Mindful Eating is an approach that aims to focus attention on the act of eating in all its aspects: not only on the flavours, but also on the stresses that come from all the senses beyond taste, for example, from sight and smell. Great importance must also be given to the thoughts and emotions that emerge when we eat. This type of approach therefore offers a series of tools that can help those who have a complicated relationship with food, for example, those suffering from nervous hunger, or tend to overeat and then put on weight. Conscious eating can contribute to the sense of satisfaction that you feel at the table, and teach us to choose the most correct foods for that moment, so as to not only satisfy the appetite, but also the mind and the emotional sphere. Conscious eating means knowing the characteristics of different foods and building a correct and healthy relationship with what we put on the table.
WE LEARN TO KNOW OUR TASTE
Conscious eating means exploring different aspects of food and discovering what we really like or do not like. We take the habit of giving ourselves as much time as we need to our meal, focusing our attention on what we have on our plate. The first good practice, of course, is to remove all sources of distraction such as a TV which is turned on, the phone that rings or posts to be published on social media. Yes, instead of all this we should engage in a good conversation, with calm and relaxed tones. We try to appreciate all aspects of what we are eating, starting with colours, aromas, textures and tactile aspects, focusing on the changes we perceive in the flavor.
WE KNOW OUR HUNGER
As Jan Chozen Bays writes in his book “Mindful Eating – To rediscover a healthy and joyful relationship with food” there are nine different types of hunger that respectively concern the five senses followed by the stomach, cells, mind and heart. After satisfying the five senses through smells, colours, flavours and textures, the food begins to be absorbed with the chewing until we reach the sense of satiety. Conscious eating means paying attention to all these aspects and assessing how full our stomach is and how much food has satisfied our mental and affective need for food.
THE VALUE OF FOOD
Conscious nutrition also helps us to understand the value of what we eat, so much so that one of the first acts of mindful eating is to express gratitude for the food we have available. We are also invited to reflect on the role that different foods have in making our organism work, providing it with the “fuel” necessary. At the same time we become aware of how much we really need to eat to feel good and how much more food we tend to swallow for reasons that have nothing to do with the needs of nutrition.
EATING HEALTHY AND LOSING WEIGHT
When you recover the awareness of how important it is to choose the right “fuel” for our body, we will almost automatically start eating healthier. We will also learn to stop when we feel satisfied because we will be immediately aware of this feeling. The fact of eating the meal with slower and more relaxed rhythms, holding onto the table a few minutes longer at the end of the meal, will give the stomach time to transmit the feeling of satiety to the brain, which usually takes about twenty minutes to reach its destination. Wie will therefore learn to eat less, losing a few pounds of weight.
HELP FOR THE PLANET
Conscious eating also means shopping more carefully, preferring seasonal products, learning to read labels and recognising the meaning of acronyms and substances that are still mysterious until now. It also means discovering the origin of different foods and preferring those that are local and, perhaps, organic and free of pesticides, and more sustainable for the environment. And, we will also discover the importance of choosing foods with environmentally sustainable packaging and will make the separate collection of waste more accurately.