Conscious Nutrition: The magic of eating with all your senses – while improving your health!
This isn’t some weird ritual that instantly works miracles, but rather a practice called mindful eating. And it proves to be more than just trendy for the sake of it. It is the most obvious, sensible, and easy way to carry out any type of eating, with concrete results reflected in overall well-being. Mindful eating re-educates the mind regarding proper eating behaviors. Ironically, it is precisely its simplicity that has made it a challenge. We have become masters of multitasking, doing a thousand things at once, including while we eat. Putting this technique into practice can make a huge difference in your health.
The relationship between mindful eating and mindfulness
* The term mindfulness is relatively new, established by a researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the early 1990s to reduce stress. However, it is based on a Zen Buddhist practice and became popular in the West thanks to meditative and relaxation techniques. (1)
* It helps ground the mind in the present moment, which may not sound like much because our modern life is hectic and overloaded with activities. We get used to living on autopilot, trying to accomplish everything all at once. This is fertile ground for stress to grow and build, feeding off our restlessness, acceleration, and worry.
* When we manage to quiet our mind, concentrating on the environment and sensations of the moment in which we find ourselves, everything begins to change. Mindfulness can help manage pain, ease into sleep, and reduce anxiety and depression, among others. However, it is not an instantaneous process. It requires practice to see the benefits, and those same principles apply to mindful eating. (2)
How does mindful eating help?
For centuries, those who practice this method as a way of life have touted health benefits, and today’s science is beginning to prove them:
* Calm eating while soaking in your surroundings allows better concentration, decision-making, and eating behaviors, helping eliminate other bad, life-long habits.
* It helps eliminate emotional eating, when we use food as an excuse to alleviate boredom, anger, frustration, or sadness. Mindful eating has been shown to have a great influence on weight control and obesity. (3)
* Although the purpose of mindful eating is not to lose weight, the fact remains that being connected to what we eat can create weight loss, weight maintenance, and reduce risk factors for a variety of health problems. (3)
* Mindful eating has been proven to help reduce disordered eating and motivate better food choices that unquestionably support well-being. (4)
* All this helps create a pathway of success for dieting or permanent eating style for the long term.
For these reasons, mindful eating is now being incorporated into eating habit treatments and therapies. (1)
Is there a specific type of diet we need to follow?
It doesn't matter which type of diet you follow or decide to try. This has nothing to do with calorie counting or dietary approach. You can choose vegetarianism, paleo, keto, Mediterranean... anything while eating mindfully!
What is the easiest way to achieve mindful eating?
People with moderate to severe eating issues require the assistance of a professional in the field, who can guide them according to their specific needs. However, below are some steps used in this technique: (1)
* Become aware of the experience of eating, making full use of all senses.
* Choose what to eat and when to eat. Don't eat for the sake of a schedule if you're not feeling hungry.
* Before reaching for food, drink a large glass of water first and wait a few minutes.
* In the meantime, ask yourself the question, “Why am I going to eat? Is it because I am truly hungry, or am I feeling bored, angry or sad?” If you recognize that something is making you feel uncomfortable, try another activity like watching a video you like, taking a short walk, going out in the sun, or playing with your pet. If you still want to eat afterwards, then go for it.
* Take some time to eat, finding a quiet place to enjoy the experience.
* Before tasting your food, close the computer, shut down the TV, and turn off the volume of your cell phone notifications. Don't tempt yourself to watch funny videos while eating. Leave this time for eating and eating ONLY. This will also help you eat less. (5, 6)
* Select foods according to what you want: momentary pleasure, or added benefit to your body, such as more antioxidants.
* Prepare a small portion of diverse foods. Taste them one by one, looking at their color and appearance, inhaling their scent, feeling their texture, and savoring each bite. Make the most of every bit of fuel you put into your body.
* Don't rush. Chew well and allow the food you are eating to process. How do you feel after eating it? Do you need more?
With practice, making better food choices like incorporating good quality proteins, probiotics, anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric, more fiber, and drinking enough water can easily become your daily routine naturally. Mindful eating ensures that ingesting food becomes part of an experience that makes us feel truly alive!
Every day, more and more people (and nutrition professionals) join the list of fans of conscious eating. They see a huge window to better health markers with a real, organic, and functional commitment to habit forming. Try mindful eating and enjoy bite by bite with all your senses, eating with purpose!
Let's be healthier together.
Your Santo Remedio Team
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