The Real Woman's Guide To Mindful Eating
My intent with this website is to help you rise to your healthiest, highest and most realized self, while living in the real world. And as someone who LIVES in the real world, health and wellness can seem all or nothing at times.
Don't eat carbs.
Don't eat dairy.
Don't eat meat.
We have become buried in don'ts and should's, which has COMPLETELY derailed mindfulness around eating.
Case In Point
For a FULL YEAR I was having terrible rashy, psoriasis-like breakouts on my body, from head to toe (HEAD to TOE- use your imagination); and it wasn't cute. I cut out dairy, because it had to be that, right?! Wrong. It had to be red meat, right?! Wrong. Well then it's likely gluten. Nope.
I struggled for so long because I was using the aforementioned don'ts to guide me, instead of listening to myself and body. Had I been tuning in I would have noticed that whenever I ate popcorn (breakfast, lunch and dinner somedays) within minutes I would get irritated and itchy; instead I ignored all the signs.
It wasn't until I paid for a V expensive allergy test that I came to realize that corn was the problem all along. I quit corn- tortillas, kernels, cob, popped- and within a few weeks everything cleared up, including my mind which I hadn't really clocked was also in distress.
So today I want to talk about mindful eating, like REAL mindful eating practices that can be used in your daily life- that also won't have you chanting to your food in public. Because food should love you, you should love food and it should be shared and enjoy with pleasure.
Slow Down Sister
Mindfulness requires we leave behind mindlessness, and mindlessness lives in busy. When we rush through eating we do it mindlessly, which leads to over eating and the resulting discomfort.
KNOW THIS, I come to you as a reformed fast eater; meaning I used to lap people when eating meals, easily breezing through seconds while others have barely put a dent in their firsts, so I understand how challenging it can feel initially to slow down as you eat.
HERE'S MY TIP, put your fork down between bites. Like full, put down the fork, push away from the table, think about something happy and light, AND THEN (and only then) do you pick up your fork for another bite. Doing this will ensure you eat slowly, therefore mindfully, and give your body a minute to stop and smell the roses- aka, enjoy your lovely meal.
Know Thyself aka Understand Your Personal Food Cues
Our bodies are always speaking to us, but often we completely ignore the signals. For me, it was completely ignoring the OBVIOUS cues that my body was having a hard time with corn; but this is why mindfulness is important in today's world, as we all work to rise to our best lives, we can become too focused on our goals and ignore the cues we are getting in the moment.
Knowing thyself means getting clear on how your body communicates distress.
Do you bloat after you eat salad?
Do you get a headache after drinking coffee?
Does kale give you the BIG D (diarrhea)?
Everyone is different, so if all your friends are eating kale salads in prep for your week in Oaxaca, but kale gives you the sh*ts, listen to your body.
I walked around lightheaded and foggy for 6 months attempting to be vegan, because nutritionists are all vegans, right? Wrong. I should have listened to my body, because after a lovely lemon roasted chicken, I finally felt like myself again.
Knowledge is power, babes. Know thyself.
Create Healthy Eating Habits
Not what you think...this is about your behaviours around food and not just what you eat.
Do you eat on the go?
Do you eat consistently out of packages?
Do you stress while you're eating?
Do you chew your food enough times per bite?
All of these habits contribute to positive or negative eating practices, and yet, have nothing to do with actual food. I find this is often the case with food habits, we concern ourselves with the food- which is important, no doubt- but we overlook the habits around food that lead to mindfulness and feeling good when we eat.
Set aside 20-30 minutes to enjoy your meals.
Use a plate with a real fork and knife; let yourself be fancy- you deserve it.
Take 3 deep breaths before every meal- especially lunch- if you find yourself wound up during the day
Chew each bite 20 times, until it's mush. Your stomach doesn't have teeth, so do your digestive system a solid.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. After each meal, tune into your body. Do you feel good? Do you feel tired? Do you feel energized? Use this information to inform your food choices.
Let Food Be Food
Food is food. It doesn't wake in the morning thinking about how it's going to f*ck with you today. It is us who has given food all this power and personality. Food doesn't give two sh*ts if you eat it or not. Food doesn't feel bad or dirty. Food is food. Understanding the stories you give to food- good, bad, dirty, clean etc- is key in getting our minds right about eating. Mindfulness can mean a great many things, but when it comes to food I think it's dissecting all the crappy energy we have created around food, in order to have a harmonious relationship with it.
If you met a guy (or girl) and wanted a really great bond, but all you did was get mad at him (or her) for things he (or she) didn't do or accuse him (or her) of being bad and hating you, what do you think would be the result? A gawd awful relationship is what, and it's the same narrative in your relationship with food.
I heard a friend say once, "there is no guilt free food. it's either unethical, unhealthy, unpopular or tastes like garbage", and this struck me because I love food, I have made it my life's work lol; but I remember when I was new in the wellness space I was OBSESSED with clean eating, having people see me eat clean, sharing all my clean eating inspo online and all it did was make me anxious around food.
Is this made with local ingredients?
Did you heat the olive oil?
Is this grain organic?
It was stressful for me and annoying for people around me. I was also blogging, so can you imagine me asking all these banal questions to a server AND then making my friends wait to eat while I snapped a photo. MISHUGA the whole thing.
It is possible to uphold our ethics (fair trade, organic etc.) but we can do while also upholding our sanity and joie de vivre.
Finally I gave it all up and started enjoying breaking bread with my friends and family and looking at food as what it is- fuel, hobby + profession (for me), bringer together of people and comfort- sorry not sorry, sometimes I am comforted by food and I ain't afraid to say it! So if I want a glass of wine, or a soda- dammit I'm having one- and if you feel so inclined, you should too!
It's time to break up with your twisted food story and start writing a new one based on YOU and YOUR BODY; which is mindful eating at its finest!