My fiance introduced me to the work of Dr. Mark Hyman.
One of Dr. Hyman’s books is called “What the Heck Should I Eat?” I have not read it, but as Juliana was reading it she would read curtain passages out loud to me because it had such an impact on her.
One of the biggest lessons that Juliana (and I) have learned through this book is the benefits of mindful eating.
As a society, don’t appreciate food enough. I’m not just talking about the taste and the cooking, I’m talking about the spiritual essence of food. With exception to certain body parts, our bodies completely replace themselves multiple times during our lifetimes and our bodies create new cells from the foods we eat.
That’s incredible, but also very beautiful.
Think of all the life that goes through us within those 7 years. The plants and animals that have also eaten other plants and animals. Around and around it goes.
I put together 5 benefits that I have gained from mindful eating. Let’s get started.
Knowing When You are Full
It takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full. It’s amazing how fine tuned our bodies are. Even the act of chewing send signals to our digestive systems and tells it to “get ready” to start working on digesting food. Slow, mindful eating will give your body and your brain time to register that you are satiated and will help you refrain from over eating.
Let’s just call it what it is, over eating and obesity is the counties largest and most expensive health problem. If more people were mindful about their eating, we could cut down on the obesity rate by a vast percentage.
Mindful eating helps me appreciate what I have. It’s easy to forget how lucky I am. Even for those of us who are struggling with something in life, the reality is that you have food in front of you. You have fresh water that comes right out of your sink.
There is a large portion of the worlds population that doesn’t have the resources to have a meal every day, never the less three times a day.
When I am mindful of the moment, it is easier for me to stop and be grateful and appreciative of the simple fact that I have food in front of me. I will not go hungry this day.
I Enjoy My Food
Food is amazing. It’s delicious. It’s artful and cooked with love.
There were a lot of times in the past when I never even stopped to enjoy what I was eating. I’ve come to love fresh colorful vegetables. I love eating sweet potatoes. (No really, I could eat sweet potatoes every day). It’s just so good.
I am lucky enough to be in a position where I can afford eat out sometimes. I have the luxury of eating food from different cultures. Recently, Jules and I went to a fantastic Indian restaurant at 12 South and it was marvelous. The spices and the colors are so different than what I usually eat. I loved it.
Being mindful of my eating gives me a chance to actually enjoy the art and the taste of what it is that was created for me.
Give Myself Some Time
We’re always hustling and bustling. Our society doesn’t disconnect from work very well.
One of the biggest changes I’ve made in my life over the last two years is being intentional about my time to eat. I don’t eat at my desk. I sit down to eat. I step away from whatever it is that I am working on and I use my meal time as a moment to re-calibrate.
I take time to eat breakfast every morning. During lunch, I take my salad and I walk across the office and sit at a different desk. I don’t work and I don’t go half in on eating. I fully disconnect and it use my lunch as a time to center.
Jules and I sit down for dinner each night. We never eat at the TV. We might enjoy some music but we use dinner as a time to chat and listen to each other about our day. It’s a routine that I intend to share with our families when the time comes.
The act of eating is meant to be community based. We are supposed to eat together. We are supposed to share our food with each other and use our time to eat as a time to spend with our families and our loved ones. In the end, what else do we really have?
Helps Me Appreciate Where My Food Comes From
I’m not a vegetarian. Over the last few years I’ve started learning about where my food comes from.
What was killed? How was it killed? What kind of life did the animal or plant live before it was killed? I try to take time to acknowledge this because as soon as I start to separate myself from the natural world, I will lose touch with my connection to nature.
It’s made a real difference in my life.
I remember listening to a Ted Talk a few Years ago. A man named Ron Finley started growing vegetables by his sidewalk in south central Los Angeles. It opened my eyes to the fact that food is more than something that sits on a shelf. Everything I eat has a birth and a life and it’s my responsibility to take note of that.
I find it to be a better way to live my life.
Sometimes I get home from work and I’m real hungry. Sometimes I catch myself being a heathen and I try to recognize it and take a step back. I’m not perfect.
But incorporating mindful eating into my life has made a real impact. It’s truly given me a new perspective, a new focus and a new understanding of life and energy and discipline.
Above all, it’s opened my eyes to the disconnect we have with our food. I observe people and I think we have created a separation between eating and the rest of our lives. Our health is the most important thing we have. If we don’t have our health than we have nothing. When our health becomes a problem, it becomes the only problem.
The very fundamental basis of health is food. It is our medicine. It is our skin and our organs and our clarity of thought.
Being mindful of my eating has transformed every aspect of my life. It’s transformed my relationships, my thinking, my clarity, by business, my fitness and my happiness.
It’s a great way to live. I hope you will try it.