• Emma Nuttall

Mind over meal

Updated: Jul 28, 2019

Have you ever sat down to a meal that looks and smells incredible? Your mouth salivates from the colours and textures of the food and the delicious aromas drifting from the plate.

You’re hungry and you can’t wait to tuck in! You grab your phone and take a quick snap. Then you wolf down the meal while scrolling through Instagram.

Within a few short minutes you are looking down at an empty plate. You know it tasted delicious, but you can’t quite remember the different elements of the meal. How each individual item tasted or how well the various flavours and textures melded together.

Bet you’ve heard the wellness gurus bang on about mindful eating. Am I right? Well it’s not just the latest craze and you don’t have to meditate or chant while you eat 😊. It’s about slowing down to actually enjoy your food. Not only does it increase the enjoyment and sensory experience of a good meal, but mindful eating offers a host of health benefits;

· Greater satiety – when we take time to enjoy our food, we also feel more satisfied as our mind and body are registering what we are eating.

· Fewer calories - when we eat more slowly, we consume fewer calories as our brain has time to register when we are full.

· Better digestion - digestion starts in the mouth and by chewing our food thoroughly to break it down, we promote better digestion and optimum absorption of nutrients.

· A happier gut – studies have shown that eating quickly can allow more air to enter your stomach resulting in gas and bloating.

If that doesn’t have you hitching a ride on the mindful eating bandwagon, then this might;

take a small piece or spoonful of your favourite indulgent food. Hold it in your hand or on the spoon and look at it, as if for the first time. Notice its colour and any ridges or contours. Touch it and feel its texture then bring the item to your nose and take in the aromas. Notice any sensations that may be taking place in your mouth or stomach. Now bring it slowly to your mouth and place it on your tongue. Allow your tongue to register the taste before you begin chewing. Take your first bite and notice the changes in texture and flavour as you continue chewing.

That my friend, is mindful eating!

Healthy eating should, of course, be encouraged but so should pleasure and the occasional indulgence. By eating in a mindful way, you will savour and enjoy every mouthful. In doing so, you may find that one or two pieces or spoonfuls of an indulgent treat, are enough to satisfy you.

For more info and tips on mindful eating, read my ‘Power of Presence’ article in Wellbeing magazine, edition 172.

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