in your body even your skin cells!
Rest & digest: Give yourself some time after you eat to rest & digest and appreciate your delicious & healthy meal. Remember Food = Life!