What is mindful eating?

The word mindful eating has become commonplace.  But what does it actually mean?

Here is my definition.

What is mindful eating?

The word mindful can be replace with the word, reflection, consideration or awareness.

Mindful eating is seeking to raise your awareness of:

  1. What you eat?
  2. Why you eat?
  3. How you eat?
  4. When you eat?
  5. The consequences of your eating choices.

We are what we eat?

You may have heard we are what we eat.  To an extent this is true, however I could also say we are what we think, what we do and why we do things.

We cannot control all that happens in life.  Life ebbs and flows, sometimes it seems easy and other times it seems more challenging.  However whether your life is at an ebb or flow I believe there is one constant.  Our ability to exercise choice, to make a decision as to what we will eat, what we will think and what we will do.

So it is your power of choice I am appealing to.  My aim is to encourage you to make food choices that will:

1.  Tantalise your tastebuds.

I believe food is to be enjoyed.  It looks good, smells good, tastes good and makes us feel good.  Your choice is to decide which of these sights, smells, tastes and textures you would like to enjoy.

And food is often at the heart of our social and family occasions.  It is interwoven into so many elements of our rituals and celebrations.

2.  Nourish your body. 

Our bodies run 24hrs, 365 days a year, they are amazing and they need our time and attention to keep them being amazing.

Food is like petrol is to a car, it fuels our energy systems.

However it also provides your body with nutrients and building blocks to run, repair, maintain and replace/grow your body’s 11 body systems.

3.  Bring your focus to the food you are eating/drinking.

Did you know, research indicates those who focus on what they eat in a meal are less likely to overeat.

Did you chewing your food gives you the best opportunity for digesting your food and extracting all the nutrients you need from it?

Did you know taking time to eat your food (i.e. not inhaling it on the run) will give your body the best opportunity to send signals to tell you when you have eaten enough.

4.  Nourish your body, improve your health and help protect the wonderful planet we inhabit. 

The food choices we make have implications beyond our health, they also impact our environment and this wonderful planet we inhabit.

For example a simple decision to reduce your meat intake can help reduce green house gases and the bonus is you may improve your health.

A decision to buy fresh fruit and veg from a farmers market, enables the markets to thrive and grow.  To ensure they are available as an option to access quality fruit and veg.

5.  Make a long term commitment to your health – an example is reducing/moderating your meat intake.

I seek to support health promotions that I believe promote long term healthy eating habits.  One of these is Meat Free Week.

As a nutritionist I am on the expert panel for Meat Free Week, run each year.  For 2015 it is being run 23rd to 29th March.  I encourage you to get on board.

I also encourage you to consider what long term habits will help you improve your health.  In regard to meat you can one meat free day a week.  It will help you moderate/reduce your overall meat intake, and I know it will encourage you to seek out and learn about more foods, more great plant foods that will add variety to your eating plan.

Enjoy your food.

ciao Jan