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What IS Mindful Eating Anyway? An Exercise to Help Shed Some Light!

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Each Monday, Tiffany posts a message that provides positive energy and  tips for eating more mindfully. The purpose of the weekly message is to reinforce the ideas from the talks and classes that are a part of the Como Water Membership, and to further support those living the veg-centric lifestyle. To receive our Mindfulness Mondays posts, Become A Member today.

What IS Mindful Eating Anyway? An Exercise to Help Shed Some Light!

Everywhere you turn these days, you find someone writing or talking about mindful eating, but nailing down what mindful eating is can be hard to do. Rather than talk about it, in this post, I’m offering a way to learn by doing with a simple exercise that only takes a couple of minutes. Enjoy!

THE EXERCISE

Step 1: Find a small piece of food (one craisin, nut, cookie, or kernel of popcorn works great). Whatever you choose, make it something you like.

Step 2: Explore! Explore this piece of food sense by sense. Notice what it looks like. Notice what it feels like in your hand. Notice what it smells like. Before putting it in your mouth, think about how it will feel in your mouth. Think about how it will sound when you eat it. Think about how it will taste. Noticing your food sense by sense is the first step of mindful eating!

Step 3: Bring the Exploration to Your Mouth! Rather than putting the entire small piece of food in your mouth, take at least two bites. Close your eyes and take the first bite. After you take your first bite, chew slowly. Notice how the food feels in your mouth and how the taste changes in intensity from the first chew to the last swallow (take about 20 seconds to fully experience this first bite). Now, take the second bite. How does the food move around your mouth while you chew? Pay attention to each moment of this second bite.

Step 4: Take a Deep Breath and Reflect. After you’ve engaged in this exercise, reflect silently. What did it feel like to just stop and eat? Did the food taste differently than you remembered? Did any emotions or bodily sensations arise? How can you incorporate mindfulness into the meals you enjoy with your friends and family, and at work?

Most of us live in contexts where it’s near impossible to take hours to enjoy our meals sense by sense, bite by bite. But, by recalibrating now and again with mindfulness exercises such as this one, we can begin to infuse our cooking and eating with more attention, more presence, more consciousness and more mindfulness. This might mean making a colorful salad to accompany your pasta one night for dinner, or adding aromatic cinnamon to your brownies to ignite your nose before dessert ever touches your tongue, or having one evening a week where you eat without distraction–without the TV, computer, or a book.

Remember, our quest to master things like addictive eating, binge eating, emotional eating, and stress eating is a process, a process you can begin with exercises like this one. And even if you do not struggle with these issues, mindful eating–eating when you are present and all of your senses are engaged–can make eating a more enjoyable experience and your food that much more delectable. Have a great Monday folks and see you at the end of the week with another Como Water video! 😀

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Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!

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