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Mindful Monday Returns: Savor Small Bites & Chew Thoroughly

May 24, 2010

Missed the first three installments of Mindful Monday?

Even though I didn’t blog about mindful eating last Monday, I still started working on a new element of it, this week trying to “savor small bites and chew thoroughly”.

I’m glad I didn’t post last week, because now I have another whole week to keep practicing this! I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but as I write each step in the blog, I’m practicing it as well. I am taking it one step at a time, because trying to do everything at once feels overwhelming. However, I am definitely eating more mindfully, and taking it one step at a time has helped.

Let’s start with small bites. I don’t think I was guilty of too often taking huge bites, but I’m amazed at how even a small bite of a meal really packs quite a bit of flavor. When you take small bites, you also naturally take longer to finish a meal, which gives you much more time to enjoy it and let your body tell you if it is full or not.

Practice this by picking up a normal bite on your fork or spoon, and then knocking about half of it off your utensil. Notice how even with a smaller bite, you still get to enjoy the flavors and textures of the meal.

To really enjoy your food, chew thoroughly. Oh, Lord, how I am guilty of doing just the opposite! I really have made tremendous changes this year alone, just by being aware and setting my intentions to eat slower. I really, really notice now when other people eat quickly! I wonder how they even had time to taste what they were eating, but I know I was often guilty of the same thing (and still sometimes am!)

Chewing is where the digestion process starts – all too often we swallow food in an almost whole form, which forces the rest of the digestive system to take on much more than it needs to! We should all be chewing our food until it is liquefied, and goes down easy.

Start by putting down your utensil between every single bite. I find that once I’m disconnected physically from the utensil, I’m disconnected emotionally from the food, other than what’s already in my mouth. There is no need to take another bite right now – you already have food in your mouth. Therefore, there is no need to be holding your spoon or fork or chopsticks, either. I also believe if you are eating something with your hands, like a slice of pizza or giant turkey leg, you should put the food down and stop touching it, so you get that same disconnect.

Once your utensil is down it should be easier to focus on what’s going on in your mouth, as opposed to picking out your next bite. Engage in the senses as I talked about before, and just keep chew, chew, chewing, until the food is soft and in a liquefied state; it’s ready to swallow now.

My own experience with this is that it takes practice. Sometimes I don’t want to chew thoroughly, because I’m distracted by work, or a cat, or some thought. I keep practicing, though, because I can already tell how helpful it is to me in my quest to eat mindfully, intuitively, and savor my food (and life!).

Have a mindful Monday!

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