Food, glorious food,
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we’re in the mood…
Cold jelly and custard!
Since dating and now combining homes with The Librarian, I have found that my relationship with food is changing. Instead of treating the eating of food as something to be judged and mostly judged as a negative thing, food is now something to be appreciated and enjoy. It’s an adjustment; for as long as I can remember, food has been the enemy, firmly located in some columns in my mind that would be good or bad. For as long as I can remember, there has been a love/hate relationship with certain foods and eating has always carried a sense of shame and guilt. Now that I am living with someone who eats with gusto and with such abandon, how I interact with food is different in a scary and thrilling way. This has forced me to change all of the thoughts and thinks I have about food.
During BlogHer Food 16, I had the opportunity to participate in a mindful eating workshop sponsored by The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation. During the session I learned some tips for mindful eating. Chef Chris Warsow demonstrated how to build healthy Mediterranean meal and nutrition expert Katherine Hall led us through a mindful eating exercise.
Mindful eating is a way to treat eating as an experience, a way to enjoy food fully engaged and present. Instead of approaching food with my normal feelings, the idea is that mindful eating will guide me towards eating in a nonjudgmental way. I signed up for the session skeptical. Food is the enemy and there are good and bad items to be consumed, right?
I don’t know if it’s because I was at a food conference, in a room full of people or just ready to hear the message but something clicked about mindful eating. It’s like all of the hard work I did last year with the weight loss study came rushing back and all of the information I have ever gotten from the world*, a world which has deemed themselves experts in my body because it does not look a certain way, begin to silence itself and food was not a bad word.
So. What’s the deal with Mindful Eating? Nutrition expert Katherine Hall shared these tips and techniques to m make mindful eating an experience.
- Be fully engaged and present. Instead of eating on the go, while trying to juggle six things at once, take the time to experience your meal.
- Approach your food in a non-judgemental way using all five senses. How does your food taste, smell, feel, sound, and what does it look like?
- BE aware of external and internal environments. What’s happening around you? What are you feeling like inside?
- Use this link to find the Mindful “Eat-Mojis” and challenge yourself to take some time to think before you eat.
During the demo we practiced The Mindful Bite and Kathleen guided us through an exercise to work through these steps. We cleared our space and only allowed our food on the table. We were instructed to close our eyes and take note of our surroundings, what did we hear, smell, feel? How hungry were we? After taking this self inventory, we then took a bite and allowed ourselves to experience the food itself. The texture, the flavors, how the food felt in our mouthes. For this “eat first, taste later” kind of gal it was a new experience to taste and nibble and chew, experiencing the combinations in each bite.
Kathleen said that while each meal won’t be such production, taking a moment and being aware of your hunger level and experiencing food would be a good way to combat disordered eating. It’ will e something that you have to practice and eventually it will be something that you do with each meal.
I have only been home for a few days and it’s been a little work incorporating mindful eating. The old habit of eat first, taste later comes to play and I have to consciously put the fork down in order to practice Kathleen’s steps. It helps to know that the “No” I have been used to hearing is really “Not yet” or “next time.” Also, it helps to approach food in a manner that celebrates food as a way to fuel instead of categorizing it as good or bad.
Except ice cream. Ice cream is always good.