Drop Everything & Eat Mindfully

Do you remember DEAR in elementary or middle school?  It was an initiative standing for Drop Everything And Read.  This is similar, but it's a reminder (and possibly an initiative) to DEAEM--Drop Everything And Eat Mindfully--alright, not that catchy, I know!  Not to diminish the importance of reading each day, but eating mindfully can be just as beneficial for your mind and body.

I recognize that this blog has a whole tab called "Mindful Eating," and this contains recipes and ideas for (relatively) healthy--or at least healthful--food options.  Mindful eating, however, isn't actually about specifically eating vegetables, counting calories, or losing weight, as I hope I've been demonstrating in my posts, but rather the experience of being present while you eat and drink (which often translates to healthier, simpler foods).

To practice mindful eating today, instead of worrying about WHAT you're eating, contemplate HOW you're eating. 

For example, if you have a snack bag full of something crunchy--I'd suggest starting here to make it easy to identify several senses--such as the above trail mix (see recipe here)/ green pepper sticks/ carrot sticks/ pretzels/ or cheese curls, to eat more mindfully you would stop everything else and eat.  Slowly bite, chew, taste, and truly experience what you're eating. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself while you eat:

- How does your food sound as you eat it?

- What tastes can you identify as you chew?

- What subtleties do you sometimes miss when you eat too quickly?

- Is it hard to concentrate on your food, chewing, and tasting?  What, if anything, makes this a challenge?

- Do you smell anything that you usually don't pick up on while eating?

Your choices become much easier to monitor (in terms of healthfulness and calorie intake) when you are fully aware of what you're choosing to consume.  To do this, however, is not to multitask or "eat on the run." 

A few (other) tips:

- Avoid eating on the run.  Make meal times a priority and allow for time to just eat. 
- Avoid munching while you watch tv or surf the web. 
- If you eat at regular intervals, you are less likely to feel like you need to swallow your food whole, because you're not extra hungry.

- Don't beat yourself up if you eat during some other activity occasionally, just be aware of the choice to do so when it occurs.

The point is not to make meal times an extra burden, but rather to make an effort to be more present in the moments of your life.  And as we all need to eat, eating mindfully helps promote mindfulness in other parts of daily life.

What is your absolute favorite food?

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