The first signs of spring bring a lust for fresh vegetables. The seasonal shift triggers an internal shift away from wanting heavy, comfort foods towards fresh, light and in-season dishes. Being aware of this natural shift is the first step to mindful eating.
While “mindful eating” means different things to different people, many consider it being aware of how your food was grown. Is it organic? Low pesticides? A GMO? These are all important things to be mindful of, and part of eating mindfully; however, we also like to know if you are getting the most amount of nutrient value from that food, getting the most bang for your buck.
Take grains for example. We love all grains, but not all are created equal, and when it comes to grains, like all food, fresh is best. Grain is a company out of Vancouver that sources the freshest grains and mills their flour because they wanted higher quality. “Grocery store flour is a casualty of the over-industrialization of our food systems. Bleached, deconstructed, heated and chemically altered. Most flour found at your grocery store is the product of highly mechanized food processing that prioritizes efficiency, economy, and shelf-life over flavour and nutrition.”
By milling their flour, more nutrients stay in the flour and is, therefore, more nutritious. That’s great and all, but how can you make sure you’re getting the maximum amount of nutrition out of the freshly milled flour? By being mindful of how you chew your food.
Digestion, especially the digestion of carbohydrates, starts in the mouth. Being conscious of chewing your food, to break it down physically into smaller pieces and chemically by helping mix in the enzymes in your saliva, is the best way to ensure you’re getting full nutritional value from your food.
This can seem overwhelming at first, so we’ve put together four ways to help. These will help you get the full nutritional value of your food, help you stop overeating, and help you enjoy your meals to their fullest.
1.Burn An Abeego Twist To Set Your Pace
Abeego twists* are the perfect campaign for dinner. These Abeego scraps are tightly twisted and can be used as a candle to set the pace for your meals. Each twist will burn for approximately 30 minutes which gives you a nice, visual timer to help to slow your speed and focus on chewing your meals.
2. Put Your Fork Down Between Bites
It’s as simple as that. When holding your fork, you’ll naturally have the urge to prepare your next bite which forces you to chew less and, in most cases, swallow your food faster than you would without it. When you put your fork down, it slows this sense of urgency and allows you to relax and chew.
3. Focus On Your Meal
Life is busy, we get it, but multitasking, like watching tv or scrolling your social feeds, takes your awareness off of chewing and onto other things, which can cause you to swallow poorly digested food and overeat. Focus on your plate, chew fully and be observant to your body’s cues. It may need less than you thought.
4. Make Dinner Into A Ritual
Bringing mindfulness into your meals doesn’t have to be boring, it can be a true act of self-care. Serve your meal with intention on a beautiful plate that you love. Whether it’s sleek white or hand-tossed pottery, is up to you. Turn on some mellow music and light a candle. Setting a routine and making it a ritual adds a level of comfort and it’ll become a part of the day that you look forward to. Meals don’t have to be hurdles to jump to get on with your day; they can be small reprieves in an otherwise busy day or the main event or destination itself. Change your food-perspective, and your life will follow.
Changing a habit is difficult. Being more cognizant of how you eat and the pace at which you consume your food can be overwhelming at first. At the very least, focus more on chewing to make sure you get the maximum benefit from your food; you’ll find that your digestion will improve and you’ll be more aware of your body’s signals. Over time you can create a ritual around your meal and a mindset that goes with it. Most of all, enjoy your food.