3 Tips For Mealtime Mindfulness
We are firm believers in uplifting the every day, in taking intentional action to create a meaningful and beautiful life. And one of the most powerful practices we can implement to achieve this is elevating the ritual of mealtime. If our bodies are temples and food is our fuel, then that makes our meals a sacred act. If you’re reading this article, I’m sure you’re well-versed in the importance of balanced nutrition and the effect that our food has on our health. But lesser known, yet so deeply important, is the effect of how we eat.
Take a moment to think back to your last five meals. How many were spent standing up? Did you stop what you were doing to eat, or just keep pushing through your to-do list? During how many meals were you watching TV, catching up on articles, and / or mindlessly scrolling through your insta feed? When was the last time you set your table and broke bread with someone you love? As a culture, we’ve completely lost touch with our food. Which at first glance might seem hard to believe, as it appears that Americans are obsessing over their food more than ever before. But when it comes down to it, even the most wellness-conscious of us very rarely (if ever) truly set aside the time to sit down, get present, and mindfully enjoy a meal.
This constant always-rushed, too-busy-to-take-a-break mentality is beginning to take it’s toll on our health. When we’re stressed or preoccupied with work while eating, our body is pumping out cortisol (the stress hormone) and taking energy away from our digestive system. The release of cortisol signals to your body that you’re in danger-mode, so the majority of your energy is focused on the bodily functions that are needed during a potential fight-or-flight situation. This makes digesting that salad you’re having for lunch particularly difficult. It also interferes with your body’s ability to convert your meal into usable energy and nutrients. This is never good.
Below, we’ve outlined a few of our favorite practices + rituals for setting the scene in the hopes of creating a sense of mindfulness and intention during mealtime and preparing the mind, body, and soul for nourishment.
~ Elevate your external space.
Our external world profoundly affects how we feel internally. Before your next meal, take a few moments to set the space. Clear away any clutter from the dining area, display fresh flowers, bring out the place mats and cloth napkins, light some candles, clean and prep your favorite plates and glassware — whatever will make you smile! Allow the outer beauty to pour inward.
~ Get your mind right.
Before you begin to eat, allow yourself to really arrive in that moment, at that table. Most of the time, the physical body is in one place and the mind in complete another. Close your eyes, and just turn your attention towards your breath. Take a few long, deep, full inhales and exhales through your nose. With each exhale, allow your day, week, and to-do list to slowly fade away. Become potently present.
~ Express grati-food.
Bring some gratitude into the mix in whatever way feels most authentic to you. This could be said aloud or to yourself. Gratitude is one of the highest vibrations we can attune ourselves to, so it only makes sense to include it in as many daily rituals as possible. Allow the genuine expression of gratitude to soften any remaining stress or tension you may be feeling from your day to prepare your mind + body for some soul-deep nutritional love.