I’m at an age now where I realize AND can admit that I’ve learned a LOT from my mother! Our mothers have one of the most powerful and important influences on our lives: caring for us when we are too young, rebellious, or stubborn to care for ourselves. Unfortunately, it usually takes us “kids” longer to realize the pearls of wisdom that come with age and experience…the ones that come from all the moms out there!
I had one of those exhausting and crazy weekends, visiting my family for a late summer wedding. Did I mention 10 people were staying in our 3-bedroom house?! It was wonderful and chaotic and entertaining, with lots of HUGE and very deliciously decadent family meals. There was also a lot of running around, keeping appointments and trying to get as many activities in before the Midwest’s scattered thunderstorms so common in late summer. With all the pandemonium, there was one thing that stayed constant: my 8-month old nephew’s feeding times. He’s in this new and exciting time, moving from breast milk to actual (baby) food. Babies love attention and this little guy is no exception! Yesterday, during a morning feeding of sweet potatoes my mother kept repeating to baby “Focus on your food.” Naturally, he was looking side to side, trying to get people’s attention combined with sporadic giggling. The second time my mother spoke this mantra, baby looked and her and caught a spoonful of sweet potatoes in the mouth.
Talk about pearls of wisdom! My mom just identified one of the biggest mealtime mistakes made by Americans. We don’t Focus on our food! Instead we check emails, watch TV, play Clash of Clans, scroll our newsfeed, tweet, commute to work or complete some other sort of multi-tasking. We all have ancestors that considered eating a sacred act. Some give thanks before beginning a meal, mindfully wash their hands, or light candles, all preparing the body and mind to focus on our food. So whether my mom knew it or not, she was promoting mindfulness during our meals, a powerful practice that has been linked to the following AMAZING benefits:
– Maintain a healthy weight
– Feel satiated with less food
– Reduce emotional eating
– Improve digestion
– Reduce uncomfortable bloating and gas after meals
Focusing on your food allows you to ENJOY your food! And who doesn’t want that?! Mealtimes, and food itself, connect us to our families, our emotions, the present moment and ourselves. Do you want to improve your eating habits? It’s all about awareness: focusing on the sensations you experience when you eat, and connecting to the thoughts and emotions you have about food. Some experts even believe it’s more about how you eat than what you eat… People eat more when they are not paying attention, so it pays to be mindful when eating.
In what environment are you sitting down for meals? Test out the following tips to see how you can become more mindful during your next meal.
When preparing meals I remember to give thanks to the food itself and its ability to nourish my body. I’m thankful for the earth that provided and people that cultivated the food. Bring back the sacred ritual at your next meal and be totally present. Enjoy!
Live your WHOLE life,
Shannon & Meg