When did something so natural and intuitive become so confusing and complicated?
Once upon a time, the act of eating was viewed as an intimate practice of communing directly with nature to not only fuel the body, but also calm the mind and honor spirit. Our ancestors viewed mindful eating as a ritual of devotion to our higher selves and to the land they called their temporary home.
Unlike our close descendants, we have become overwhelmingly disconnected from the land that provides for all the intimate process of harvesting and preparing our own food.
Our busy schedules have forced us to rely on outsourcing our abilities to prepare a truly nourishing meal. We eat in our cars, at our desks, and at times, while walking to and from appointments.
What we eat is equally important to how and why we eat when considering a healthy diet as a whole.
Mindful eating for on-the-go Vatas
Vata types tend to munch at a rapid pace and snack often. When we eat in this way, we tend to swallow large amounts of air which can lead to gas, bloating and excessive belching. When we eat too quickly or in a rush, we disrupt our digestive system and deny ourselves the experience of the divine communion between the external world and internal world of our own body. According to Ayurveda, dis-harmony between these worlds creates dis-ease.
Action: Practice slowing down.
How: Connect with your food by ditching your utensils and occasionally eating with your hands. Another simple way is eating in a quiet environment away from stimulus like phones and computers.
Mindful eating for strict Pitta dieters
Pitta types tend to be intense dieters which doesn’t always equate to proper nourishment. When we eat as a form of punishment for consuming that muffin or box of cookies, we stress our bodies further with guilt, shame and frustration.
The placebo effect has proven to be a whopping 50-70% effective in pharmaceutical trials. You can be eating top shelf organic foods, but if your thoughts are rooted in negativity, your digestion is sure to be compromised.
Action: Ease up!
How: Prepare your mind and gut by offering a simple act of gratitude or prayer before meals. Take time to honor how blessed and fortunate you are to have food in front of you while 12.9% of the population or 795 million people are suffering from starvation.
Mindful eating for foodie Kaphas
When we eat beyond our stomach’s capacity, we disrupt the elements in our stomach and can cause indigestion, discomfort and heaviness in the mind and body.
Many of us have attempted to ground the busy monkey mind by over filling our bellies beyond capacity. This phenomenon is commonly known as binge eating. Deep seated emotions tend to trigger poor eating habits. Yoga and most forms of movement are healthy practices that allow us to tap into our subtle bodies and begin the healthy dialogue between mind and body.
Action: Lighten the load.
How: Find yourself after meals stuffed to the brim? Instead of falling into the negative self-talk spiral, try going for a 5-10 minute brisk walk around the neighborhood. Walking after meals aids in digestion and settles the mind.
Remember, your body knows, feels, and is constantly communicating with you.
If you take time to listen closely, you can remember the art of tapping into the innate intelligence that governs your whole mind-body complex. Through mindful eating, we get direct feedback from our inner nutritionist about how to properly nourish our unique mind-body type and build immunity against disease.