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Mindful Monday: Honor The Food

April 26, 2010

A few weeks ago I picked up a copy of the book Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Living. The book is great, and in order to motivate myself to keep up with practicing what I’m learning by reading it, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and interpretations of the book’s messages. I’m going to start with mindful eating, as I think almost everyone can use some help in this arena. Today I’m going to write about honoring the food.

When I was a kid, the only time my family ever said grace before a meal was on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maybe Easter, too. In fact, when it was being said I’d usually open my eyes a little and look around the table to see if the grownups all had their eyes closed.

As I grew up I paid much, much more attention to what was being said at grace, but never brought it into my daily life, probably because I saw it as something “religious”. Although I’m not a religious person, I’m certainly spiritual, and reading Savor has opened my eyes up to the idea of being thankful and grateful for my food every single time I eat.

This week I intend to honor my food before each and every meal and snack. The book lists seven steps for mindful eating, but I believe taking on one at a time will be the most successful way for me to learn them and use them.

Here are some techniques for honoring your food:

  • Say some sort of grace, prayer, or “the five contemplations
  • Think about where your food came from, how many sources contributed to it being on your plate (the sun, the soil, the farmer, the trucker, etc) and give thanks for all who participated in your meal
  • Close your eyes and really connect to the idea that this food is a gift to you, to nourish you, as many of us in developed countries completely take for granted how precious food is in other places
  • Commit to the idea of being thankful for your food, it will help you slow down and enjoy it so much more
  • Keep conversations at meal time limited to talk about love, nourishment, how the food was prepared, etc. Talk about unpleasant circumstances and stressful situations will take your thoughts and focus away from the food, dishonoring it
  • Turn off the TV, get off the Internet, and focus solely on your food
  • Consider having at least one meal per day in silence, to help focus your attention on the gift you are eating

This morning I closed my eyes before breakfast and thanked all the people who were involved in getting my meal to me today, asked for help staying present and mindful during my entire meal, and ate in silence. Having a system of mindfully honoring my food before I eat definitely helps me slow down and pay attention to what I’m doing. I also think honoring the food helps us to stop eating when we are full, as we are paying close attention to what we’re doing, not watching TV or being distracted.

How do you honor your food? Are you a mindful eater?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2010 9:33 am

    I have to say, that I’m pretty mindful when I’m alone, but when our whole family sits down to eat, it feels more chaotic and it’s just about getting through the meal. We never have the TV on, I will say that.

    • April 26, 2010 9:52 am

      I find it MUCH harder to eat mindfully when I’m eating with my boyfriend at night – we talk, sometimes he wants to watch TV, etc. It’s so much easier to pay attention when I’m alone!

  2. April 26, 2010 12:24 pm

    what a great thought! I sometimes remember, but usually I don’t and I love the idea of slowing down BEFORE my meal

    • April 26, 2010 1:11 pm

      Yes, I know what you mean! Sometimes once you’ve already started eating, slowing down is super hard!

  3. April 26, 2010 9:41 pm

    Your comment made my day!
    I actually linked to the tofu recipe in my post (my links are always in blue)- it’s online at http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/tandoori_tofu.html
    Enjoy!

Trackbacks

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