One of my mentors Marc David with the Institute for the Psychology of Eating wrote a book called The Slow Down Diet. In it he talks about the fact even if we eat the healthiest foods in the perfect amount but consume it in a state of anxious rushing, the physiological stress response will negatively impact digestion, absorption and metabolism.
Here are the key elements of his take on mindful eating.
1. Relax, breathe and make sure you get enough oxygen.
2. Eat the highest quality food ie local, organic, fresh, prepared mindfully with full attention, received with gratitude and eaten with attention. Limit Antinutrients such as refined carbohydrates, partially hydrogenated fats, artificial colors/flavours/sweeteners and toxins such as solvents, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics.
3. Cultivate Awareness. Digestion begins in our mind. Slow down to access our gut wisdom and learn to eat to the “Point of Energy” ie walking away from the table with more energy than when you sat down to eat. Eating more food past this point, actually drains your energy.
4. Develop a rhythm of daily life that includes regular meals, snacks, rest, movement and play.
5. Pleasure (Vitamin P) has great healing potential. Pleasure loves slow. Health loves slow. Healing only happens when the body is in the relaxation response.
6. Thinking is a nutritional choice. Become aware of what we are thinking about food, nutrition and our body.
7. Story: Develop awareness of your nutritional history, who is eating now and rewrite your nutritional story.
8. Embrace the sacred in food and nutrition. Cultivate appreciation for each and every meal, beverage and snack, and for every step of production from the farm to the table.