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The power of mindful eating: How to eat consciously and its connection with plant-based foods

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Eating consciously, or mindful eating, is a practice that involves paying attention to what we eat, how we eat, and why we eat. It is not a diet or a set of rules, but rather a way of relating to food with awareness, curiosity, and compassion. This is an essential approach to healthy eating and is often associated with plant-based foods.

A mindful practice

Mindfulness is an intentional focus on one’s thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations in the present moment. When it comes to eating, mindfulness means using all of our physical and emotional senses to experience and enjoy the food choices we make. This practice increases gratitude for food and our awareness about the impact that food has on our bodies, which in turn improves the overall eating experience. Mindful eating encourages us to make choices that are satisfying and nourishing to our bodies.

When we eat consciously, we savor every bite and appreciate the flavors, textures, and aromas of our food. We also listen to our hunger and fullness cues and honor our body’s needs. We try to eat for nourishment, not as a means of distraction or emotional comfort.

By practicing conscious eating, we pay attention to various aspects of our eating experiences:

  1. Consider the wider spectrum of the meal – where the food came from, how it was prepared, and who prepared it.
  2. Acknowledge how our bodies and minds feel after the meal and express gratitude for it.
  3. Notice internal and external cues that affect how much we eat and pay attention to how the food looks, tastes, smells and feels in our bodies as we eat.

Healthy choices: Plant-based foods

Eating consciously involves making a conscious decision to choose foods that benefit our bodies and minds. For most of us, this means choosing natural, unprocessed, and wholesome plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. This practice of conscious eating helps us become more aware of the connection between plant-based foods and our well-being, which in turn positively influences our food choices.

As we know, a balanced plant-based diet is rich in nutrients, helps lower our risk of chronic diseases, supports our immune system, and improves our mood. It can also help us feel more satisfied and energized throughout the day. 

Conscious eating can help us to cultivate a positive relationship with food, ourselves, and the world around us. When we combine conscious eating and plant-based foods magic happens:

  1. Body Harmony: Nutrient-dense plant foods nourish our bodies, while mindfulness ensures we savour every bite, reduce stress, and promote physical and emotional well-being.
  2. Mind Clarity: Plant-based foods impact in a positive way our mood, mental state and spirit. Being mindful of the food we eat can sharpen our focus and deepen our clarity and consciousness, leading to a quieter mind and inner peace. It allows us to appreciate the present moment and live in the now.

Conscious eating tip starters

Eating consciously is a skill that we can learn and practice over time. Here are some tips to help get started:

  • Before you eat, take a moment to pause and check in with yourself. Ask yourself: Am I hungry? What do I feel like eating? How will this food nourish my body and how it will make me feel? What are the benefits of this food?
  • Choose foods that are wholesome, natural, fresh, and unprocessed. Avoid foods that are high in sugar, salt, fat, additives, and preservatives.
  • Use all your senses to enjoy your food. Look at the colors, shapes, and sizes of your food. Smell the aromas and notice the nuances. Taste the flavors, notice the contrasts and feel the textures.
  • Put down your utensils between bites and chew each bite thoroughly. Eat slowly and chew well.
  • Focus on your food and your eating experience. Eat without distractions and turn off the TV, computer, phone, or any other device that might take your attention away from your food.
  • Be thankful for the food you have on your plate, for the ingredients that nurture your body, and for the efforts that were involved for you to have that meal (whether is nature, the farmers, or the person who cooked the meal.
  • Share your food with family, friends, or colleagues. Engage in meaningful conversations and enjoy their company. Eating with others can enhance your social bonds and emotional well-being.

Enhancing health

Eating with mindfulness helps us appreciate our food, prevent overeating, promote better digestion, and boost our overall health. It enables us to make informed and healthier decisions about what we eat and how it impacts our whole self and also the environment.

Therefore, the practice of mindful eating and consumption of plant-based foods complement each other.

By being mindful of what we eat, we can nourish our body, mind, and spirit with healthy plant-based foods that are beneficial for our health, it can help us improve our physical and mental well-being, strengthen our relationship with ourselves and others, reduce our environmental footprint and support a more sustainable food system. Eating consciously is a powerful yet straightforward way to enhance our health.

It’s important to remember that every bite is an opportunity to connect with our food and make choices that benefit ourselves. Our well-being is a journey that requires mindfulness and intentional decision-making.

By embracing the synergy between plant-based foods and mindfulness, we can watch our inner selves flourish and grow.

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Diana Moura
Diana Moura
Diana is a plant-based chef and is certified in plant-based nutrition through eCornell. She has travelled extensively throughout South East Asia, has a law degree, and has been based in Macau, China, for several years. She now works full time in her own wellness business. You can catch up with her on Instagram: @seeds.wholesome
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