About Conscious Eating (AKA Mindful Eating)
In our crazy busy lives, how often do you sit at the table to eat your meal? I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but sometimes we need a reminder. We are more likely to eat in our cars or in front of the TV than at the table. Really, the table itself doesn’t hold the magic answer, but sitting down to eat reminds us to enjoy our food and to eat more slowly. Just by simply paying attention to our food without distraction, we improve digestion, eat less, and get more enjoyment out of our meal times. The fact that we have to eat and run is simply another indicator that we, as a society, are headed in the wrong direction. Our insatiable appetite for information and high-tech devices are impinging upon our ability to properly feed ourselves. By making the act of eating the primary activity, you increase your awareness to one of the most fundamental human necessities.
In modern society however, many people have negative associations with food. Instead of associating food with nutrition and energy, many people think primarily of convenience, calories and flavor. And while these factors do play a role in deciding which foods to choose, they cannot be the driving factors in your dietary plan. We were not born searching and craving heavily processed and refined foods. Small children, when exposed to appropriate food choices learn to ask for and desire what it is they need for optimum health.
Our behaviors, which cause us to overeat and consume bad food choices, are learned and therefore can be unlearned as well. For example, when my daughter moved from breast milk to solid foods, she developed a taste for the foods she was exposed to. It would sometimes take a few exposures for her to understand the new flavors of bitter and sweet, but what was interesting is that she would choose to eat certain foods according to their appropriate season. Granted, she could not even speak yet, but she could point to a food and then point to her mouth. When blueberries were in season for instance, she would gobble up an entire family-sized pack in a week. However, when the season was ending, she would refuse to eat them. Furthermore, when she was finally exposed to refined sugar, she was disgusted by it. During that ever-so-typical first-year photograph, my daughter was allowed to taste her birthday cake … she wanted nothing to do with it. It wasn’t until she was exposed to these treats time and time again that she began to develop a taste for these manufactured treats.
The holiday season is nearly over. Let’s get back to conscious eating once again and live more mindfully in 2015!