Better Nutrition

Mindful eating

Taking time to enjoy your meals is a treat for your taste buds— and a boon to your health

- By Neil Zevnik

hen was the last time you enjoyed a meal largely in silence, paying attention to what you were eating, savoring every nuance of the food, contemplat­ing its origins and complexiti­es and your reasons for consuming it? I’m guessing not recently, if at all. The fast pace of modern life leaves us little time to enjoy the moment, our food, and our lives. But maybe we need to slow down. And that’s where mindful eating comes in.

Mindfulnes­s isn’t a new concept. It has been a basic tenet of Buddhist thought and practice for millennia. But the specifi c applicatio­n of mindfulnes­s to eating is garnering a great deal of attention these days as people seek ways to counteract the relentless tempo of our media- and app- saturated grind. Spa retreats are incorporat­ing it into their relaxation off erings; the government is funding studies into the eff ects of mindfulnes­s on eating disorders; local health food markets are off ering seminars on the shopping aspects of mindful eating.

Essentiall­y, mindfulnes­s in eating is about looking inward and outward at your relationsh­ip with food. Internally, it’s about being aware of how you feel about food, in the moment and in context; meditating upon the sources of your food and the eff ects of its production; and being sure you’re hungry before you eat. Externally, it’s focusing on the sensory eff ects of your food; appreciati­ng the textures and colors and aromas and fl avors that you’re experienci­ng; slowing down and becoming aware of the specifi c pleasures of the bounty you are being

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