Conscious Eating and Its Benefits
Have you ever baked a cake for yourself? If you have, you know the feeling when cutting a warm slice of it and eating it. When you are chewing it, you can feel all your tastebuds fusing with the sweetness while your nose welcomes the aroma. Warmth moves from your mouth to your stomach and finally to your soul. The whale noises your stomach was making are put to an end when you take your time to devour the tasty triangle. The hour spent on the cake’s creation was worth it.
Often, we miss out on the pleasure of eating because we are not just eating; we are trying to multitask or rush it. Eating while watching or reading, our attention is divided. Our eating habits involve distraction; we are eating mindlessly. How often do you wonder about the mouthfeel of the food you eat?
With distraction comes underappreciation of the blessing we have on our table. You can appreciate your food and be thankful for it when you’re eating consciously: when you are fully immersed in the act. Conscious eating or mindful eating is an extremely important act that we tend to overlook daily. From spiritual to scientific, conscious eating benefits are numerous.
The Buddhists have been using the spiritual practice of mindfulness for centuries. When you are eating consciously, you are carrying the legacy of the Buddhists by engaging with your spirit. Mindful eating behaviors involve mastering the art of presence and acknowledging your experience. It helps you calm down and focus entirely on what you feel when you consume an item. Mindfulness has been deployed to treat many psychological issues including eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. Studies, too, have shown Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs have produced significant results. Studies also indicated that MBSR programs lead to spiritual well-being.
When you are eating, you can connect to who you are and to all your life experiences. While life has changed, one of the few common acts of eating has stayed the same. It is very similar to Anton Ego (a character from the movie ratatouille) experiencing a childhood flashback just because of taking a bite. It isn’t just a cartoon experience to relate to an old emotion or memory through food; you can relive the past just by eating at your favorite childhood restaurant.
Eating consciously also guarantees better health. When we eat mindlessly, we often overeat. It could be because of binge eating, hedonic eating (eating to produce feel-good chemicals), or simply just because your mouth feels lonely. Your brain takes time, about 20 minutes, to realize and signal that you ate enough. When one is binge eating, the signal is often lost or is received after they have overeaten.
On the other hand, Mindful eating slows down your eating process and helps you savor every bite. You learn more about your body’s hunger, fullness cues, and cravings. You are more aware of the volume you have consumed when your gut directs you to stop. The controlled diet leads to controlled blood pressure. Your blood sugar levels stay in the healthy range too, accelerating weight loss. Added benefits of lower cortisol levels in the blood, as a direct result of mindful eating, prevents obesity.
Learning and incorporating mindful eating techniques requires time, but it leads to fruitful results. With little effort, you can have more autonomy over your dietary habits while dodging the negatives of mindless eating. With conscious eating, you can have enriched eating experiences and better health: physical, mental, and spiritual. Hoping to see you join the conscious eaters club, Happy eating!