Practice Mindful Eating Techniques

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Season 06
Season 06
Practice Mindful Eating Techniques
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Show Details

Today on this episode of CulturallyOurs let’s look at some tips and strategies on redefining our relationship with food and being more mindful around it to practice more healthy eating. Healthy eating is more than nutritious meals. Food is embedded in our very identity. It has the power to connect us to our culture, bring us together as people and a community, and help us socialize with one another.

Show Notes

In this episode of CulturallyOurs let’s look at some tips and strategies on redefining our relationship with food and being more mindful around it to practice more healthy eating. In the world where detox cleanses, picture perfect smoothies and fast diets are the norm, pursuing a healthy lifestyle may feel intimidating and overbearing. But eating healthy is more than just eating right – it is being mindful with all our sense, mind, body and soul.

The Transcript

In the world where detox cleanses, picture perfect smoothies and fast diets are the norm, pursuing a healthy lifestyle may feel intimidating and overbearing. The push to become better versions of ourselves with the mindset of ‘all or nothing’ can be demoralizing. Cheating days are penciled into our calendars and we long for the time when we can eat anything we want – using deprivation as reward. But mindfulness in our eating habits is not that hard as long as we change our mindset around food.

Most of us are aware that the nutrients in our food fuel the biological processes that are necessary to survive and that eating well promotes positive health outcomes. But the choice between eating to live and living to eat shouldn’t be our only two options. Healthy eating is more than nutritious meals. Food is embedded in our very identity. It has the power to connect us to our culture, bring us together as people and a community, and help us socialize with one another.

But you know what, we need to make peace with food instead of fearing it. We need to recognize that food is not only fuel but also a means to nourish the soul. We need to have a positive relationship with food to enables us to make healthier food choices. Eating is as much an act of self-care as is exercise and meditation.

Being mindful of the role food plays in our overall wellbeing is the first step to mindful eating beyond just eating to survive and get through the day. Today on this episode of CulturallyOurs lets look at some tips and strategies on redefining our relationship with food and being more mindful around it to practice more healthy eating.

While this week kicks off holiday season here in the US, with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukah with New Year’s soon to follow, most people are already stressing about all the extra weight that they know they are going to be adding on. Family gatherings, company of dear ones and of course lots of amazing food.

So how can we practice some mindful eating techniques that will leave us feeling satiated and happy but also not stressed about gaining weight. This is applicable not just during the holiday season but also throughout the year.

#1 Expand your food pallet  

Food can be the gateway to more adventure in your life. There are a multitude of cuisines to choose from. And even if you don’t have a particular cuisine in your hometown, pick up the ingredients needed to whip it up in your kitchen. Channel your inner wanderlust and learn about foods from different cultures though books or even cultural cooking shows. Experiment with a new recipe or pick up an ingredient you’ve never tried. Having a global pallet is educational far beyond what you read and what you cook. Take the time to learn more about the sources of your food and let it inform your food choices. Unleash your inner wonder and curiosity about what you eat and take a spin around the world in your own kitchen.

 

#2 Flex your foodie muscles

Whether you’re a beginner cook or a Julia Child protégé in the kitchen, mindful and healthy eating begins in the kitchen. Nurture a deeper connection with food by being in more touch with it every step of the way. Enjoy all aspects of the meal preparations from browsing for recipes, to buying ingredients to slicing and dicing. Being in touch with your food every step of the way brings forth appreciate for your food.

#3 Nourishing meals all day everyday

Good-for-you, nutritious food is at the heart of mindful and healthy living. Make sure that you are eating wholesome meals or snacks. Avoid processed foods. Instead load up on healthy, plant-based, sustainably farmed foods and vegetables. Know where your food is coming from is a step in the right direction to having a more mindful approach to what you feed your body.

Avoid fads and diets. Instead focus on what you can add to your diet instead of what you should restrict. Keep your routine simple. Find foods that work with your lifestyle.

#4 Eat with awareness and gratitude

Remember when your mother used to tell you to stop playing with your food and focus. Or maybe she told you to put down that book, get off your device and pay attention to what was in front of you on your plate. Well! Mom’s always know best. Science has shown that slowing down and letting food be the center of your attention is good for you and your stomach. But eating with awareness goes beyond paying attention. Sit down to eat your meal and delight in the moment. No matter where you are, in a restaurant, eating at your desk or even if you are at home, really taste your food. Savor it with all your senses and appreciate the meal in front of you.

Gratitude for all that life has to offer is a wonderful practice to incorporate in your everyday. This also extends to the food you eat. No matter what it is, being thankful for the opportunity to eat to satisfy your hunger is key. Not everyone in this world has that opportunity and expressing gratitude humbles us and appreciate all that we have even more. Even if saying grace at the dinner table is not your thing, close your eyes and say a thank you before you dig in. It calms you down and gets you in the mood to savor your meal.

#5 Don’t call it cheating, call it living

Your food choices don’t determine your worth. It is not about being perfect. Quitting sugar, laying off candy, saying no to chocolate cake, skipping that locally brewed beer forever might be a bit too harsh. Eating healthy does not mean military style disciplined food intake, unless you are doing it for medical reasons. Often, drastic changes aren’t necessary to live a healthy life and eating right for your body.

Worse yet, feeling guilty or ashamed of what you’ve eaten not only puts you at odds with your food, but with your own mental balance. Don’t give your body ultimatums or milestones to live life – Loose 5 pounds, then eat cake. Or go on a juice diet right before vacation to fit into that dress. Instead give yourself the permission to eat without judgment and truly enjoy what you eat, even the occasional treat. We love Lifetime Fitness Magazine – Experience Life. They share amazing wholesome recipes every month without publishing any calories or nutrition numbers. Their mantra of ‘food that is healthy and prepared with the right ingredients is always good for you and you are the best judge of what is good for your body’ is refreshing in a world obsessed with calories and weight. Focus instead on how your body feels and what your energy level is with each food you intake.

#6 Pay attention to your body, stomach, and mind

Learn how to recognize your hunger and satiety cues and let those cues guide you. They say that when you are dehydrated, you feel extremely thirsty. That’s a sign your body is giving you to get some fluids in and pronto. Similarly, when your stomach rumbles, that’s a sign that you have perhaps skipped a meal. Make sure that you reenergize with food when you are hungry instead of depriving yourself. Give your body what it truly needs and when it needs it. Make a routine and try to stick to it. If small periodic meals is for you, then do that. If limited number of larger meals is what your body needs, do that. You do you as far as meals and food for your body are concerned. Also learn to recognize when you use food as a tool to avoid a negative emotion or situation. Find out the reason for your hunger and address that appropriately.

Perhaps one of the most iconic people who made an impact on food and eating with the right mindset was Julia Child, author, chef and all-round food connoisseur. As Julia Child famously taught us

  1. Embrace the joy of cooking and eating
  2. Always demand fresh and real food
  3. Enjoy everything in moderation, but enjoy it
  4. Be open to new culinary experience
  5. Chill out in the kitchen

What about you? Do you practice mindful eating?

 

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