I attended a workshop given by Barbara Meyer of Green Mountain at Fox Run. The lecture was titled “Mindful Eating: Feeding the Seven Hungers.” The information present was based upon the book Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food by Jan Chozen Bays, a Zen teacher.
Barbara asked each of the participants to explain mindful eating.
My definition of mindful eating is composed of:
Eating without distraction, while being fully present with my food;
Exploring it through the five senses.
Truly tasting my food with gusto.
Staying in touch with my internal cues of hunger and satisfaction.
The 7 Hungers include:
Eye, Nose, Stomach, Cellular, Mind, & Heart.
We can nourish each of these hungers with and without food. These hungers can be fed through nature, art, & connection.
This was one of my take-aways from last summer at GMFR. I was out of balance with food. Most of the joy my life was derived from food. I learned that I needed to add more joy in. Now I get joy from exercising, sleeping well, being with friends, and having good boundaries.
We were asked to take an item of food, either a raisin or an almond. I chose an almond, as I had already done this exercise with both chocolate, and then later with a raisin.
We had to pretend that we were an alien from outer space. We had to look carefully at the almond in our palms. Observe it. Does it have a smell? It smelled great! We investigated how it looked. Then we put it in our mouth, without biting it. We rolled it around. THEN, we bit in. I thought the almond tasted better once I bit into it. Slowly, we chewed. Interestingly enough, the taste and texture of the almond changed throughout the eating process.
This exercise really made me evaluate my eating behaviors. I really struggle to eat in a distraction-free environment. Typically, I eat at home with the television and the computer on. I’ve been pretty successful at eating with just one form of media on, so that is progress.
I eat really fast. Like shoveling. I’ve had this habit since I was a kid. I don’t know why. I didn’t have a shortage of food supply growing up. However, it was mandated that we finish everything on our plates, regardless of our hunger/satisfaction levels. I’m working on slowing down. Putting my fork down between bites. But, I think there is more to it than that. Do I take time to prepare my body to eat by smelling and enjoying the textures of my food?
I do pray before eating, but I don’t always thank God for the hands that prepared my food, nor the farmers who raised it, or the animals that supplied it.
I will leave you with a quote from Marc David, who said,
“Be Awake at the Plate.”
For more information on mindful eating you can read about my May Mindful Eating Marathon.