- MINDFUL EATING: TOP TIPS -
Katie Sheen, Founder of Soul Nutrition
Raised in the hospitality industry, Katie saw from an early age how food is used to bring people together and form the heart of happy memories. She went on to study the ways in which food can be used to support both physical and psychological health, and has travelled extensively to teach on nutrition and mindfulness.
Katie has been practicing mindfulness in her own life for over 16 years and is a member of The Heart of Manchester and Stockport Sanghas, part of a growing network of groups composed of people from a wide range of faith backgrounds who aspire to develop peace in themselves and in the world through the practice of mindful living.
Mindful eating helps you gain the insights you need in order to break negative eating habits, relax, enable your digestion to work effectively, realise when you are starting to feel full so that you automatically eat the right amount for your needs, and yet also give you the freedom to enjoy food more. It also enhances your ability to make positive choices without feeling under pressure, so that you simply relax and enjoy nourishing yourself.
Remember to breathe and check in with your body at regular intervals
It’s so easy to get caught up in life and forget to nourish yourself, until you are so hungry that you no longer have the time or emotional resources to make a supportive decision. Perhaps one of the “mindfulness bells” Apps, or simply setting a gentle reminder on your phone to go off every hour would help?
When you sense the desire to eat, take a few breaths to make friends with that feeling
Is it genuine hunger that has built up gradually over time, or is it just a response to an emotional trigger such as stress or boredom? Have you suddenly smelt or seen an image of food? Sometimes our default response is to consume things when actually we need to address what is really going on for us. Making friends with your feelings brings clarity and insight before you can then act appropriately.
Be curious: ask your mind and your body what will nourish them best
Sometimes we are so attached to the ideas that we have about food that we make choices purely from our mind. For example, we have strong views about what we will and won’t eat and ignore signs that we are becoming unwell by following such rigid rules. When you make decisions from a more mindful position, you become less attached to views and more flexible in your eating patterns. Be curious, and have fun exploring how you feel when you vary what and when you eat.
Make each mealtime a peaceful oasis in your day
Before you eat, breathe at least three times to ensure that you have switched out of “fight or flight” and into “rest and digest” mode. Smile at your mind, your body, your food and your environment. Enjoy feeling safe, relaxed and supported by the calm oasis that you can create through your peaceful, mindful attention, even in the midst of a busy café.
Enjoy each mouthful
Notice the colour, smell, taste and texture of your food. Appreciate the fact that it lifts your spirits as your body gradually transforms it into the elements that you need in order to stay alive and vibrant. Your food connects you to the world around you in the most intimate of ways, and this process of it literally becoming your very physical self is a wonderful reminder of how interconnected we all are.
A Mindful Summer Salad
Take time to prepare this is a really easy salad to nourish ourselves on these wonderful hot Summer days.
With thanks to roaming chef, Freddie Sheen, for supplying the recipe.