Mindful and intuitive eating: 5 tips to improve your relationship with food

Mindful and intuitive eating is the art of eating slowly, with full attention and awareness – staying present while you are chewing every mouthful of food. Find below 5 tips to improve the relationship with food as well as being more in tune with your body:

  • Eat beautifully prepared meals

It makes such a big difference if you add LOVE to your food when you prepare your meals and make them beautifully presented. You can start by playing some inspiring music while you are in the kitchen choosing the ingredients and cooking. I like to ‘use the rainbow’ (different colourful veggies) as I generally like COLOR in my life, but you can choose the ingredients you like and/or search for a recipe you will enjoy making and eating.

Then you can add candles of your choice, incense, flowers. and lay the table beautifully with nice plates, glasses and cutlery.

Make sure to present the food on your plate nicely so that it attracts your attention and makes you feel good.

  • Practice an attitude of gratitude – start the meal by acknowledging the food journey from farm to table

Start your meal showing appreciation and kindness to the food you are about to start eating. Think about the journey of each ingredient used in the food prepping. Where do they come from? How did they grow? What kind of weather conditions have they been exposed to? What kind of habitat or environment did they grow in? What kind of organisms and fertilizers might have played a role in their growth? Think about the people involved in the process of manufacturing (if any). What about the transport? Has it been transported from far away or has it been produced locally? Going through some of these questions will help you realize about the food journey and will help you be more aware and conscious of your food choices as well as you will establish more rapport and connection with the food you eat. Realize what you are about to ingest.

  • Every mouthful counts – eat slowly and practice gentle nutrition

Eat slowly, savoring every mouthful of food. Try to start chewing at least 15-20 times and gradually increase the chews over time until you reach 30-35 chews. Spend at least 20 min for each meal. This will not only help you stay present while you eat but also, slow eating will help improve your digestion, better hydration, it will help with your weight maintenance, and will help your body to recognize when you are satisfied with the meal. It helps eating less, more moderately, without being restrictive with certain foods. Not chewing food enough could lead to bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, heartburn, etc.

Remember that you do not have to eat perfectly to stay healthy as you won’t experience a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one meal. It’s what you eat consistently over a period of time what counts – progress over perfection!

  • Enjoy the experience of eating while you embrace all your senses

Before you eat observe the food with astonishment, with a sense of curiosity. Observe the food as if it was the first time you see it. Notice the texture, its shape, its color, etc. Be aware of any thought that comes to mind regarding the food you are eating of about food in general. Then approach the food to your mouth and start to feel it in your lips, and slowly chewing it – savoring every mouthful of food in your tongue, and in your mouth. Awaken the mouth to feel and savor the act of chewing. Experience its real taste and when you are ready make sure you sense with full attention and awareness the act of swallowing. Try to experience how the food passes through the throat until it reaches the stomach.

  • Feel your fullness and discover the satisfaction factor with this scale

The stomach is in a good condition when it is ⅔ full. The hungrier you feel when you start eating, the higher your fullness number is likely to be when you stop eating. Therefore, if you start eating at level 3 or 4 (desirable), you will be much more ready to stop at level 6 or 7 (just satisfied to satisfied), when you are satisfied but not stuffed.

Try experience and play with the following scale to discover your fullness and satisfaction levels. Remember it is okay to leave food on your plate if you have had enough food.

HUNGER SCALE:

10

Painfully full

9

Very uncomfortably full

8

Very full

7

Full

6

Satisfied and Light

5

Neutral

4

A little hungry

3

Very hungry

2

Uncomfortably hungry

1

Ravenous

Have these tips been useful? I will be pleased to know about your experience!

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