Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health, and Society says: “Mindfulness is a love affair with life and a gateway into the full dimensionality of being human.” This applies to all areas of your life including how you choose to nourish your body.
This month we will take you from the macro (how to make ethical and healthy choices about food) to the micro (how food moves through your digestive system). When you begin to be mindful of food in this holistic way, it will lead to better health and a more profound connection with your food and your world.
At its most basic, eating is what humans do to satisfy hunger. Although, in our food-obsessed culture, eating is a loaded activity that comes with a host of emotional, social, physiological, spiritual, and environmental baggage. Not surprisingly, some of us rely on food to fill us up emotionally as well as physically. Let’s face it, we live in a culture that encourages us to eat and drink. For anyone who loves eating out or entertaining, it can be difficult to follow strict dietary guidelines. Plus, the temptation of junk food is everywhere. It’s fast, cheap, quick, and easy to eat at fast food restaurants.
In Michael Pollan’s books The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Food Rules, and his most recent Cooked, he points out that three times a day you are able to express your values through your food choices. So how do you bypass all of the unhealthy cultural messages you are bombarded with? One way to do this is to learn to eat mindfully. Mindful eating is eating with intention. It’s about slowing down and being conscious of the effect food has on your body. When you eat mindfully, you learn to enjoy food the way it is meant to be enjoyed rather than just trying to fill a void. You choose foods that truly support your body. This approach inevitably leads to developing a healthier relationship with your food and puts you in the right frame of mind; your body will feel the benefits. Eat slowly and focus on what you are eating. Chew your food until it is liquefied and think about how every mouthful is nourishing your body. Smell it, savor the taste, and enjoy the experience. Your mindset is extremely important.
Michael Pollan believes “cooking is an expression of love” and “meals are sacred occasions” where you should honor the sacrifice of the food you are about to eat. It’s a good idea to take a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth to prepare your digestive system for the food your body is about to metabolize. It lowers those stress hormones whose goal is to encourage you to store fat when you eat. You certainly don’t want that.
By being mindful of the foods you buy, the brands you choose, and the stores you shop in, you become part of a groundswell of people who are striving to stop the unscrupulous food producers, pesticide manufacturers, and GMO proponents from severing our vital connection to nourishing foods.
Tune in next week to learn more about the foods in the world around you. And enjoy this complementary recipe, meant to be eaten slowly and enjoyed to it’s maximum!
Health Coach Rita Thomas and Chef Erin Holm hope to inspire families, friends and communities to live happier, healthier and more delicious lives.
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