Food nourishes our bodies and a good meal can soothe the soul, but are you eating mindfully? When we’re on the mat or meditation cushion, we think a lot about mindfulness and how it relates to our bodies, minds, and thoughts. But how often do you think about being present during a meal? Susan Albers, the author of Eating Mindfully, says “Mindful eating is about awareness. When you eat mindfully, you slow down, pay attention to the food you’re eating, and savor every bite.” Our lives can get busy, and though we need to eat to survive our food consumption can also bring us joy. “Every moment nature is serving fresh dishes with the items of happiness. It is our choice to recognize and taste it,” Albers says. How can we bring mindful eating and yogic ideas into the kitchen? Let’s look at a few ways you can incorporate your mindfulness practice into meal planning, preparation, and consumption.
Planning creates ease when it comes to what’s on the menu. Starving yourself until you have the chance to scarf something down isn’t what we’d call mindful, so set aside time each week to think about, write down or shop for what you need to sustain you during the week.
The preparation of food can also happen mindfully. Think of chopping veggies and preparing ingredients like a meditation. Breathe in and out through your nose and be present with the task at hand. Smell the fragrance of each component as you put your meal together.
The consumption of food can be a highlight or afterthought in your day, make it a highlight! Not sure where to start? The next time you sit down to eat, take a seat, a comfortable one. This comfortable, well-postured seat is your asana for eating. Then, look at your food; really see it, the colors, textures, and shapes. As you breathe naturally inhale the smell of your meal, notice the aroma of each ingredient before you take a bite. Lastly, send a quiet “thank you!” to all of those who helped grow, pick, ship, pack and prepare your food. Now you’re ready to eat! Enjoy your mindful meals and notice how you feel after you nourish your body.