Mindful Eating: Savoring Meal Time

Written by David Hart

As a New Yorker, I get it — we’re busy. I’m a long distance runner, and know that sometimes food is only fuel — calories consumed to keep our bodies in movement. I’ve squeezed plenty of packets of electrolytes in my mouth while running, and for lunch today I microwaved a burrito while taking a conference call and reviewing train times for my next appointment. But I also love cooking and eating. And, news flash: mindfulness is not a speed, it’s an attitude of curiosity and compassion for whatever’s happening.

Mindful Eating is often thought of as the classic “slow eating of a raisin” exercise made famous by Thich Nhat Hanh and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction training. It’s a wonderful way to pay attention to the subtleties of eating.

Here’s why we should practice mindful eating on a daily basis:

  • A convenient pairing

    • We need to eat food throughout the day already, so connecting that necessary moment with mindfulness allows you to move a simple form of meditation from the “have to do” column on your to-do list into an integrated part of your day.

  • A benefit for your health

    • Studies suggest that it takes 20 minutes for the body to signal that it’s full, so slowing down will allow us to consume no more than we need or want.

  • It’s good for business

    • Research has shown that sharing a meal together is beneficial to teams and helpful in negotiations, and the lack of lunch breaks is having negative impacts to business. And it can easily be integrated, whether it’s just scheduling a team lunch in the cafeteria once a week to check in with each other. With so much of our communication done via text and email, it’s useful to get a full experience of being together — and it increases performance for everyone on the team.

So try bringing a sense of mindfulness to your eating whenever you can, even if that only means taking a few breaths to watch the steam come off your coffee in the morning, putting down the fork while you’re eating lunch, or considering the interconnected food chain that allows a delicious meal to arrive at your doorstep.

Everyday Mindfulness
Written by David Hart
Meditation Teacher

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