Mindful Meals

My market post for this week…

It’s 6:30, you just got home from work, you’re starving, and your family is too.  You throw together whatever you can find in the fridge and call it dinner.  You and the family sit down to eat at 7:00, you wolf down your food and are out the door to a meeting at 7:10.  Sound familiar?

This is a common occurrence in many homes today.  We feel pressure from many sides, and are often rushing around trying to get it all done.  Unfortunately this also includes cooking and eating.  We stuff down our food without thinking, or while watching TV or even while working.  This type of “mindless” eating can lead to overeating or eating the wrong foods.

All the while, most of us are trying to lose a few pounds too, so we often go between starving and restricting our eating to overeating or bingeing.  It’s been shown that most of the time traditional diets do not work, and the pounds shed during times of restriction are gained back quickly after one goes back to their regular diet.  Often a few extra pounds are gained back too, because restricting intake causes the metabolism to slow down.

Enter “mindful eating”, a new perspective on diet and eating.  The principles of mindful eating stem from Buddhist teachings and involve eating almost as a meditation, paying close attention to all the properties of each bite of food taken.

mindful

This of course involves turning off the TV, closing the computer, sitting down, and eating slowly.  The goal is to savor the taste, texture, and temperature of each food physically, while also taking notice of the effects the food has on our emotional self too.  Mindful eating is not a diet but quite the opposite; giving a person permission to eat whatever foods they are hungry for in the amount that is satisfying to them.  This might sound crazy to some people, but research has shown that it works.

When eating in a mindful, conscious way, we ask ourselves, “Is this what my body needs?  Am I eating this because I am hungry, or just tired and stressed?”  By asking  these questions when we are about to eat that second slice of cake, we can not only have a moment to check in with our selves, but also a moment to find an honest answer that will probably lead us to NOT eat that slice of cake, and feel perfectly satisfied with the first one we ate. That is if we ate it slowly and savored it, instead of wolfing it down while watching TV.

By slowing down and eliminating distractions when we are eating, we are much more aware of our food and therefore need less of it to feel satisfied.  We are able to tune in to our bodies cues of when we are still hungry or when we are full and to think just about the food, perhaps where it came from, who grew it. This mindfulness about what we are eating and why we are eating it is what experts say may keep us from overeating or eating for the wrong reasons.

Of course there will still be meals on the run at times.  But I urge you to give mindful eating a try.  Sit down, eat slowly, focus only on the food, and savor each bite.  See what happens.

For more information visit the Center for Mindful Eating.

Edible Rainbow

Here is the link for my recipe for this week, Broccoli Quinoa Pilaf.  Have I told you how much I love quinoa?  I love quinoa.  I didn’t make the cod in this recipe, and all the reviews said it was just OK.  I’d skip it.

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