(November, 2019 Health Tip)
“Mindful Mouthful” is not a new expression. The L.A. Times did an article called “Being Mindful of Each Mouthful” over fifteen years ago. Doctors, nutritionists and dieticians have talked about mindfulness when you eat. There’s a store/bakery in Canada named “The Mindful Mouthful” who provide customers, food with a purpose.
We believe the expression of “Mindful Mouthful” is more relevant and important than ever, because by practicing mindfulness in terms of how and what you eat, you can earn big dividends for your health one bite as a time.
So, what does “Mindful Mouthful” mean?
First of all, by paying more attention to the food you are eating (the sight, taste, and texture), you will start slowing down, enjoying your food more, chewing more, and eating less. The longer it takes you to eat, the more time your stomach and brain can communicate. This way, you’ll have a more accurate read on when you are full, instead of eating too fast and all of a sudden feeling too full.
When you take each bite of food as a mindful mouthful, you’re focusing on quality, not quantity. Mindful eating does not involve willpower, dieting or counting calories. Nor does it eschew certain foods while allowing an unlimited supply of others. It does not require willpower at all. It requires awareness. If you actually listen to your body better, you’ll know whether you’re really hungry or not.
Mindful mouthful also is about eating more nutrient-dense food, less processed food, and more plant-based food. It’s about the decisions or choices you make on what to eat with very little effort, one bite at a time. Mindful mouthful is important to develop a healthy relationship with food, to truly enjoy eating and to make sure that your food is nourishing and not hurting your body.
Here are a few suggestions compiled from various sources (including Dr. Adrienne Youdim) for implementing “Mindful Mouthful” eating in your life:
- Remove distractions. We are so busy multi-tasking- especially with our electronics, phones, emails, text messages. But eating time is not meant for multi-tasking, it is meant for eating. Shut down the phones and screens including the TV. Take a moment before that first mouthful to clear your head. Take a deep breath in and exhale your busy day out and get ready to nourish your body.
- Eating is not speed racing. Take time to chew your food slowly. Eating slowly gives your body the opportunity to truly taste your meal, gives your mind the ability to find satisfaction in your food, and for your gut to receive the nutrients and know when you have had enough.
- Know if it is worth it. Stop and ask yourself if you are enjoying your food. If not, why eat it? Make a habit to check in and eat what you truly enjoy and not just what is there.
- Even though it is important to eat what you enjoy, it is also important to understand that sometimes food is just fuel. Yes, food sometimes is family, entertainment, celebrations and community, but sometimes food is just fuel. Not every meal has to be the pièce de résistance.
- Are you full yet? We often eat too fast and with too many distractions or eat for emotions other than hunger such as boredom or anxiety. Don’t forget to ask yourself, “are you full yet?” Make a point to tune into your body’s signals and know when you are full and when it is time to stop.
Now and then, we are going to share with you more “Mindful Mouthful” tips, ideas, encouragement and more. We hope you can put mindfulness eating to work for you. And with the holidays approaching, it is especially important to slow down, be thankful and appreciate and savor each bite! (It will help you to avoid overeating too much of your Mother’s turkey dressing!)