What does is mean to eat consciously & mindfully?
Mindful eating “relies on mindfulness, a form of meditation. Mindful eating is about developing awareness of your experiences, physical cues, and feelings about food” (Healtline.com). As important as mindfulness is, I believe that there is also a conscious part to mindful eating. Being conscious to me means not only being aware of what type of food it is and what nutritional benefits it holds but where the food itself actually came from.
Do you know how many kilometres your food travelled to get your plate? How it was grown/produced? Who was the farmer behind it? In today’s highly commercialized food industry, it’s a hard question to answer. However, if you do make the effort to know where your food came from, you won’t only become more educated about food but you will be 10x times more appreciative of what it means to have it on your plate. It may encourage you to eat less in quantity but better in quality, to eat more balanced meals, and even choose more nourishing foods.
Helpful Thought Starters For Eating More Consciously:
Answering these questions truthfully will help you figure out how much you know and how much you don't know about the food you are eating every day. The next part is digging a little deeper to learn more about how your food is grown, produced, and what nutrients they hold.
Keep reading for tips on how to incorporate mindful and conscious habits that will allow you to eat better!
Being mindful and conscious about the food we eat is not meant to be a short term solution but a long term one. We have to stop thinking of “dieting” and instead start thinking about just eating better, real food. If we make good food choices then there is no need to label food as “good” or “bad.” Making conscious and mindful choices about the foods that we incorporate in our daily life will keep you feeling full, satisfied, energized, and will even help you eliminate negative feelings about food!
The great thing about making this a lifestyle and not a diet is that you can indulge in those foods that may not be the best for you but make you happy. I like to follow a 80/20 rule where every day I strive and make efforts to eat as best as I can but if there is a social gathering, a dinner or a treat that I want to have, I will. It’s not about depriving yourself but about finding a balance.
Here are some mindful eating tips you can start to action:
The other part to conscious eating is being educated on who grows our food and what is in it. This is going to set you up for success in eating and feeling better, not just for a short time but for a lifetime. Why? Because you are going to start to care much more about prioritizing food as an important part of your life and appreciating it beyond just filling your stomach but nourishing your life!
The grocery aisle in the grocery section is as close as some of us get to real food. How many of you have been out to a farm recently or last summer to pick your own vegetables? Probably very few of you. I, myself only started visiting farms and volunteering at them when I started this blog.
This change is not our fault though; it’s just simply not the norm to grow our own food anymore.
Why would we? If we can just rely on supermarkets to provide us with everything we need from perfectly shaped produce that is even sometimes pre-cut & washed to packaged foods and ready to go or frozen meals you just have to reheat in the microwave.
“When it comes to our food, we are all blind, even if it is for different reasons. If we live in the city, we rarely have the chance to see where (or how) food is grown. Ditto for the suburbs: even if there were once crops occupying the fields where subdivisings now sit, there aren’t anymore.” (Food Fight, pg. 250, McKay Jenkins)
The misconnection that we have experienced with our food has made it easier to be less conscious of our food and what we eat. Many times we will pick fast-food over “convenience” rather than nutrition because we simply don’t have the time with our busy schedules to cook.
“As for American consumers, who claim they “have no time” to cook their own food--let alone think about how (or where) it is grown: “Quite frankly, by the time you drive to McDonalds’s and buy your burger and fries, you could have made your meal at home,” (Food Fight, pg. 256, McKay Jenkins)
Losing touch with where our food comes from has made us care less into what we are putting into our bodies. Taking the time to know what is in our food from how they are grown to GMOs is going to help us be more conscious of what foods we are saying yes and no to.
Moreover, making an effort to know the source of your food, the farmer or producer behind it, makes you appreciate it all the more and can even inspire you to eat better and create healthier and fresher meals!
And yes, some of you will argue about price. Yes, the farmer’s market is more relatively more expensive than going to a grocery store but not always. Plus, the additional nutritional benefits and taste of the products you are getting won’t compare.
It’s all about balance. I don’t buy everything from the market but there are certain things I will buy like cheese that has been made in small batches and with real milk from sheeps, cows, goats, and even water buffalo milk. I will buy sourdough bread made using a starter with active cultures and greens when they are in season, same with tomatoes. There’s a reason I named this blog The Sassy Tomato-- I dare you to go and buy tomatoes when they are in season around July/August and come tell me they are not good.
I bet you they will be one of the best and freshest things you ever tasted!
Being conscious of our food makes us more aware of what we are putting into our bodies and we become more mindful of our choices. Knowing where my food comes from has helped me make better choices and say “no” to foods that seemed appealing but really weren’t as good as they seemed and definitely lacked any nutrition.
As you begin your food journey, I highly encourage you to go out there and explore, learn, and educate yourself about food and nutrition. Great books on this are Michael Pollan’s Omnivore's Dilemma, The Fate of Food, Food Fight, The New Farm, and What The Heck Should I Eat? As well as many others.
And as Spring approaches and farmer’s markets start the 2020 season, I encourage you to visit one and talk to a farmer, ask about their products, and even try some for yourself. You will find out more about what you are putting into your body and learn more on how to eat with the seasons.
I hope that you follow me along this 2020 season as I will be documenting which farmers I buy from, what products I do choose to buy from conventional stores, how I approach my food portions, and seasonal recipes that are going to make you want to eat and crave real food!
That’s all for now.
Until next post,