Consider this scenario: You're engrossed in your laptop, replying to emails, and all the while, you’re absentmindedly nibbling on your lunch. It's a familiar sight in our fast-paced lives, but when you do this, you miss out on the delightful flavors of your food. In such moments, you might eat more than your body requires, and consequently, your body may not experience the satisfaction it deserves.
Working on Laptop While Having Lunch; Photo Credit: Freepik
Mindful Eating – Eating with Awareness and Appreciation
Mindful eating is more than just consuming food; it’s about embracing the culinary experience. It's a chance to relish the moment, appreciate the flavors, and foster gratitude for the nourishment your meals provide. This practice encourages you to sync with your body's signals and helps you to make informed dietary choices that contribute to your overall well-being.
As we celebrate National Nutrition Month, it offers us a collective moment to reflect on the significance of our dietary choices. Let's uncover the magic of mindful eating – a pathway of relishing food that can make us feel happier, more connected, and healthier from within.
Step 1: Balanced Meals to Engage All Your Senses
Eating isn't just about taste; it's a multi-sensory experience. Engage all your senses – the vibrant colors, the enticing aromas, the varied textures – to truly immerse yourself in the pleasure of eating. Imagine your plate is a palette – the more colors you include, the stronger your immunity becomes. Each color signifies distinct nutrients that your body needs. Each food element like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and oils all work together to keep you healthy and protected. So make your meal balanced. Have some protein, fats, veggies, and a bit of carbs. Let your plate be divided into parts:
- A substantial portion is for colorful vegetables.
- The following segment presents protein, whether from plants or animals.
- A small part offers carbohydrates from wholesome grains and cereals.
Think about what you eat based on how much you move. If you sit a lot, be careful about overeating carbs, proteins, and fats. Balance your food with how active you are but don't skip meals. Your body needs balanced meals to get the energy and nutrients it needs.
Vegetable salad with boiled eggs; Photo Credit: Freepik
Step 2: The Connection: Food, Mind, and the Natural World
Mindful eating is a bridge connecting you to your food and the environment. In mindful eating, the focus shifts from measuring calories to measuring the outcomes – not just in terms of weight but in terms of your thoughts and feelings about food. Think about where your food comes from. Opt for healthier alternatives, organic, pesticide-free, unprocessed, ethically sourced treats that echo your commitment to a healthy lifestyle and a healthier planet.
Making small swaps in your diet can lead to significant health benefits. Try these simple swaps:
- Replace refined sugar with jaggery: Choose jaggery a traditional sweetener that helps tackle obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Avoid sugar-laden tomato ketchup and go for a jaggery-based alternative.
- Choose Healthier Fat: Opt for healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients found in nut butter. Avoid regular butter and choose nut butter.
- Millets over Maida Cookies: Replace the less nutritious maida cookies with cookies made with nutrient-rich millets and date palm jaggery a natural and healthier option compared to refined sugars.
- Healthy Snacks: Look for nutrient-rich snacks without refined sugars, oils, or flours.
- Regular Table Salt to Himalayan Salt: Make the switch to mineral-rich Himalayan salt.
- Dips & Sauces - Choose preservative-free and additive-free dips and sauces made from natural ingredients instead of those containing Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer and added sugars.
Step 3: Take Small Portions, Enjoy Small Bites, and Chew Well
Choose smaller packs or serve portions mindfully and savor them slowly. Chew your food slowly and savor the flavors, allowing the process of digestion to begin in your mouth. Listen to your body and assess if you need more once you've savored the first serving. This small act of mindfulness can help you avoid overeating and truly understand your body's cues for satisfaction.
Step 4: Eat When You're Calm
We often forget that our mood affects digestion. Emotions like anger and stress can alter the way our digestive system works. When we're relaxed, our body efficiently absorbs nutrients and supports our overall well-being. So choose a peaceful moment for meals.
Step 5: Stick to a Routine
Try to eat your meals at the same time each day. Eating at different times can confuse your body's internal clock. Having an early dinner, close to sunset, can help your body's natural rhythm. And Don't skip meals.
Breakfast Time; Photo Credit: Freepik
Step 6: Gratitude
Mindful eating nourishes both body and soul but this practice isn't just about nourishing yourself but also about appreciating food, the journey from farm to table, and aligning your choices with the natural world around you. Let's take a moment to express gratitude for every bite to Mother Nature and the farmers who grow the food. This simple act of gratitude can shift your mindset and enrich your eating experience. Check out Luke’s video on how to make gratitude work like medicine.
The Wisdom of Luke Coutinho
Luke Coutinho, co-founder of You Care Lifestyle echoes the philosophy of mindful living. Luke & You Care Lifestyle emphasize holistic well-being through clean-labeled, natural wellness products, aligning with mindful eating.
Thus, in the spirit of this National Nutrition Month, we embrace the process of building a habit of mindful eating. Happy National Nutrition Month!