Mindful Eating

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

                                                                    Photo:nuchylee

You are sitting down at a table, with a huge plate of turkey, cranberry stuffing, corn, and mashed potatoes.I’m sure your mouth is watering just from reading those words.You can smell the aroma coming from the warm plate of food.You look at the colors, the texture, imagining the flavor, engaging all your senses.You put the food on your fork and take a closer look, imagining all the food as it was before it became this delicious meal.You place a forkful into your mouth and instead of chewing and swallowing right away; you savor the bursts of flavor, breaking down each individual flavor and texture into different components.You picture the salivary amylase, breaking down the carbs.Do you taste sugars?Fats?Salts?What does it feel like in your mouth?Is it hard, soft, chewy, sticky?And then, after deep contemplation, you swallow the food, picturing it traveling down your esophagus, into your stomach, where it gets broken down into fragments, to your intestines where all the nutrients that make up this delicious feast get absorbed for use by your body.Instead of putting another forkful into your mouth, you place it down on your plate and take a break.

So what did you just do?This practice is called mindful eating.An article by the New York Times claims that by practicing this at each meal, you can avoid binge eating. It is a new practice that encourages diners to mediate with their food and enhances consciousness by literally evaluating each piece of food that enters your mouth and keeps you in the present, focusing on just the meal, nothing else. You don’t focus on your next math exam, or the amount of homework you have to do, just the meal. Experiments around mindful eating have been performed at the Harvard School of Public Health all the way to the California campus of Google. This mindful eating technique could battle the fast pace lives that we live and combat fad diets that are not helping our obesity epidemic.

This technique is not dieting.Mindful eating is all about experiencing food.It creates a pleasurable and positive relationship with food.You are allowed to eat a cheeseburger and by practicing mindful eating you may discover that you actually don’t even like them, or that in fact, you enjoy them much more!You will give your body the time to decide if it wants to finish the entire cheeseburger or if it is satisfied and time for some leafy greens.A pediatrician and meditation teacher from Oregon, Dr. Jan Chozen Bays, calls it the anti-diet.She believes that we are completely unmindful or unconscious of what we are doing when we eat and that Mindful eating can create a healthy relationship with food.You must think, “What’s on my mind when I am eating?” The key to this practice is to just eat.Don’t watch TV, don’t study, don’t check Facebook, and don’t tweet all while eating.Just Eat.

When people binge eat, and just shovel the food into their mouths, you eat a lot of it and you will not feel full.Mindful eating is combatting consciousness . “So many people now have found themselves in an adversarial relationship with food, which is very tragic,” says Dr.Bays, “Eating should be a pleasurable activity.

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