Taking Care of Your Nutrition: A Lesson in Mindful Eating
What is Mindful Eating?
When we engage in mindful eating we begin to be “present” in all aspects of food choice and consumption. When we educate ourselves on the foods that we choose and prepare, we are more aware of the nutritional values and the effects of poor vs. proper nutrition for our own bodies.
Mindful eating demands that you pay attention to food choices and the responses that our bodies give us with every bite. In today’s world, most of us choose the better-tasting food over the healthier and more nutrient-dense option. When faced with the decision of a bacon cheeseburger over a kale salad, the majority of us will pick that bacon cheeseburger.
Beyond the Shopping Cart
Mindful eating requires mindful shopping. Have you ever considered asking yourself, “I wonder where this orange, porkchop, or banana came from?” Probably not. Unless you hunt, fish, garden, or pick berries you probably placed that orange in your cart without a second thought.
There are many ways to gather our food without having to enter the local grocery store. One example is gardening. Now, some of you may be looking around your living space and thinking to yourself there isn’t any way you could manage a garden in your small space. Surprisingly, there are many options for gardening in small spaces if you are willing to do the research.
Another method is to forage for edible plants in your local area. Before you go picking and eating any greenery you see, educate yourself. Take some classes, look on the internet, and buy some books. Know the difference between poisonous plants and edible plants. Another suggestion is to pick at least two indigenous plants in your area and learn all the edible and medicinal uses. If self-education is not your thing, look up U-pick farms in your area and ask questions when you get there.
Maybe you have a yard space that you aren’t doing anything with. Why not turn it into a garden or “yardin.” A yard garden or yardin is when you convert your front and/or back yard space into a garden. A yardin comes with many more benefits than growing your own food. Gardening has been shown to calm the mind and lessen anxiety episodes. Gardening also teaches a new skill while connecting a person to the earth. Gardening teaches younger generations how to grow and harvest their own food. Tending a garden or yardin teaches us to respect the ground we walk on and understand the world we are in on a more organic level.
Shopping for Subsistence
You’ve had a bad day. You suddenly realize you forgot to pull anything out to thaw for dinner. You don’t want to go shopping but there is nothing in the fridge. All those thoughts about changing to a healthier lifestyle are put on pause for the evening as you grab something to drink, your favorite fancy cheese, crackers, and some chocolates. This is the time having the tool of Mindful Shopping would help you make better choices.
Mindful shopping is a tool that helps you make food choices on a nutritional need basis rather than an emotional craving basis. Before you throw that laptop across the room, let’s look at the concept of Mindful Shopping a little closer.
Mindful Shopping demands that you be fully present when you shop. No longer are you allowed to go all willy-nilly and toss food in your cart like a nine-year-old on a road trip. It is time to educate yourself about what you put in your body.
Make a shopping list. Challenge yourself to set a specific day to shop, make yourself a list, put it in your car, and stick to it. At first, this simple set of tasks will seem extremely difficult. You might make a list but leave it on the counter. You put the list on your phone and then your battery dies. It is important not to give up in your quest to form a healthier eating lifestyle. Eating is an unavoidable task that must be done daily. Having a plan of action on how to avoid unhealthy eating habits or junk foods opens the door for positive eating patterns to be developed. Do your best to create a fool-proof plan to ensure that the healthy groceries that made it on the mindful list make it to the store with you.
In today’s world, it is easy to get caught up in eating processed foods full of trans and saturated fats. On every corner, there is a sugary drink, fast or convenient meal, or trendy new restaurant to try. With doorstep delivery at our fingertips for nearly any meal imaginable, it is no wonder why healthy eating has become so difficult. If you have repeatedly made the promise to yourself or a loved one to begin eating healthy, we understand your frustration. At Achieve Medical Center, we offer a unique, multidisciplinary wellness practice that specializes in a wide array of services. We understand the difficulty of dealing with disordered eating and have extensive experience in overcoming the obstacles that stand in your way on the journey to healthy eating. If you are having a hard time overcoming cravings, lack of self-control, or only wish to lead a healthier life, call Achieve Medical Center today at (619) 375-3977.