Mindful Eating with Mindful ME
We had the pleasure of teaming up with MindfulME this week, and partnered with them for one of their Mindful Workshops.
Mindful ME is founded by Helen Williams, who has been teaching mindfulness and meditation in Dubai and beyond for the past 10 years as well as facilitating individual and couple sessions based on these insights. Her reputation as a leader in the region has been recognised with a circle of valued clients and awards such as the Emirates Woman of the Year award in 2014. With her handpicked team, Mindful ME builds on her own years of impact in the city.
The session we joined was about Mindful Eating (right up our street!) and over the course of two hours the lovely Cindy and Bindu took us through all aspects of Mindful eating. We then as a group had the chance to talk through our current relationships with food, and put some mindful techniques into practice. Many of the group mentioned that with the busy Dubai lifestyle the act of cooking food was less enjoyable, and felt more of a task each night. Once we had the chance to sit down and reflect we realized there are many simple ways we can change our eating habits and our relationship with food. Something as simple as sitting with your family at the table to eat your food, rather than in front of the TV, can make a huge difference.
Finally (and our favorite bit) at the end of the session, taking everything we had learnt, we whipped up some yummy Guacamole, and enjoyed eating as a group.
We enjoyed the session so much that we asked Cindy to put together some more information for our Ripe readers on how you can practice Mindful eating. We hope you enjoy…
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful Eating is the act of purposeful awareness as you select, cook and eat your food. When we choose to be fully present as we eat our fruit or drink our tea, as we cook our vegetables or toast our bread, we begin to slow down the process of eating and savour this daily action as an act of self care.
How can it benefit me?
Mindful eating helps us to listen to our bodies more intuitively and eat less from a state of anxious rush, or emotional bingeing, or the attachment to our own relationship with food. We break away from the habit of eating or drinking (I’m looking at you late night chocolate and mid-morning coffee) and begin to relish in the sensations we experience while eating. When we eat, or indeed cook, with intention (such as energising ourselves, being healthy, looking after our bodies, or even just delighting in flavour and taste) we expand our food story and that mid-morning coffee turns from a “must-have-to-function” that has lost its taste or meaning to a moment of purposeful pause that we notice with full awareness. Smell it’s aroma, taste the milk, coffee, sweetness and bitter, how it may be roasted, appreciate the colour. We can take it further and feel gratitude for the barista who made it, the farmers who grew it and everyone else in between.
“If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Naht Hanh reminds us that in our drinking or eating we connect ourselves to everyone who has contributed to bringing the food to us, as well as the nature that has grown, watered and nutured the plants that we eat. No wonder choosing good food sources is a part of Mindful Eating! When we consider the origin of our food it makes sense for us to choose sources that bring us clean and nutritious food, that connect us more directly with the nature of the source. You begin to taste the difference.
How to eat mindfully…
If we give ourselves the time to eat mindfully at least 3 times a week we can foster the attention that brings our intention to life. We know that stress and anxiety can lead to digestive stress such as IBS and so practicing mindfulness to soften this pressure can help us ease the symptoms of our gut.
More on Mindful ME…
Mindful Living is community of members who meet twice a month to enjoy workshops and support each other. You can choose to drop into workshops that interest you, sign up for a full year to secure your spot on all workshops or even become a facilitator and host.