How to Cultivate Connection and Calm with Mindful Eating
What does it mean to eat with grace?
In the Orion reader To Eat with Grace, Darra Goldstein writes in her foreword, “When we eat good food, we smell and taste the earth, and thereby reconnect with it: This is what it means to eat with grace.”
When we eat with grace, we touch on something essential: connection. We feel connection with each other, with our inner selves, and with the earth that sustains us.
For many parents, the act of eating with grace might feel hard to come by. We often eat while hurrying between activities. How often have we each eaten lunch while standing up in the kitchen or scarfed down a sandwich in front of our computer while preparing for the next meeting? When we rush through our meals, we barely register what we are taking into our bodies In these moments, a sense of calm and connection feels hard to come by.
The antidote to these stressful, disconnected eating experiences is mindful eating.
Mindful eating is a way to practice eating with grace in order to cultivate a feeling of deep connection.
If you are having a particularly stressful day, it might appear that multi-tasking by eating and working simultaneously is the way to go. In reality, the opposite approach — focusing on one action — is the best way to bring calm and connection into your day. That’s where mindful eating comes in.
Here are some simple steps to get you started on the path to mindful eating:
- Choose just one meal or snack each day and commit to focusing on eating mindfully for about 20 minutes. Set this time aside to eat without any digital distractions.
- Before you start eating, take a moment to appreciate the appearance of the food you are consuming. Sometimes we forget about the beauty of the food we are about to eat. Take the time to notice its appearance, including its colors and textures.
- Remember to chew. Focus on the experience of consuming each mouthful of food. Think about the various flavors and even the sound of the food in your mouth.
Start small. Like all new habits, eating mindfully might feel uncomfortable at first (especially if you’re used to always eating on the go).
With practice, you will start to appreciate mindful eating as a way to build calm and connection into every day. Try it out and see for yourself.