Whole Mind Eating
Nov 09, 2016
Many of us know what to eat, but we do not often think about HOW to eat. Below are some of our most helpful tips to help kickstart, or maintain, a holistic, natural approach to eating.
1. Eat less from a box and eat less in front of a box: avoid TV, reading, or listening to the radio while eating. These forms of entertainment make you pay less attention to how you are eating and how much you are eating.
2. The joy of preparing a meal and sharing it with people is incredibly powerful and therapeutic. Do not view cooking as a task; see it as a fun adventure and an opportunity to spend time with those you love.
3. Eat slower. If we eat too fast we will eat more, since it takes up to twenty minutes for our body and brain to signal satiation and for us to realize we are no longer hungry. Make sure that most of your meals last more than twenty minutes. And remember, the first two bites of any food are the most flavorful, so take time to enjoy them! Try the Eat Slower app to measure the time you take to eat, which is fun and easy to use.
4. Hara hachi bu! Take this Okinawan saying to heart: stop eating when you are 80 percent full. Eighty percent is not a strict calculation per se—it just means that if you feel quite full, you have eaten too much. It is based on calorie restriction and, paired with fasting, can help maintain a healthy lifestyle. The Okinawans live in one of the seven identified “blue zones”—areas that have the highest life expectancy—and thus their advice is worth taking to heart. The key is eating less, which will be different for everyone. We have somewhat adapted this saying in our house: only seconds for salad, or you will make a harahachi “boo boo.”
5. Avoid snacking all day, as your body will not have had time to digest your previous meals and you may end up eating too much. Generally, eat when you are hungry, which requires that you learn to listen to your body’s demands. Limiting your food intake to three meals a day is a good start. If you overeat, you will carry on eating—the more you eat the less able you are to judge how much you have eaten. Some people, of course, will only be able to eat small meals throughout the day, yet make sure they are meals with a limited time period rather than all-day nibbling.
6. Let your mind, not just your eyes, be your guide—it is not a good idea to decide visually how much to eat, since we have a tendency to finish what is on the plate rather than stopping when full. Put less food on your plate or use a smaller plate.
7. Be aware of habits you may have developed over time, such as eating when you are sad or excited (but not hungry), or coming home and opening the fridge or pantry door and grabbing something (even if you are not hungry).
8. Prepare and eat meals together as a family. Not only will this help your health but it has added benefits for your children: research shows that family time over meals is associated with lower drug and alcohol abuse, less depression and suicide risk, and even better grades in school. Moreover, good company is associated with positive emotions, which aid digestion and promote mental wellbeing.
9. Do not eat in your car and on the run. Making your eating habits as deliberate as your thinking habits. Also, your posture is important to digestion, whether you are at the table or going about your daily tasks—sit up straight and bon appétit!
10. Whoever cooks should not clean, if possible—divide the tasks and the work will be finished in a shorter amount of time. You can even draw lots; it certainly makes mealtime fun. But sharing the burden is an important part of not making food into a burden.
12. “Treat treats as treats,” as Michael Pollan says. For the most part, if we crave something sweet we will eat some fruit. On occasion, we love a good dessert, prepared with delicious real food.
13. Try incorporate gut healing foods rich in probiotics like cultured vegetables, sauerkraut, and yoghurt to aid digestion.
14. Of course, it goes without saying that you should eat lots of vegetables and fruits!