Savor Your Food While Helping Your Digestive Tract: The Art of Mindful Eating in NYC
It’s no secret that living in NYC takes a lot of time and a lot of stress! So many of us run around like headless chickens from points “A” to “B”, seemingly not even fathoming what we’re doing or how we’re doing it—just doing it! Lost in our hectic shuffle is what we eat and how we eat it.
My friends from Europe are always shocked to see how quickly and mindlessly it is that we eat our food; sometimes it looks like we’re a bunch of albatrosses swallowing our pizza slices whole, without spending an actual moment savoring what we put down our gullets. Unbeknownst to those of us who scarf-down food like drunken penguins, we’re not just not appreciating what we eat, we’re also cumulatively deteriorating our gastrointestinal tracts!
Think about it…when you eat something mindfully, when you chew something enough times that your stomach is able to properly break-down and utilize the nutrients of what you’re eating, you feel better, right?! From a cognitive perspective: the slower and more disciplined it is that you eat something = the better it is that your mentality is; the better it is that your mentality is = the less stress it is that your body is reacting to; the less stress that it is that you’re body is reacting to = the more balanced it is that your hormones are; the more balanced it is that your hormones are = the better it is that you feel, act, speak, react, do, and live!
When you do anything “mindfully” means that you do something MASTERFULLY; when you do something Masterfully—you’re doing something as a Master would; i.e. somebody that knows how to treat their minds and bodies as well as they wish to be treated!
So, the next time that you’re running around and you think that it’s a good idea to swallow an entire Grandma slice in two seconds before running to the train, consider doing this instead…
According to ro.co, ‘Mindful eating is a technique to help you slow down, increase your awareness of your food, and promote healthy eating behaviors, while building a healthy relationship with food…The purpose of mindful eating is to slow down during mealtime to pay full attention to your food. You can use mindful eating to gain control over eating habits and reduce mindless snacking by replacing automatic actions with more conscious choices. Mindful eating is a technique commonly used by intuitive eating dietitians and others to help people learn their hunger and fullness cues.”
Benefits of mindful eating include: increased awareness of hunger and fullness, weight loss, stress reduction, better digestion, reduced binging, increased satisfaction with food, and making healthier food choices.
So, how do you practice mindful eating; according to ro.co, “it takes time to learn mindfulness techniques, so try not to feel too frustrated if it’s challenging at first. When you’re used to a hectic pace, especially at mealtimes, slowing down feels difficult. If you’re having trouble slowing down for meals, first start with a short deep breathing exercise. Take a few slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm (the muscle at the bottom of your ribs) before your meal begins.
During your meal, use these tips for practicing mindful eating:
1. Turn off all devices and notifications.
2. Spend at least 20 minutes eating (you can set a timer for this if you need a reminder).
3. Start with a small portion on your plate, so you don’t feel obligated to finish it all.
4. Take small bites, and try consciously savoring each bite. Chew slowly and appreciate your food.
5. Most importantly, check in with your senses by noticing what you see (the food’s colors, texture, appeal), smell, feel (the food’s texture and temperature in your mouth), the taste of the food, and the sound each bite makes in your ears. Notice also the sensations of your jaw and tongue moving as you chew and, ultimately, swallow it down your esophagus and into your stomach.
6. At the beginning, middle, and end of your meal, assess your hunger and satisfaction with your meals. Checking in with your physical hunger and satiety cues helps you start to learn your body’s signals.
Try it out; what’s the worst thing that happens? You chew a little more and feel A LOT better! Discipline comes in many forms, none bigger perhaps than that of our dietary choices. Diet and well-being are directly intertwined; you can’t have one without the other! I mean, c’mon, what’s the point of living in the greatest pizza city on the planet and not taking the time and effort to truly savor and appreciate that bomb slice of za!? Masticate and enjoy that pepperoni! Cheers!
Banner Image: Digestion. Image Credit – Silvia
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