The Art of Eating Like a Zen Master
How often do you find yourself eating at your desk? You could be scrolling through your social media accounts or online shopping for a dress for your BFF’s wedding this summer. How about munching through lunch while taking public transport, or walking to your next destination? Or skipping meals all together as you’re just too busy? Productivity is amazing, and I’m always onboard with working hard, setting goals and reaching for your dreams. I whole heartedly applaud you for going about your days with vigor and steam. But let’s rain it in a bit, and look at if this is even really serving you. Especially when it comes down to eating, meal times, and overall consumption of food.
Heck, it might even be making everything worse, but in your mind you think you’re being incredibly efficient while doing two things at once, and multitasking like a boss! Not to mention the physical stress this has on your body, especially when it comes down to your own unique hormonal harmony equation.
I’m sorry to burst your bossy bubble, but we innately can’t multitask. Our brain can only focus and do one thing at a time. Often time what happens, is that you’re eating, reading, writing, working, and your body is not able to register, assimilate and digest what you’re choosing to consume.
How many of you eat your meals, and then forget eating them or you don’t feel satisfied and full, physically and emotionally, because you were so focused on something else that you ate so quickly and unmindfully?
I’ve been there too many times too count.
Not to mention when you eat too fast intestinal discomfort, and bloating usually kick in shortly after, as it’s important to remember, and visualize, that our stomachs are only as big as our fist. So if we eat, eat, eat a large meal, super quickly, it’s no surprise that our stomach, and intestines rebel. If they could speak they would probably tell you to…
“Slow down man, I can’t digest unchewed food”
“Remember digestion starts in your mouth, chew”
“Is what your eating serving you or me?”
“You know this is going to cause both of us trouble”
“There you go again”
“Haven’t you learned from our last incident”
Often times we just choose to forget, because our immediate, ten second euphoric bite, or sip takes over the hours or days of distress that follows.
We like to trick our bodies, and minds all the well knowing what’s to come.
Imagine what your future self and stomach is are going to say to you…
Something to chew on.
In the mean time, these are super practical and simple steps to start doing today, where the art of zen will take a whole new meaning when it comes down to meal times:
Make your meal times just as intimate as your bath time. I know this might not always be possible, but see what you can do to create a ritual around it. If you’re at work, take your lunch outside and put away your phone. If you’re at home light a candle, close the computer and grab a book or listen to a podcast. Anything to stop you from scrolling and checking out. This is about you and the food, and meal times should feel like a meditation. This will not only lower your stress levels (the big unfriendly hormone, cortisol), it will alleviate major stomach distress. I guarantee. Look at it like this, if you’re finding it difficult to find time to meditate, just by implementing focus and mindfulness into meal times, it’s practically like you’re meditating three times a day! Win-win.
SET THE MOOD
Make your space inspiring. Isn’t it why we all love to go out for dinner? The atmosphere, the decluttered tables (please don’t leave your phone on the table when eating with a loved one!!!), candles are lit, music is playing, and intimate settings are created. You truly get to be in the moment, and connect. How about setting this same mood at home. Switch off all electronics, especially the TV and remove them from site. Play some tunes, light some candles, serve your food on and in pretty dish ware, which doesn’t have to be expensive, use cool cutlery and create a mini version of you’re favorite dining experience at home. A few tweaks here and there and your dining experience is elevated to a whole new level. This is definitely easier at dinner, especially if you’re dining with others. But what if you simply took time each meal to implement some of these rituals into your meal times? I’m telling you, your happiness factor will raise itself a few notches. How many times do you walk away from social media or your computer to only feel deflated, or worse about yourself and your situation? Meal times and breaks just enliven you, not only physically from the nourishment you’re consuming, but mentally and emotionally as well.
So many of us, including myself, have forgotten how to eat. Our environments and society are moving at such a fast pace that we’re forgetting how to eat, chew and dine. I always like to go back and time and think about what it was like before cell phones, TV’s, computers, societal pressure and news feeds. Think of all the time people had to not only cook, but to eat, chew, nourish and live life away from technology? AH, it must of been blissful. Now I fully understand that this is simply our new norm, but I think it’s constantly important to come back to basics. I know this is something that I say often, but it’s always the little things that add up, that make the biggest of difference in your life. Chewing is one of these. We all know that our stomachs don’t have teeth, and that digestion begins in our mouth, but how many of you are chewing your food 40-50 times before swallowing? I’m sure not many! I know when I’m eating something that’s so yummy I maybe get in 15-20, which is the norm. When this happens though, we are asking, no begging our bodies to give us stomach distress, acid reflex, bloating, gas, indigestion, etc…we are saying “yup, body, I’m ready to feel these symptoms”. We’re giving our bodies the fuel to add to the fire. So my challenge do you this week is to take one meal where you try to chew each bite 40 times. It’s going to feel so bizarre, awkward and will most likely be difficult, but take note of how you feel after. You might have to do this a few times to benefit, but just do this little experiment on yourself and start this mindfulness practice on the way you eat. We don’t know, what we don’t know!
“Eating is time to receive offerings in the form of food to nurture and revitalize your body. Nurture your thought as well”
Breathe. Say a tiny two second prayer to give thanks to what lies before you.
Eating simply isn’t taking food, stuffing it in your face to satisfy a craving or to numb an option, eating is nourishment. We are 100% cellular creatures. What feeds these cells? Food, and only food. It goes so much deeper than just physical objects, entering into your body. It’s life force.
When we step outside of ourselves, breathe, and relax we are not only happier in our present moment, in this case, at meal times, we will unequivocally be healthier in body, and mind at the present time, but also in the future.
We will evolve to another level. Which is what life is all about. We are human beings put on this earth to grow, evolve, teach and love.
Let your body do it’s thing. Unwind, switch off, unplug, and come back to the art of zen. Of being with yourself, or loved ones.
We all lead full lives, but all of these things are free, simple and easy to implement, but can reap massive benefits to your overall health and well-being.
I’m not saying it will be easy, has we all have ingrained habits, but they will be worth it. Trust me!
I’m right here working on these things with you.
But what is it all for, if we can’t enjoy the simple pleasures in life, such as eating nourishing food, and connecting with the most important person in your life…
Have the most beautiful start to your week guys.
love & light,
For those of you in need of deeper guidance, support and love during the beautiful, exciting and often difficult journey when it comes to our own unique bodies, health and lifestyles, I look forward to connecting over a session.