We work in a stressful city, and most of us choose to sacrifice our time spent eating for work. On the contrary, French people treat their meals sacredly, with a normal lunch break as long as two hours. To them, quality time spent eating is the most enjoyable moment of the day to relax, reconnect and recharge. Is there anything we can learn from them?
Quality is the key. It’s not about how much time we spend eating but how mindfully we eat. When we choose to enjoy our food with a conscious chew, breath and feel, even 10 minutes can make a big difference.
1. Facilitate weight loss
Digestion actually starts in the mouth. When we chew, we release enzymes that start the digestion process. At the same time, chewing triggers two very important hormones that facilitate weight loss: ghrelin and leptin. These two hormones control our body fat and appetite. They send signals to our brain that help to decrease hunger and tell us to stop eating when we are nearly full.
2. Help with anti-ageing
Mindful eating with high-nutrient-dense food has the effect of anti-ageing. It provides a happy gut environment in which we are able to digest and fully absorb all the micronutrients, antioxidants and enzymes we need for growth and repair. Start by chewing your age with every bite. It may bring you brighter skin, increased energy and an amazing feeling of youth again.
3. Achieve therapeutic relaxation
Instead of swallowing your food, take some time to truly taste and experience what you eat. We turn our body from an inflammatory state to an anti-inflammatory state when we eat slowly. This is what is called the “green zone”. It is the mode of the human body in which the blood starts to circulate slowly and completely. Our breaths become slower, easier and more equal, which helps in releasing stress. No time to go to a spa? Treat yourself to a 15-minute mindful-eating session and you can achieve the same sense of relaxation.
4. Leave your worries behind
When we eat mindfully, we connect not just to the physical sensations but also to the emotional ones. Every bite teaches us to look within to experience our feelings in a deeper way. Every breath allows ourselves to open up to see things differently. Slowly, we realise a problem is no longer a problem. It is just the way in which we cope with the problem. All of a sudden, you can experience what people call being present – the moment you start forgetting about your worries.
5. Attract love
Through conscious breathing, we activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which is our love and safety mode. We appreciate what we eat and reconnect with our feelings. This powerful, loving energy calls in even more love. We become a love magnet when sending out this energy to the universe and attract more and more love towards us. “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become,” said Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Choose to believe that you are the the creator of your life, and start with the small, simple step of putting this thought into action with just one conscious meal.
Mindful eating is amazing yet it is also easier said than done. The great news is you don’t need to walk alone. We are holding a mindful eating workshop on the morning of Saturday, 16 December 2017 at SpiceBox Organics, 137 Caine Road, Mid-Levels. With a healthy breakfast and guided meditation, we will experience all the benefits together. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 2559 9887.
Nourish your body, mind and soul with this conscious self-love approach this Christmas. Experience what simple happiness is – right here, right now, in every single chew.
By Jennifer Yip, holistic life coach and founder of Living Life with Jen