Mindful Eating: a new commitment to food

Nowadays, we are always rushing into something or somewhere. When it is time to pause for having a meal, our brain keeps connected to everything around us: we constantly check our phones, we are absorbed by social media news, and stressed by work and life issues. Amidst such turbulence, how can we be aware of the compromises made in our relationship with food?

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Inverting old and bad eating habits

Cultural, economic and marketing practices affect the way we buy and use food. Labour, leisure, preferences and lifestyle changes have made us increasingly sedentary also jeopardizing our eating habits. In the hope of contradicting these paths, many new diets have emerged, offering a range of ways to lose weight and improve our health. All these new solutions are nonetheless focused on cutting and adding nutrients to our meals, forgetting an essential part of the process: our eating behaviour.

Mindful eating cuts across this boom of trendy diets to alert us that healthy eating also included rethinking our eating habits and our relationship with food. This bond with what we eat derives from the awareness taste, smell, colour and texture of food. According to the Centre for Mindful Eating, “pausing and becoming curious focuses the mind. Mindful Eating cultivates becoming grounded in the present moment’s awareness of eating.”

This complete awareness helps us to focus or thoughts and feelings in those physical sensations related to eating, and to identify the true origin of hunger – whether if it is a physical hunger or if it is a consequence of an emotional cause.

Mindful Eating has been helpful in treating many conditions, including eating disorders – like binge eating -, depression or anxiety, and addressing various erroneous food-related behaviours.

How to practise Mindful Eating

Practising Mindful Eating may not be an easy task since it usually contradicts our normal eating habits, simultaneously demanding total concentration. According to the Harvard Health Publishing, there are a few steps that can help us improve our Mindful Eating.

First, the shopping list. We should consider the health value of every item added, preventing us from impulse buying at the supermarket. A second step is discipline.  We should avoid skipping meals and thus prevent seating at the table with excessive hunger. Meals should be taken with an appetite but in appropriate portions.

The third step involves the essence of Mindful Eating. “Appreciate your food. Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you’re enjoying it with.

Bring all your senses to the meal. When you’re cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to colour, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings” as advised by Harvard Health Publishing.

The following steps involve taste and chewing. It’s easier to taste food completely when our mouth isn’t full. So taking small bites and putting down utensils between bites could help. Chewing thoroughly and eating slowly are other techniques that improve our experience in tasting all the flavours that are released.

Final advice: “Devote at least five minutes to Mindful Eating before you chat with your tablemates.”

 

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10 ways to live longer

Health and lifestyle website Medical Daily, shared their 10 tips that can help everyone to live longer.

Although we cannot predict until what age we will live, there are ways to extend our lives by living a healthier life and having a positive attitude.

These are the 10 ways to live longer:

  1. Manage stress
  2. Exercise
  3. Don’t smoke
  4. Don’t do drugs or drink too much alcohol
  5. Think young
  6. Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
  7. Keep a Mediterranean diet
  8. Always learn something new
  9. Keep close friends
  10. Stay positive

The key to live longer lies in the attitude towards life and in keeping the right balance between what is healthy and what is not. If there is something you really like, for example, eating fast food, you should have it once in a while, but not regularly. You should keep a Mediterranean style diet, as it is considered the healthiest diet by the World Health Organization, privileging cereals and vegetables over meat. But, sometimes you crave fast food and that is ok, since you keep it sporadically.

Maintaining a healthy life is also about doing what you like the most and feel happy with your choices.

Control your stress levels is also very important for your overall health because when you feel stressed for long periods of time, your immune systems goes down and you become more vulnerable to diseases.

Practicing exercise and avoid a sedentary lifestyle are crucial for a longer life since they rejuvenate your body and prepare it for the days to come. The more active your life is when you are 30, the better prepared your body will be for when you are 60.

Attitude towards life plays a big part in living longer.

This is what Medical Daily says about the importance of a positive thinking: “Whether you’re in college, working, or retired, making goals for yourself and challenging yourself is going to improve your outlook on life, which will make you happier and keep you healthier. At the end of the day, it’s all about being positive, focusing on the good things, and never giving up.”

 

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