Since attending a seminar on mindful eating, I’ve been hooked on the concept. Not that I wasn’t aware of it before, but lately, it seems to pop up everywhere. From Brian Wansink‘s–author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think–videos and Mindless Products website, to Ellyn Satter‘s–author of several books on feeding children–Division of Responsibility, to “the great divorce of body and mind” blog post by the Fat Nutritionist, to eating chocoalate without guilt by Dr. Michelle May–author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle, I can’t help but wonder if mindfulness is the fashion in nutrition.
I think this fashion–this time around–is here to stay.
What if you practiced mindful eating on a daily basis? No need for anyone, book, diet plan, or government agency to tell you what to eat and how much because you eat when hungry and stop when full. You eat what gives you pleasure and back away from what doesn’t. You know food will always be here and there’s no point in scarfing it all down in one shot.
I vote for that.
The basic idea of mindful eating is to live in the moment; to enjoy the food for its taste and the pleasure it brings about, instead of what it will or won’t do in the future. That’s not necessarily denying that blueberries, for example, are high in anti-oxidants and help fight disease. But if eating them gives you no pleasure, then why bother? Why not find a fruit that is worth the effort, the money, and the energy you’re consuming that also satisfies your senses?
What if someone eats all the blueberries in the world and still gets diagnosed with cancer. Would he look at blueberries the same way again? Would he feel they have failed him?
What is Mindfulness?
According to the Center for Mindful Eating, “mindful eating” is:
- Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food preparation and consumption by respecting your own inner wisdom
- Choosing to eat food that is both pleasing to you and nourishing to your body by using all your senses to explore, savor and taste
- Acknowledging responses to food (likes, neutral or dislikes) without judgment
- Learning to be aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decision to begin eating and to stop eating
The definition is a bit dry, but there’s so much to learn and practice. I will be writing to explain each point, so keep on following.