How often have you sat down with a meal or a snack only to find you do not remember eating it? You have come to the end of that delicious slice of cake with a hint of flavor at your lips yet no sense of enjoyment.
Mindfulness is the key; it helps us tune in and enjoy each moment. By doing this we eat less, enjoy more and maybe even lose some weight along the way.
This episode of the Prescription for Flavor podcast examines the benefits of mindfully eating and we make Adam try it out!
3 Benefits of Mindful Eating
The act of tuning in while eating allows us to savor the moment. To fully experience the meal with all 5 senses. The texture, smell, sight, flavors of a dish all play a part in how much we enjoy our food.
The full flavor of a dish cannot be experienced through the taste buds. The little nodes of the tongue are there for sweet, salty, sour and umami the actual flavor of a dish comes from our sense of smell. The act of chewing releases chemicals that picked up the nose to create a flavor profile. The flavor or aroma of a particular food is a combination of taste, smell, texture and temperature.
The act of mindful eating allows us to experience all of these sensations at once which allows for a greater flavor experience.
When we eat too fast the brain does not have time to catch up. The stomach is particular size, much smaller than most people imagine. The amount of food we eat is directly related to the speed at which we eat. Fast eaters tend to consume more, while slow eaters consume less. When the body is given the opportunity to chew and swallow the stomach has a chance to send signals to the brain when it is beginning to fill up. Of course it is much more technical than this but all we really need to know is that the mechanism of stomach to brain signalling is slow.
How to Eat Mindfully
Begin with a small snack such as a favorite fruit. Close the eyes and feel the texture of the fruit. Roll it around in your hand notice how the skin feels. Is the fruit cool, warm, or room temperature? Does the skin feel soft, smooth, rough?
Open the eyes if this is a fruit that needs to be cut pick up the knife and notice its texture and weight in your hand. Watch as you slice into the fruit, does it resist or does the knife slide smoothly through the flesh?
Pick up the fruit or the slice, notice the smell. As you take that first bite become aware of the feel of your teeth sinking in. Let the juices run down the back of the throat. Chew slowly allowing the fruit to move around the mouth. Noticing the depth of taste and flavor.
As you swallow pay attention the texture, the feel of the fruit sliding down the throat. Before taking that second bite breathe in and notice the sweetness of the air.
Repeat until the fruit is finished.
Mindful eating may not be practical every time you eat however the more you practice, better you get, until you find that you are paying attention without effort. Deeper enjoyment of meals and snacks will be had! Many of us will end up consuming less but enjoying more. In the end it is all about balance!