Pay attention for the next few meals how you eat.
- Is your body actually hungry?
- Do you smell a delicious meal or piece of cut fruit before you eat it?
- Are your eyes tantalized by the colours on your plate, or maybe a well-placed presentation?
- How does your meal taste on your tongue?
- Do you like the textures of the different foods?
- Do you add more food to your mouth before you’ve finished swallowing the previous bite?
- Do you eat slow? Fast?
Being intentional about how we eat directly affects our digestion. Our digestive system directly affects our health and risk of disease. Even though we may not readily notice the improvements, preparing our digestive system for food can have huge benefits for our health. It’s surprisingly simple to aid our digestion and takes only a few seconds.
At your next meal, try to pause before you start eating. Take a minute to collect yourself, let your stress fall away, bring your focus to the food in front of you. There are various ways to appreciate this moment:
- Take some deep breaths.
- Pray or say some words of thanks.
- Observe the colours of the food on your plate, the smell of the food.
- Sit in a comfortable position and count slowly to 25.
By pausing for a few seconds before you eat, your digestive system gets ready to receive food. Stress greatly affects this system, so relaxing and breathing before you eat helps to settle it. It’s also been found that we naturally take smaller bites and chew more thoroughly when we are in a relaxed state.
Challenge yourself to eat a meal in complete silence, focusing fully on each bite of food. (I don’t mean every meal, just to use as a learning tool.) What do you notice that you didn’t before? It’s also beneficial to rest for a few minutes after a meal, and then follow up with a walk (in nature if possible) to help your body better digest your food.
You may be amazed at how much more you enjoy a meal just by pausing for a few minutes.