We often speak of mindfulness while living our daily lives.
It's important because it helps keep us in touch with what is really important each moment we live. However, we do not speak of mindfulness with regard to our eating behaviors.
I am sure that everyone is familiar with the term, "eating on the run." It is my guess that eating on the run will one day define our modern age more than anything else. For example, we ran a quick snack on the way to work. We run into Mac Donald's for a quick hamburger before returning to our desks in the office. We stuffed our faces in a hurry in order to get the food down with that thinking about or appreciate being what we are doing.
Very much like people with bulimia we cram food in without taking enjoying its texture, aroma, and flavor. It seems that we eat to live, rather than living to eat. Perhaps this is one cause of our eating disorders.
It would be much healthier if all of us took time to become mindful eaters. What does that mean?
Mindful eating, in the way, I am using the term, refers to the fact that we take time to appreciate food. Here are a few suggestions on how to do that.
1. Whether eating breakfast or dinner at home, make it a dining experience. Sets the table with all the necessary dishes and glasses, including forks, knives, and spoons.
2. While preparing the food, be aware of the importance of spices to enhance flavor.
3. Arrange the food neatly on the plate in a way that looks attractive, and even artistic.
4. Breakfast and dinner are the times when families get together and share their thoughts and experiences about the day. In other words, eating is a social experience during which both social interaction and the enjoyment of flavor and aroma happen together.
5. In most families lunch occurs either at work or school. Even then, it is possible to make eating and enjoyable experience. When going to a cafeteria or restaurant is the best sit at a table and enjoy what is being ordered.
During the many years of my experience as a psychotherapist I have become aware of how people who violate all of these suggestions. I have been told that breakfast is not possible, because every body must leave the house and get to school or work as quickly as possible. In addition, I have been informed that lunch is not possible because of the pressure of work. More than a few people have told me that the 80 a sandwich or nothing at all during lunch. Finally, many people have described how once they get home in the evening they are too tired to prepare a dinner. If we aren't eating to live then, we are barely surviving.
Everyone's health and well-being is at risk with regard to the issue of eating. We cannot maintain healthy bodies, healthy brains, and healthy minds, without taking into consideration how we feed ourselves. It is vitally important that we provide ourselves and our families, with adequate time to enjoy the experience of dining.
What are your thoughts and opinions about this issue?
Allan N. Schwartz, PhD