Last week I wrote an article about Mindful Movement, you can read that blog post here. Lately, I have been doing more thinking about mindfulness and how to apply this concept to other areas of our lives. More on that soon! This week, I encourage you to think further on a topic we’ve touched on before: thinking mindfully about how you eat.
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:7.
God wants us to rest in his peace. It may not seem that way with life’s constant daily stresses. But God promises us that when we hand our struggles over to him in prayer, no matter how great or small, he will guard our hearts and our minds with his peace.
Because God is so big and powerful, it’s easy to think this passage only applies to life’s major trials and tribulations. But God wants to have intimate, personal relationships with you and me. Of course he wants us to have peace in our souls, but he is the creator of our universe and the creator of our bodies. I believe God desires us to be at peace with our bodies including peace when we eat.
There is a significant amount of research that backs up the healthy effects of eating in peace. When we are relaxed while eating, we are able to fully digest our food, getting more of the nutrients than if we were to eat on the go or eat while we are stressed. Also, our bodies are better able to digest food when our digestive tract is calm. Our bodies secrets hormones during periods of stress that get in the way of proper digestion. So, rest while you digest!
"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones" Proverbs 17:22.
A personal training client of mine recently started practicing mindful eating. He is keeping a daily food journal, including how he feels 30 minutes after he eats. This is an AWESOME excerpt from his journal (that I have permission to share). I hope you are encouraged to mindfully eat a meal or snack today and if you feel inspired, journal your experience.
Thoughts for today on Mindful Eating:
This morning when I woke up, it was Sunday. On Sunday, one of the big traditions is to eat oatmeal. This morning was a little different in that several of my children are sick and would not be going to church. So I found myself in the kitchen with my bowl of oatmeal by myself. So I decided to try mindfully eating the whole bowl.
First observing the bowl and all its white creaminess from the milk, then its pool of melted butter with its crimson cinnamon crust. I also observed how quiet it was without the chaos of children running around, doors slamming, feet stomping and general noise that usually make this morning interesting. I felt like I was in my own sanctuary with my dog on one side snorfully sleeping and a bowl of hot steaming oatmeal on the table before me.
Not wanting to lose the mood, I decided to dive into my first bite of oatmeal. I wondered what truths would I find beneath this velvety white exterior and its mountains of swollen rolled oats clinging to each other. The first bite was exhilarating!! Rich kernels of steaming grain soaked with the hot creamy milk just exploded in my mouth. The tender and slightly chewy grains added a weightyness that felt hearty and satisfying. The rich creamy milk adding it sweet velvety touch which heightened the experience to one of great satisfaction with a dish well made.
The next thing I realized was there was a battle deep in the bowels of my mind and mouth. After the first 10 bites my mind wanted to get more of the wonderful creamy goodness. My mouth on the other hand was not finished. It had not fully taken in the textures and ever-changing landscapes that ensued from continual chewing. Swallow, no chew, no swallow, no we must chew, the battle raged on until I reached the 30-chew mark at which point my mind won the battle and I swallowed.
Over the next 56 min I slowly and mindfully ate the oatmeal as if changed from steaming hot to lukewarm, to almost room temperature. I was continually surprised as the food itself changed, as kernels soaked up more liquid and became more supple. Or the occasional husk which would jump out at you causing one to almost flinch because of the unexpected change in texture. Each bite slowly causing my hunger to subside and I feel full and content.
Food is truly a gift from God. With all the depth of texture, flavors, smells, and colors, how can one not see the creativity and awesomeness of a Father the longs for his children to experience the goodness, He alone provides. Thank you Lord for such a wonderful meal!! AMEN!!! -Cameron
What an incredible journey this man experienced. Food is medicine. Food is a gift from God. It’s also necessary to live. We aren’t called to worship food or make it an idol, but when we are mindful with the experience of eating and we listen to how our bodies feel after eating, our relationship to food may be transformed.
Download our free Mindful Eating Bookmark (cut out and fold in half). This is a great resource to keep with you throughout the day to remember to eat mindfully!
You can read the whole article on mindful eating here. To get started today, invite God into your wellness journey, including your relationship with food. Take a few deep breaths before you eat. Relax your shoulders. Take a moment to give thanks and be joyful for your meal. Whether you are on the road, at a restaurant, or sitting at home with your children running crazy, pause and give thanks for your health, your body, and your food.
Blessings on our journey,
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.