You could say my breakfast on Tuesday morning was unconventional. I had one single blueberry, and it took me approximately five minutes to eat.
The process went somewhat like this: First, I held it in my hand, then I stroked it. Then, I smelt it. I listened to it (though I didn’t hear much), I rubbed it against my lips, I held it on my tongue, and then finally… anticipation at its peak, I took a bite. It was a lengthly way to eat a blueberry, but that’s mindfulness for you.
Mindfulness is a form of Buddhist meditation where you slow down your brain, and concentrate on being, rather than any of the stresses around you. Rather aptly in the whirlwind that is 2016, it’s all about living in the moment, heightening your senses and focusing on the there and then instead of what’s going on tomorrow.
Many avid devotees of mindfulness claim that it can be used to improve your mindset whilst doing just about anything, from walking to exercise, to having sex…
But what about mindful eating?
If you’re a foodie, then intuitive eating may actually change your dinner times forever. It’s all about slowing down the tastes and sensations, and seeing food as something to enjoy rather than something to scoff.
Heston Blumenthal once said that “taste is inexorably linked to all other sense and memory”, and for mindful eaters, this is key. They think of food as an art, they critique it, and they lose themselves in each bite. When they eat, they’re not thinking about their work deadlines, or their plans for the day, they’re making a memory out of their meal.
When eating mindfully, there’s no right or wrong foods, but instead you are encouraged to listen to your body. You can eat what you’re driven to – but you consume your food slowly, and consciously.
The old saying goes, “eat slowly and you won’t eat as much”, and believe it or not, there’s actually scientific proof. Theres a growing body of mindful eaters who claim they’ve lost weight from their lifestyle. In one study, 1,400 mindful eaters were found to have lower body weights, more positive attitudes and a greater sense of wellbeing!
Whilst it may all sound ridiculous, there’s actually more sense in mindfulness than you might think. When I was sat holding a blueberry to my ear, I wanted nothing more than to walk off and scoff, but it really works. I bet you can think of more than one occasion where you’ve wolfed down a whole pizza without really tasting the oregano and basil on top. I know for sure that a blueberry has never tasted half as flavoursome as it did after I delayed biting into it for five minutes.
So much of food, and our enjoyment of it, comes down to taste. Often we eat so robotically that we forget to think about what we’re doing. Think about where your food has come from. Who grew it? Who picked it? Who packaged it? Whose recipe was it? These are all thoughts we rarely take the time to have, but encouraging them only makes the food were eating infinitely more special.
If you want to fall in love with food all over again, then throw away your pride, grab a tub a blueberries and try your hand at mindful eating.