Why Mindful Eating is my jam!
Life can be stressful and most of us are balancing more things on our plates than we ever have before. But what if I told you, mindful eating isn’t just trending, it could be the difference between you and an IBD flare.
It’s no surprise to me that modern life is wreaking havoc on our guts. Just a hundred years ago people didn’t eat like we do today. We are all forced to live in a fast-paced world where multitasking has become the norm, and find ourselves rushing through meals without a second thought.
We eat in front of screens, gobble down food on the go, or indulge in mindless snacking while preoccupied with other tasks (no shame here, we all do it!) But this hurried approach to eating not only robs us of the joy of savoring our meals but can also have detrimental effects on our health.
This is where you take back some control. I’m going to share some easy, mindful eating practices that can help reconnect you to the pleasure of eating.
🤓 The Science of Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is a simple, yet profound concept that invites us to bring our full attention to the act of eating. It involves engaging all of our senses to savor the flavors, textures, and aromas of our food. Rather than devouring a meal in haste, we pause to appreciate each bite, fostering a deeper connection with the culinary experience.
At its core, mindful eating is about being present in the moment and cultivating a non-judgmental awareness of our eating habits and food choices. Mindful eating isn’t just about slowing down and savoring every mouthful. Studies have shown that when you engage in mindful eating, you tap into a world of benefits!
For those with IBD, digestive discomfort can be a constant challenge. Mindful eating, by encouraging you to chew your food thoroughly and pay attention to your body’s signals, helps you not only recognize potential food triggers, but aids in the digestive process. Remember, digestion begins in your mouth! And not to mention, when you slow down and enjoy your food, you will be in a better mood. Here’s how it improves your digestion:
It can help you become more attuned to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, preventing overeating and discomfort.
I don’t have to tell you that stress is a major trigger of IBD symptoms. In fact, it might even be one of the worst! Mindful eating practices can help you lower your stress levels, leading to fewer flare-ups.
Enhancing Food Choices
Making the right food choices is hard for us all! And it’s crucial for IBD management. Mindful eating helps us feel like eating is an event to enjoy, and that helps us to be aware of what we are eating. That really helps when you’re trying to stick to foods that help you feel better!
I was recently reminded of how important it is to sit and eat peacefully when I watched the documentary on Netflix, Secrets of the Blue Zones (communities around the world with high numbers of people living to 100.) Spoiler alert: one of the common traits amongst these communities, isn’t just what they eat but also how they eat it. If you haven’t seen it yet, start watching it! You will be inspired to bring more balance to your life by doing simple things that can improve your health and your happiness!
Ancient cultures across the world understood the profound connection between food, community, and well-being. From elaborate feasts in medieval Europe to the Zen Buddhist tea ceremonies in Japan, communal meals and food rituals have transcended time and geography. In these settings, food was not just food, it was a place for connection.
Fast forward to our time, we see a trending interest in these traditions (hello foodies). People are rekindling their relationship with food, rediscovering the joy of sharing meals, and building connections through mindful eating practices.
The act of breaking bread together goes beyond nourishing the body. It nourishes our souls and builds the bonds of community.
🧘♂️How You Can Cultivate Mindful Eating Habits In Today’s Busy World?
Here are some techniques to get you started:
Put Away Distractions
Create a calm environment for your meal. This not only enhances mindfulness but can reduce the stress that can trigger IBD symptoms. That means avoiding eating in your car, while you’re standing, or while scrolling on your phone. I challenge you to try setting it to ‘do not disturb’ for 15 or 20 minutes and just eat, nothing else!
Engage Your Senses
Take a moment to appreciate the aroma, colors, and textures of your food. Really savor each bite. Sometimes when I eat alone I really like listening to music that really mellows me out (my fav: low fi beats).
IBD affects digestion, so giving your body time to process each bite can be particularly helpful.
Listen to Your Body
Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues, a vital practice for IBD management.
Give mindful eating a try and start small, don’t overwhelm yourself. Pick one meal to eat mindfully. It could be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. During this meal, use some of these techniques and pay attention to how you feel.
I’d love to hear about your experience and any positive changes you observed. If you do, please leave a comment and share your observations with me.
Here’s to savoring every bite, living longer, more vibrant lives, and finding some relief on your IBD journey! 🌱