11 Ways to Spice Up Your Life with Mindful Eating

Thursday, September 1, 2016 · 3 Comments

Enjoy these 11 Ways to bring more mindfulness (and happiness) into your daily life.

1. Eat Slightly Slower

With the speed at which we do most things today, eating can easily become just another thing to cross off your to-do list. The next time you eat, try slowing down—you’ll pull more enjoyment out of your food, feel more satisfied, and your digestive system will thank you.

2. Honor the Elements

Every piece of food we eat has its own rich origin story, which we usually don’t think about. Next time you sit down for a meal, take a moment to acknowledge everything that went into the food on your plate. Consider the people who made it, bought the ingredients, stocked the store shelves, delivered it, harvested it, and all the natural elements of sun, rain, soil, and wind that allowed it to grow.

3. Cook with Love

Even if you’re just making a sandwich, food tastes a lot better when we put a little love into it. Pay attention to the preparation of your food, think about who’s going to eat it, and say in your mind, “May this food help you be strong, healthy, and happy.”

4. Take a Trip

Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “Life is routine and routine is resistance to wonder.” Break from routine, try ethnic foods from different regions of the world and imagine, even if just for a moment, that the food is transporting you there for a mini vacation in your mind.

5. Try Something New

Novelty is the spice of life (and a source of healthy neuroplasticity), so be adventurous and reach outside of your comfort zone. Be bold. Push yourself to try something you never thought you’d like—you never know, you just might be pleasantly surprised!

6. Start from Scratch

Most of us eat the same foods week to week for convenience and taste. And that’s okay. See if you can approach a familiar food with a sense of curiosity: Imagine it’s the first time you’ve ever eaten this food; what new sensations or flavors do you notice?

7. Eat Local, Be Respectful

Fruits and vegetables don’t grow at the grocery store. Get to know where your food comes from by visiting a local farm (or at least a farmers market)—not only will you feel more connected to what you eat, but as a rule food tastes better when it’s fresher. For those of us who eat meat, it can be tricky to figure out where the meat came from and how the animal was treated. Whenever possible, buy from companies you know treat animals respectfully.

8. Use Your Nose (and any other senses that apply)

Our sense of smell has a lot to do with how food tastes. Before eating, pause for a moment to take in the aroma of the food. What scents can you pick up? Does a memory emerge? Take a second look, what colors do you see? Then take a bite and see how much richer the experience can be.

9. Just Eat

When we eat we are often “doing” something else at the same time (working, looking at a device, talking with someone, reading, etc.), which takes away from tasting and fully enjoying the food. See if you can, for at least one meal or snack this week, just eat.

10. Have a Communal Meal

Since the dawn of time people have made it a point to “break bread” together. Invite people over for a special dinner, have a potluck, or go out to a restaurant. Feel the connection grow.

11. Surf Your Urges

We have all been prone to want something that isn’t good for us—for many of us it happens more often than we’d like to admit. Try an experiment: Next time you are craving something you know isn’t healthy for you, set a timer for 20 minutes and then check back in to see if you still want it. That space can often invoke perspective that will help you make a more mindful decision.

Originally published in Mindful Magazine Dec’ 2015

3 Comments

  1. September 2, 2016 at 6:29 am

    Very useful and interesting article. I am curious about the reference to animal consumption. The picture you share shows only plant based foods, and you mainly talk of these. However, you mention ensuring that any meat eaten is local and that the animal it comes from has had a good life. You also talk of thinking about the provenance, the route the food has taken to get to your plate, which is very interesting, and I have known people to struggle to consume a raisin in the raisin practice after thinking of where the fruit came from. What interests me is how you reconcile, in your own life and in discussing this with others, the death of an animal who wanted to live, and the horrific process of the death, however kind their life, within a mindful approach to eating? I admire the work of Thich Nhat Hanh, as he is vegan, as I am, but, I have great difficulty in seeing how people work through this one?

  2. Robert Haile
    September 1, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    First, thank you so much for your very helpful, free articles which are much appreciated for those of us with low income. I live in one of the world’s Blue Zones in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The locals enjoy Casados, or “typical meals,” which are mostly plant, including beans, rice, plantains, and a variety of vegetables and fruit. Any chicken, fish, or meat consumed are locally raised or caught, and eaten in very small portions, although I prefer vegetable Casados. Families eat together. Spirituality and community are very strong. Your words are wise. Thank you.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      September 1, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Hi Robert….we just led a Mindful Family Retreat at Costa Rica Yoga Spa, right near you :). We hope to return again. Warmly, Elisha

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