How long has it been since we’ve had our meal in a very relaxed, engaging manner – with no disturbance, no hurry and hassle, no phone or TV or computer screen before us, no deadlines to cover, no work or life stress, just concentrating on what we eat, savouring the scrumptious food on our plate, and having a good time enjoying our meal? Do we even remember what all we have eaten in a day, let alone the sensation and taste of what the food was like? The crunched-up life of today’s millennials with a huge pile of work to do and too little time on their hands has led to a lot of compromising on leisure time, and the first to be consumed up in this process is the time they set aside to ‘sit and eat’ a healthy, filling meal. We see people eating fast food at snack corners, restaurants, food trucks, and one of the reasons is that they do not get adequate time to prepare their meals at home. For the very busy and buzzing ones, well, they have their food while on their way to the workplace or gobble it up while working. In all this chaos, we have forgotten to practice ‘mindful eating’, which not only constitutes taking out time to consume our food but also a way of being attentive about what and how we eat and assimilating the food with total consciousness and attention. Since food is a basic necessity for survival to humans, aesthetic eating is equivalent to aesthetic living, a happy and contented way to live life. Adding to this, the pandemic situation has compelled us to think over this daily situation and the food we eat is the prime thrust to boost our immunity.
What is mindful eating?
Experts describe mindful eating as paying attention to our food, on purpose, moment by moment, without judgement and getting complete experience of the food we consume. Mindful eating does not refer to counting calories, fats or carbs, but is the creation of a high level of awareness about our eating practices and this goes beyond the individual. Generally, mindful eating leads to healthier choices about our diet though it is not directly related to weight-loss driven diets, maybe due to the conscience we tend to have while eating. This also helps us to track our meal from farm to fork, as we involve ourselves totally at every step of the process like buying, preparing, serving and consuming it. Ideally, mindful eating can be applied to a wholesome Mediterranean diet with balanced proportions of all the macro and micronutrients, but applying it to our daily diet also can actually lead to us eating proper and nutritious portions of food, no more or less. This may have a direct impact on our digestive system and gut health, which in turn has a positive effect on the overall body functions and longevity of life. As they say, a healthy mind resides in a healthy body! So, mindful eating might have an impact on our mental health and help us stay alert and aware of our surroundings.
All in all, mindful eating is a technique that helps us gain control our eating habits and recognize the essence of the food we eat. Mindfulness has been said to be a form of meditation, awakening all our senses and rejoicing in the practice of putting our whole mind to a single task. In a way, mindful eating also encompasses how what we eat affects the world, and can help us switching to more environment-friendly alternatives. This spiritual ritual of eating good and right will definitely go a long way in promoting physical and mental well being and help us find our quiet place in the clutter of the world!