You might have already heard or even know by now what mindfulness is – the ability to be in the present moment without overthinking or judging it. You just are. No more, no less. Mindfulness can be applied to all aspects of our life. You can be a more mindful parent, partner, friend, worker… and you can also be a more mindful eater. Bringing mindfulness to the table can have a huge impact on your wellbeing.
Mindfulness skills are quite handy when it comes to food. Not because mindfulness became trendy over the last couple of years, but because it can nurture your self-awareness and expand your senses. Who doesn’t want to enjoy food even more? By being mindful, you can deepen your relationship with food. Suddenly, you may find yourself more appreciative of the people who work to grow your food, or even realise that you can waste less food.
Mindfulness creates space within us, and it stretches our perception. Food remains food, but your perception of it changes. Food can become a source of connection between you and other people, if you share it mindfully with others. It can become a tool for change and a medicine in itself, if you notice how it affects your health, and it can be the starting point of a revolution, if you observe the existent inequalities in food access and distribution.
As you can see, there is more to mindfulness and food than what you may have guessed. The threads of perception are infinite and very rich. Mindfulness allows us to dive deep into those threads, without yet getting caught by chaos. We simply witness the interconnection between food and all there is, like if we were the audience in a theatre, watching how the world plays out from a comfortable and safe seat. How to reach that state, though?
You don’t need to sit in a cave for hours or spend some time in an ashram in India to learn how to be mindful. You only have to pay attention to where your mind wanders and then train yourself to be in the now. For instances, how many times have you eaten your food in front of a screen, without paying attention to the texture or even flavour of what you are eating? How often have you eaten or drunk more wine than what is good to your health? How much have you enjoyed the act of sharing food with others?
The answer to these questions can say a lot about how mindful you have been and how mindful you can become. Each time you are either buying, preparing, eating or sharing your food, it’s a good opportunity to practise and develop your mindfulness skills. Focus your attention on what you are thinking and feeling on each step of your moment to moment experience. Are the ingredients warm or cold? Are they soft or hard? How does your hand respond when chopping down your vegetables? Can you notice any smell? What about noises?
This type of questions can help you guide your attention and strengthen your mindfulness skills. As time goes by, you will notice that your relationship with food will slowly change and become a source of joy and meaning, instead of something that you take for granted or consume mindlessly.