Be Present & Healthy — mindful eating and cooking

You have probably heard about mindful eating which simply means paying attention while eating your food. Instead of putting food into your mouth almost unconsciously, you learn how to notice your thoughts, feelings, and sensations as well as the look, smell, taste and the feel of the food you are eating. There is a wealth of scientific data that eating quickly, not chewing thoroughly and not paying attention to what and how much you are eating can result in substantial overeating and even healthy foods can cause you to gain weight if you eat enough of them. If you are always in a rush and one of those people who would put a handful of peanuts or raisins into your mouth and swallow as quickly as possible – stop! Maybe you should consider some of these hacks to become more aware of what are you feeding your body with.

• Take your first bite with your eyes closed – this will help you both appreciate your food and eat more slowly.
• Put your food on a plate – get in the habit of placing even small snacks and desserts on a plate before you eat them. This will force you to acknowledge exactly what and how much you will be eating. Eat in silence – put away your phone, turn off the TV, designating the first 3-5 minutes of a meal for quiet and mindful practice can be an effective strategy.
• Feed yourself with your non-dominant hand
• Making things more difficult is a great way to force yourself to pay attention to what you are doing.

It can also be applied to cooking, so mindful cooking is becoming a growing trend, especially in health aware communities of Ubud and Canggu. By paying attention to your food with all your senses as you prepare it, you will feel more satisfied. Cooking provides a wonderful opportunity to be present, mindful and aware, as opposed to being distracted, stressed or overwhelmed. It is an opportunity to train the mind, to understand what it means to be in the here and now, with a healthy sense of appreciation and patience. It is also an opportunity to get back in touch with the food that you eat. There are few simple exercises to do this:

• Take a few breaths and become aware of all the sensations in your body as you begin to cook.
• Experience the sensations in your body as you whisk, chop, beat or crack the ingre- dients you are using. Listen to the sounds that the food makes as you prepare it and any smells that are evoked. Guide your mind back to what you are doing if it wanders off and fully focuses on the task at present.
• Notice the texture of the food change as you begin to prepare your meal.■

Bali Pocket Magazine