As we work towards a healthier lifestyle, what should be one of the first and most ongoing tasks is connecting our mind and body.
There is no shortage of things vying for our attention throughout our day. However, we get to choose what we want to engage in. Your phone, to-do lists, and email aren’t going anywhere–when was the last time you disconnected fully to engage with yourself and your needs?
Let’s start with lunch – take a break from work, all screen time, and yes, even books for 20-30 minutes as you eat your midday meal and sit with yourself. Set your phone timer, put your phone on silent, and place it out of sight.
Mindful eating means paying attention to what you are eating and how it affects you.
Digestion starts with our eyes. As you sit down for lunch, take a moment observe the colors, textures, portion, and food groups (fruit, vegetable, processed carb, and fat) you have before you. How do you feel as you look at it?
Take a moment to smell your lunch, as this is our first step to tasting. Our olfactory senses stimulate taste receptors, sense what nutrients we are about to digest, and prep our mouth and gastrointestinal tract by secreting GI peptides.
Finally, focus on chewing your food and notice the taste and texture of your meal. Take your time as you chew, swallow, breathe, and repeat.
How do you feel right after you finish your lunch? Is your meal agreeing with you? How satiated do you feel? Check in with yourself 1-2 hours later and notice how you feel, how your energy level is.
Busyness can run our lives if we let it, but it doesn’t have to run (or ruin) our digestion. Treat yourself to a private lunch date this week–you are worth the time.
“Role played by afferent signals from olfactory, gustatory and gastrointestinal sensors in regulation of autonomic nerve activity.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21048298/
Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabbat-Zin
Written by Anna Branam, co-owner