How to Eat Mindfully
So often we eat without thinking. We stuff food into our mouths while working on the computer, watching TV, or on the run. Become aware when you eat by slowing down and fully experiencing all elements of food. Take some time to explore the following points at your next meal and notice the difference.
View: Look at your food and appreciate the colors and placement on your plate. Imagine how it has grown to get there and all the care it has taken to be here to nurture you.
Odor: Bring the food to your nose. Be prepared for its aroma. Describe it in words.
Physiological Response: Before your food enters your mouth, you notice saliva being produced in your mouth. There is a mind/body phenomenon in how the senses respond to the anticipation of food.
Touch: Touch your lips with a forkful and feel the sensations. Allow your tongue to absorb the food.
taste: After becoming aware of the food in your mouth, start biting into it very slowly. Then start chewing. Notice the automatic way the tongue decides which side of the mouth to chew on. Focus your attention on your mouth and take a few bites. Stop to see what’s happening. Verbalize the taste explosion that you experience. Is it sweet or sour or juicy? There are hundreds of words to describe the taste experience.
Texture: With further chewing, the taste changes as well as the consistency. At a certain point you become aware of the texture of the food because most of the flavor is gone. If the texture evokes dislike, you may want to swallow it, but try to keep it in your mouth.
Swallow: Stick to impatience and the innate impulse to swallow. Do not swallow until you feel the impulse to do so. After swallowing, imagine the bite going into your stomach, feel your whole body, and acknowledge that your body now has exactly one more bite of food.
breath: Next, stop for a moment or two and experience your breath. Give your breath the same attention you paid to seeing, touching, smelling and tasting food.
Be silent: Be silent. At this point you have been meditating on that bite. Bring more mindfulness to all aspects of your life. Observe, be there, and life becomes more and more alive!
You can use this approach on another person by bringing the food close to their mouth, but not all the way into their mouth. You can even massage her lips with the food to see what happens. The main thing is to have fun, learn something and understand yourself better. Mindful eating will do wonders to nourish your body and improve your health.
Thanks to Carla C. Hugo