From The June 2017 Issue Of DRUM! Magazine | By Ken Babal, C.N.
If you’ve read my column regularly, you know that good dietary choices can make a huge difference in how you look, feel, and perform each day. If you’ve been struggling with weight or some other health problem, know that your body heals itself, and nutrition provides the resources to accomplish that task.
The problem is, we’re often distracted and don’t pay much attention to what we’re eating, how we’re eating, or how our food choices affect us, or the planet for that matter. We might call this mindless eating.
The opposite is mindful eating. Mindful eating is a slower, more thoughtful way of eating. You are eating with the intention of caring for yourself, and with the attention necessary to enjoy your food and its beneficial effects.
A cornerstone of mindful eating is to slow down. It’s not unusual for customers at a fast food place to finish a meal in ten minutes while standing. Most fast foods can be eaten while steering the wheel of a car, and the restaurants are usually drive-through.
Research has shown that overweight men and women take in fewer calories when they slow their eating pace. A recent Japanese study involving 1,700 young women concluded that eating more slowly resulted in feeling full sooner and eating fewer calories. Eating slowly and mindfully not only helps you eat less, it enhances the pleasure of the dining experience. Wait a few minutes before going for seconds because it takes a while for the brain to get the message that you’re full.
In a world of impulsive and immediate gratification, it helps to take a moment to ask yourself a few questions before eating: What did I have at my last meal? Have I had any vegetables and fruits today? Am I truly hungry? If you’ve experienced digestive discomfort, don’t eat again until you are completely comfortable with your last meal. Express gratitude by saying a prayer or thanking the fish that gave its life for your nourishment.
There’s no denying that eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) results in an increased risk of dying prematurely from cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. So, it’s good to have a plan and practice mindful eating. But don’t stress over food. That can’t be good, either.