Practise Being a Conscious Eater

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There are many labels that we can use in describing the different types of dietary lifestyles. Vegan, Carnivorous, Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, Omnivorous just to name a few. Regardless of which one you choose to adopt, one concept that can improve results is by becoming a conscious eater. This means making eating intentional instead of unintentional.

Our lives are busy and demanding, so having the ability to multi-task has always been seen as something that can improve the efficiency of our lives. Who hasn’t choked down lunch while they work at their desk or devoured a sandwich on the way to soccer practice? However, rushing meal times may not be the most healthful or beneficial way to get the most out of our food experience.
Much like arriving at our destination and not remembering the route we drove to get there, eating can be just as automatic. The following are a few tips on how to stay connected to the food that we eat and the mindset in which we eat it:

  • Slow down/be quiet – Chew thoroughly and try enjoying your meal in silence.
  • Be a “single-tasker” – Avoid eating in front of the television, computer or smart phone. Work can wait until after dinner.
  • Notice your energy – Bring a state of positive energy to the table instead of negative. Associate meals with a feeling of health and gratitude.
  • Listen to your body – Be aware of when your body is signalling that it’s full and that it’s time to stop eating. Feel how your body reacts to different foods.
  • Practice being thoughtful – Think about how the food came to be on your plate. This includes the methods that were used to grow and raise the items as well as the energy that it brings to your dish. Learn to appreciate your food.
  • Be aware of the texture, flavour and appearance of food. How does it make you feel? Do you actually enjoy the experience or is it just something that is a means to an end? Think about what you could change/substitute the next time that you prepare the particular dish.

There are a number of benefits associated with slowing down and eating consciously.

    • More complete digestion of food. Digestion begins in the mouth so proper chewing is extremely important.
    • Increased awareness of the culture in which our food is grown/raised leads to making healthier choices.
    • Reducing overeating helps with weight management.

Try implementing these tips starting with one meal a day. Breakfast is a great choice. This will help to begin your day in a positive way and start your morning off in the right direction. Before long this practice will start to become automatic and you will have developed the habit of being a “conscious eater”.

Contributed by Bonnie Hertzog, R.H.N.