Mindful Eating: the key to health, happiness and longevity

Often we are provided with so much information on what foods are healthy to eat, however there is usually not so much emphasis on the way in which we would be best to eat these. Mindful eating involves a conscious awareness of how we eat, how we are affected by sensory impressions while eating and how best to work with these so that our enjoyment, digestion and assimilation of nutrients can be enhanced.  

Mindfulness involves a conscious moment to moment awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they arise. We can apply aspects of mindfulness to our attitudes, beliefs, expectations and enjoyment of eating so that we come to appreciate the inter-connectedness between food as nourishment and the cosmos. With an understanding, appreciation and gratitude for the food which sustains and nourishes us and the people and entities which make this possible, we will be further enriched by the qualities of the food.

Mindful eating is a way to nourish our bodies and our minds. It’s a way to maintain a healthy weight balance, while learning to appreciate the food on our table, our health and the health of the planet.

Mindfulness also helps us look beyond the packaging to see how the food is grown and where it was sourced from, so that we consume food that preserves our community well-being as well as our entire planet. We need to know what is actually in the food we are eating, where is this food from, how was it grown and how this food affects us. There is no value in consuming food that may be labelled “gluten-free” or “low-fat”  yet is packed full of chemicals and additives, processed unethically and packaged with materials that will harm our environment. Choosing and eating mindfully ensures a good future for everyone. Selecting more plant based wholesome foods will also ensure that there is more equitable land use for the worlds population and adequate food for all.

Mindfulness is a practice that is best learnt through doing, it can not be understood by reading about it. We can use Mindful eating to transform weight issues, over-eating and cravings. The essence of mindfulness is to come to the centre of stillness within us. We can all access this through the breath. This helps us to come fully in to the present moment, so that we are more fully engaged in all our daily activities, including eating.






Some basic guidelines for Mindful eating:

Eat in a quiet, peaceful location.

Don’t eat when anxious, angry or hurried. Avoid eating around people who are also this way. Consider eating at another time, or taking your meal in to the garden.

Avoid  talking when eating. When we are engaged in conversation while eating, our emotions are also engaged and we are likely to be swallowing our food together with our emotions. Talking also takes us out of present moment awareness of our eating experience.

Avoid distractions while eating. These include television, reading, driving the car or while engaged on social media. These may contribute to mindless overeating, rather than observing our body’s signals of satiety.

Savor small bites and chew your food thoroughly, so that when it is swallowed it has a soup like consistency. This will have a significant affect on your digestion and absorption of nutrients. For people with digestive issues this practice alone can be extremely effective in reducing their digestive complaints.

Eat slowly, and enjoy the taste, texture and aroma of the food. Be conscious of all your senses.

Keep a food diary, of what you eat and the way you are feeling.  Record some brief observations on your phone or calendar, so that you can begin to see a pattern with your food choices and emotional states.

Change your habitual ways of behaving and eating. Become conscious of when, what and how you are feeling when you reach for the sugar laden fix. Are you eating to fulfil some desire or longing you have. Has you life lost some of its sweetness, its joy? Get in touch and re-awaken those parts of you that are calling out for some attention. But most importantly stop blaming yourself if you make a hiccup or two, and have done some “comfort eating”. Tomorrow is a new day, and everyday we are given the gift to do things differently.


Practitioner? Join WAS today

Newsletter Sign up

Recent Articles

Search Articles by Service