Mindful Eating Around the Holidays

Is mindfulness another term for appreciation?  Culturally, we’re entering into an important time of giving thanks.  We become increasingly mindful of being grateful.  But gratitude can happen as often as we take a breath.  Some say that it’s impossible to feel worry or fear if you are in a grateful mindset. 

If you think about the overall impact food and eating has on our health, mindfulness is a critical component of reaping the benefits of nutrition.  But all too often, we forget about what we’re eating and we become mindless to food. 

As a challenge this week, try pausing once a day and ask yourself a question about the food you are eating.  How did it get here?  Who grew it?  Why is it seasoned the way it is?  What do you like about the food and does it feel nourishing to you? Asking good questions provides good answers.  We can all improve upon one habit or another, especially when it comes to food.

Do you eat as a response to an emotional trigger?  Here’s an important physiologic fact: stress shuts down the release of digestive enzymes.  When we are stressed, our body is less efficient at absorbing nutrients from food.  Instead, being calm provides a friendly gut environment for digestive enzymes to be released.  Remember this the next time you start putting “stuff” in your mouth when you are worried, sad or angry.  All it takes is a few seconds to take a few deep breaths, get quiet and focused on the food in front of you.  Try this challenge as many times as you need to and you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

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