The mindful eating exercise is a wonderful introduction to meditation. It allows us to connect to our bodies, and to learn how different foods affect us. It is a fun group exercise, and a great way to introduce children to new foods.
Want to give it a try?
All you need is 10 minutes and something small to eat. A raisin, nut or berry is good. (I’m going to assume we’re using a strawberry here, because I like strawberries.)
Start with taking a moment to connect to your body. Feel your breath, feel your butt on the chair or your feet on the ground.
Try and notice if you feel hungry or thirsty. Does your body even want to eat right now? if so, do you know what you want to eat?
Next, pick up the berry, look at it as if you are seeing one for the first time ever. Look at the colors, the shape, the seeds and flesh and leaves. Feel the weight in your hand, the texture against your skin, the temperature of the berry.
Is there anything else you can see or feel?
You can think about all the people and elements that were involved with bringing you this fruit. The gardener who planted the plant, the farmer who picked the fruit. The graphic designer who came up with the logo for this brand of strawberries. The factory worker who made the chair she sat in while designing. The truck driver who brought the fruit to market.
The sun, wind and rain that the plant was exposed to. The ancient forests whose remains became the gas that powered the tractor and truck.
If you want, you can take a minute and feel gratitude for everyone and everything that contributed to bringing you this strawberry.
Or a moment to feel awe at the planet-spanning connections this small fruit represents.
Now bring the fruit to your nose and try and concentrate your entire mind on the smell. Does it bring up any feelings in your body? Any memories from your past.
Notice the effect smelling the food has on your digestive system. Does your mouth water? your stomach rumble?
Let the berry sit in your mouth. See how it feels against your tongue, teeth, palate.
Don’t forget to breathe.
How is your digestive system responding now?
Next, take one bite and feel the flavors, the textures. Slowly begin to chew the strawberry. Feel the parts of your mouth and face that do the chewing. Feel the resistance of the fruit, the changes in texture and flavor as you chew.
Finally, swallow the bite of berry and try and feel the sensations in your throat and stomach. Feel the aftertaste in your mouth. See if you can still smell the strawberry.
Take another deep breath and reconnect to your body.
How do you feel now?
If you would like to hear a description of this meditation from a master of the practice, you’re in luck!
If you do give it a try, drop me a line or leave a comment and let me know how the experience was for you.
If you want to find a recipe for a killer winter drink in your inbox next week, leave your email here. (Really, I can give you the details of two people who will tell you that drinking this killed them. My brothers may be prone to exaggeration).
For me, the most best part of mindful eating is that it is a fast, easy way to stop eating that one kind of junk food you don’t even like but just can’t quit.
I can make no guarantees, but in my experience if you do this whole process with an oily snack food or a cheap cookie, it will be about a year before you even think of eating another one.