Mindful Eating: Resources for Mindfulness and Meditation
Can enjoying your food help improve your health? Surprisingly, that’s a yes. More and more studies are linking mindful eating with nutrition and health benefits. Now, think back to the best dinner you’ve ever had. Most likely, you were eating at a table, savoring the tastes, textures and aroma of the food, and eating in a relaxed manner. Maybe you were surrounded by friends and family. Eating with awareness is a big part of mindful eating.
We make food decisions daily, and they’re often not conscious. This starts with the moment we think about food, and goes through the decisional process of deciding whether to eat, what we choose, and how much and where we eat. It also includes our awareness of the sensations of eating, when we decide to stop and even how and when we clean up the food. On one hand, it’s very simple, but mindful eating has been linked to improvements in a wide range of health parameters, particularly diabetes, binge eating and weight management.
Lots of studies support the health benefits of mindfulness and meditation, with improvements in a range of conditions such as stress, depression, anxiety, IBS, chronic pain, addiction, psoriasis and many other health concerns. Mindfulness is defined by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zin as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, as if your life depended on it — and non-judgmentally.” That can be informal, such as paying attention to the warm water drops during a shower or the sound of the ocean’s waves, or a formal meditation practice. There are a wide range of meditation practices, including mantra meditations or chanting, active or movement meditations such as some yoga and tai chi practices, and relaxation. Another form of meditation involves awareness of sensations, and this encompasses mindful eating.