Most of us have heard of mindfulness which allows us to focus our attention on the present moment, its used as a way to reduce stress or as a relaxation technique, and is a form of meditation.
What if we could use this technique to appreciate our food and celebrate the joy of eating?
My daughter is on touring holiday in Japan and has been sending pictures of her meals and the gorgeous countryside.
I have been blown away by the beautiful presentation of her traditional Japanese dishes. Each small dish is presented in a stunning bowl and almost looks too good to eat. The whole dining experience from arriving at the table through to the end of meal is almost theatrical and each act of the play/dish brings a more tantalising part of the show/meal. A celebration of slow eating.
In the real world, most of us don’t have time to prepare our meals like this. It’s either a quick breakfast before heading out the door, a bite to eat at lunch or eating dinner when we are tired after a long day at work or study.
I’m guilty of this as well. My daughter’s experience in Japan got me to thinking about how tuned out I’ve become, not savouring each mouthful and thinking about the tastes and feel of the food in my mouth.
Moving forward, my goal is to be more mindful of my eating.
Being realistic, this may not involve all my meals however if I can incorporate mindful eating into one of my meals per day, it might then allow me to do the same for all food that I consume.
These are my mindful eating goals:
- Recognise hunger – am I eating just because it is time for lunch/dinner. Learn to know the signs of hunger, am I just thirsty?
- Share food with others and try not to be distracted by the TV or other media.
- Think about each mouthful – how does it taste? What is the texture? Slow down and chew food well before swallowing.
- Before reaching for a second helping, am I still hungry? Do I really need to eat more food? Can I save the leftovers for tomorrow?
- Be mindful of where the food came from. If it’s meat, remember and be grateful for the food production process – paddock to plate. Vegetables/fruit – try to picture the farm, harvesters and all those involved in getting produce to market.
- Always be thankful for the availability of beautiful produce and raw ingredients to include in meal preparation.
- Use a special plate or serving bowl, usually kept for “good”. Presentation is everything, pretend to be a food stylist. Have a look on the internet at what the experts do, how do they make their food look so appetising.
If I achieve these goals (at least once per day) I’ll be happy.
For us all – food is to be celebrated. So many times our meals are out of a cardboard box, have no taste or after finished we have no recollection of what we just ate.
We should all appreciate the pleasures of eating good food at least once per day – be a mindful eater.