Eating mindfully: how to do it and the benefits

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Mindful eating is described as an approach that focuses on an individual’s sensual awareness of the food and their experience of eating that food.  In crude terms, it’s about getting more bang for your buck! But how do we incorporate mindful eating into our daily life?

Clinical nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares her three top tips for on how to eat mindfully. 

 

 

Think about what’s on the plate

This, of course, is an obvious starting point.  How many times do we just eat for the sake of eating or because we’re so ravenous it’s the first thing that we find in the fridge or cupboard? Many of us are incredibly time poor, so meal planning is just another one of many daily jobs. However, keep it simple and acknowledge the nutritional value of what’s on the plate.

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For example, if you’ve managed to find the ingredients to quickly prepare a colourful Greek or caprese salad, you’ll be able to rapidly notice the range of colours within the dish.  Every food colour provides specific and plentiful nutrients.  Therefore, trying to get colour variety on the plate is really important from a nutritional perspective. 

Looking at a bland plate of jacket potato with baked beans on the top is not very inspiring. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with these foods, why not add a colourful side salad to bring it to life?

Chew thoroughly

The digestive system is incredibly complex. Intricately bound up in this activity is the process of chewing.  Essentially, chewing is the first line of physical food breakdown using our teeth, but chewing is also a signal to the digestive system down below. Slow and steady is the order of the day.

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Essentially, whilst we’re chewing a series of hormones and enzymes are being prepared for us to digest and absorb the food efficiently.  How many times have you wolfed down a meal only to regret it a while later?  This is because if you cheat on the chewing, the body doesn’t have the chance to do its work. 

Chew every mouthful around 30 times if possible; your digestion and future health will be rewarded. Importantly, it’s whilst you’re chewing that the opportunity to embrace mindful eating appears.  Really think (and hopefully, enjoy) each and every mouthful, acknowledge the taste and also the texture. The good thing is that in order to eat mindfully, it’s impossible to do so ‘on the run’ or quickly.

Feel the nutritional benefit of food

Food is one of life’s wonderful pleasures.  It’s also nature’s way of maintaining life on earth via the fuel and nutrients the food provides.  If you’ve never considered it before, remember that the body needs around 45 different nutrients daily (including water) to enjoy optimal wellness.  Therefore, whilst eating food, really take a moment (whilst you’re chewing thoroughly) and throughout the meal, to imagine each mouthful nourishing your body and providing health and vitality.

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Every single nutrient plays a part within the complex biochemical balance of the human body.  For example, the mineral zinc fulfils around 200 different enzyme reactions.  So, eating mindfully is also about providing what the body needs to keep it working as we want it to.  Your body works hard for you, so make sure you show it some love back.

Enjoy the sensory experience that mindful eating will bring at every meal.

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All images: Shutterstock

 

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