In order to fully connect with your body’s needs, it’s important to connect with the food that nourishes and supports it. Here are a few ways to stay mindful and enjoy those delicious moments.
BY: VICTORIA YATES, RN
Have you ever thought about the way you connect with your food? Lately, I’ve been thinking about that ‘missing link’ between those who are intuitive with their eating habits, and those who need more structure and rules.
There are two important aspects: staying connected with your body’s needs, and with the food you eat.
While I was traveling in Puerto Rico and Spain recently, I found myself observing the locals and how they were around food. In Puerto Rico, the most outstanding thing I noticed was how free everyone was around food. Food was celebratory; not just during someone’s birthday or a holiday, but with every meal. There were always reasons to throw a party, enjoy each other’s company, take time to prepare the food, and then take time to enjoy it.
In Spain, people sat down and spent 30 minutes sipping wine before spending another 1-2 hours around the table savoring the food. Food was a big deal to them, not because it was something they had to think about all the time or needed to worry over its calorie count. It was a big deal to them because it was part of their culture, and part of their connection to the world and with others.
We seem to lack these types of experiences in the U.S., which makes me wonder: what’s the deal?
Why do we have such an unhealthy relationship with food as a culture? I’d argue that the reason we have a higher prevalence of eating disorders in Western countries compared to the non-Western world is because we have lost the importance of connecting with our food.
When we connect with the food we eat, it’s inevitable that we’ll eat more mindfully, more intuitively, and more healthfully for our bodies. Let’s talk about a few ways you can be more mindful about connecting with your food.
1. Shop your local farmer’s market.
When you walk around at a farmer’s market, talk to the people who were apart of growing the food that you’ll be eating that week, and think about the process by which the food was grown. You’ll have a better appreciation for the food and its fresher, nutritious quality that makes it that much more tastier!
2. Sign up for a local meat share subscription.
Consider signing up for a local meat share program that delivers fresh, organic, grass-fed and free-range products to your doorstep each month. Prices at conventional grocery stores are typically more expensive, and this allows you to be a part of supporting local farmers who raise their meat ethically and safely for consumers, their workers, and the animals. By supporting local farmers and eating meat, you’ll have a greater connection to it, enjoy it more and eat more mindfully.
3. Take time to prepare your food and time eating.
The first thing that usually goes when most of our busy is taking time to prepare a meal. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with resorting to a frozen meal or breakfast for dinner on occasion, we miss out on the experience of cooking by putting something in the microwave and hitting start. Try finding the time to prepare a meal and take the time to make it an enjoyable experience. Consider finding a recipe that sounds challenging but doable, pour a glass of wine, put your apron on, and enjoy the process. Smell what you’re making, stir the flavors together, and wait in anticipation for the meal to be done. This can make the meal you prepare that much more special, and helps you appreciate what you’ll be tasting.
Along those same lines, taking time to eat your food can take you from a place of mind-less eating to mind-full eating. Spend time at the table before you even start eating to pause even just for a few seconds, take a few breaths, and prepare your body and mind for the food you’re about to experience. Pausing before eating, followed by slower eating helps you taste your food better, enjoy it, and recognize when you’re truly full and satisfied.
By taking the time to shift your mindset, it can make all the difference in how you relate to both your food and body.
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: ANNIE SPRATT
Victoria Yates, RN is a Registered Nurse & Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor based in Westchester, NY who focuses on helping women reach a healthier relationship with food and their bodies. She is passionate about guiding others reprogram negative thoughts around food and body image so they may experience a truly joyful life. Learn more about Victoria Yates Nutrition.