How we eat is even more important than what we eat.
Fast food is not confined to a Big Mac and fries.
It’s also the way we gulp down a green smoothie or cram in a veggie burger.
Many of us have a relationship more complicated with food than our least favorite ex. It is time to turn the tables and develop a happy, healthy, slow and satisfying relationship with food.
Here’s a guide on how to enjoy our meals with every bite instead of punishing, or depriving ourselves:
Preparing to Eat
“Before a man eats, four conditions should exist in the environment. If these conditions are not met, then it is better for a man to remain hungry. First of all, he should be surrounded by a calm and quiet atmosphere. Secondly, he should be under no mental or physical pressure. Thirdly, the food he is about to eat must be properly cooked with all the ingredients. Lastly, there should be enough time in which to eat gracefully. Your life will be long and your power will be great if you taste every morsel of the food you eat.” ~ Yogi Bhajan
Prepare yourself for an experience. Find a quiet setting free of distraction where you can take your time and blissfully enjoy every little nibble of your food.
Indulge the five senses. Take your food in with your eyes, and then slowly, breathe in the aroma of what you are about to enjoy. If you are eating with your hands, feel the textures and curves of your food.
Research has shown that those who overeat derive less pleasure from their food. They actually eat more in the pursuit of pleasure. Slow down. Take in your food with all of your senses and through your enjoyment, you will actually stimulate your metabolism.
Before getting ready for the first bite, I personally like to think of where the food came from and bless all the people who were involved in the process from getting it to the farm to my plate. After all that is done, it’s time to engage the tastebuds.
“Now, I will tell you something about food. Just put up a little sign on the table that says: ‘My stomach has no teeth.’ Do you understand? If even one-tenth of your food goes from your mouth into the body without saliva, it will create disease.” ~ Yogi Bhajan
How to Chew
There are many benefits to chewing our food. Digestion really begins with the mouth as saliva helps us absorb nutrients, but there are also many other advantages to chewing mindfully. Natural health expert Dr. Mercola has outlined seven reasons to slow down and chew:
- Nutrient Absorption and Energy. You absorb more nutrients, and therefore energy from your food. The “bioaccessibility” of the food’s energy is enhanced when you chew.
- Weight Loss. Because it takes our brains about 20 minutes to realize that we’re full, when we take longer to chew, we take longer to eat. Therefore, eat what we need instead of eating out of greed.
- Let’s Hear It For the Enzymes. Saliva had digestive enzymes that saturate the food and helps to predigest the food. This means your body takes less time digesting and you can harness and dedicate your energy to other priorities.
- Your Teeth Benefit. Chewing helps to strengthen the teeth and swishes away some of the bacteria that likes to hang out around and cause plaque and tooth decay.
- Less Bacteria in the Intestines. If you don’t chew properly and a chunk of food goes down the shoot, it can sit there in your intestines and attract bacteria. The bacteria leads to poor gut health (gas, diarrhea, bloating, etc.)
- You Enjoy Your Food. By taking your time to slow down, you get to enjoy the experience of eating by chewing more. Savor the texture, the smell, the tastes.
How To Chew From Dr. Mercola:
> Instead of inhaling your taco or whatever it is you have on your plate, mindfully take smaller bites.
> Slow down and chew steadily.
> Keep chewing until the food is liquefied.
> Finish chewing and then swallow completely before digging in for another bite.
> Also, wait to drink any fluids until after you swallowed completely.
Treat your body as a temple, with food being the sacred offering. Enjoy the delectable pleasure of eating mindfully. You’ll eat less and enjoy more.
Eating with devotion rather than mindset of deprivation can be a key ingredient to a much more satisfying and bliss-filled life in the here and now.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Kristi Kremers
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: hobvious sudoneighm/Flickr