mindful living

Mindful Eating Links - Fast Food, Fast Information and Slow Snacking

Many, many of our daily activities influence our eating and one that has a huge impact is our obsession with technology and the endless urge to consume more and more. Information, bad news, status updates - you name it, we’re hooked.  Lifehacker has some excellent tips on Creating an Information Diet that works.  Particularly useful are the tips in being more intentional about what we want from our time online, and noticing how the information we consume makes us feel

"Vegetables may make you feel light, whereas a heavy beef roast may put you into a food coma. A cup of coffee may wake you up. A glass of wine may relax you. Much like food and drink, the information and media we consume affects the way that we feel after we consume it."

Jean Kristeller, creator of the wonderful MB-EAT programme has a mindful eating technique to use when you want to have a snack.  Snacking can be a helpful strategy for managing our eating across the day, and Jean’s way acknowledges this by combining our inner wisdom (what is really calling to us right now?), with outer wisdom (how much is the right amount for us at this point in our day?).  It is an article that first appeared in the worlds first mindfulness magazine, Mindful.

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional fast food meal, but did you know that over-reliance on fast food restaurants may be detrimental to our minds as well as our health? Researchers have shown that exposure to fast food images seems to make us more impatient and to reduce our capacity to savour and enjoy pleasurable experiences such as images of natural beauty or a beautiful melody. Just looking at Fast-Food icons can ruin your day

Mindful Eating and Seasonal Eating: How to get out of seasonal autopilot

tomatoes from my garden last year

The peak of a season is a great time to take notice of the thoughts that pass through our minds relating to the time of year and how we should eat.  We're having a mini heatwave here in England (OK, a few days of unbroken sunshine anyway), and it reminded me of all of the seasonal food rules, beliefs and barriers that people carry with them.  They tend to go something like his - "I won't be able to keep losing weight come the Winter because I won't be able to keep having all of these salads", or "how will I be able to keep eating those cholesterol-busting oats regularly when it's just not porridge weather?"

No need to be critical of yourself for having these thoughts - most of us have them.  All the same it's good to notice them, and pause lightly with the possibility that they might not be entirely true.  Warm salads, gazpacho and bircher muesli all say it ain't so.

A few suggestions for getting out of seasonal autopilot:

  • Eat outside whenever you get the chance.  Yes, it is lovely, but also it gets us away from all of the distractions inside our house (gadgets, TVs, the untidy mess).  And sitting in a different seat with a different perspective is a great way to get out of autopilot and bring us into the present.
  • Notice what your personal seasonal food "dos and don'ts" are. Can you be curious about what alternative theories there might be?  Maybe cold soup really is an awesome idea
  • Spend some time noticing how your body feels at this time of year. Perhaps this has an influence on how or what you want to eat?  My long-standing back problem is definitely more niggly in the Winter, which can make me cranky, which can make me more likely to eat food "as a treat", because I deserve cheering up.
  • How do you spend your leisure time in this season? Is your routine different?  Summer can see long days out and about or in the garden which might be enjoyable and helpfully non-food focused, but might leave little time for food preparation and shopping, or unusually long gaps between eating.
  • If you can afford to and have the time, get out there and buy your food where it has just been pulled from the ground / plucked from the tree / cut from the plant

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