Saturday, November 3, 2012
Learning to Eat Mindfully
I have a confession to make.
I am terrible for wolfing down my food.
Before I've swallowed one bite, I've got the next one ready to go on my fork. Meals that I've spent all afternoon preparing are often gone in 10 minute's time. I go for seconds only to regret it later. I'm sure I am not alone in this; in fact, I think it's something many North Americans are guilty of.
Like with everything these days, I am so aware of those two little brown eyes watching all that I do. I don't want Aedan to approach his food this way. I want him to learn to savour his meals; to approach food with respect and gratitude for where it came from, and for the work that goes into putting it on the table. I want him to listen to his body, and stop eating when he is no longer hungry.
And I want these things for myself, too!
So we've begun an experiment in mindful eating. Normally, our kitchen table is a catch-all for keys, spare change, mail, and little scraps of paper. Before, I would push all this aside to find space for our plates. Now, though, I clear all of this off and set two places for us, with place mats. We light candles (which is so lovely!) and we pause before we begin our meal. I like to take a moment to notice the aromas of the food, how it looks on the plate. We express gratitude for the work that went into the meal, and we might talk about where the food came from. Then, we begin.
After each bite, I set my fork down. I take the time to truly taste what is in my mouth, noticing the subtle flavours and texture. I chew my food thoroughly, pause for a moment, and then take another bite. I'm finding a few things through this way of eating: one, I enjoy my food so much more than before! And two, I feel fuller, sooner. I no longer go back for seconds, because I've thoroughly enjoyed my meal and I've given my stomach time to tell my head that it's had enough!
It feels so good to not only take the time to prepare meals from scratch, but to give them the time and attention they deserve in eating them, too!