By Duke Health & Well-Being Programs Team
How many of us have had the experience of eating an entire bag of chips or a pint of ice cream without even realizing it? When this happens, most (if not all) of us notice and appreciate the full taste of our first few bites, but can hardly remember the rest. Mindless eating can happen when we are simultaneously doing other activities such as working, driving, watching television or talking on the telephone. Eating becomes a secondary, almost less important, experience rather than the enjoyable and nurturing one that it should be.
Mindful eating allows us to savor our foods and have a full sensory experience with every meal. It encourages us to take time when eating to enjoy each and every bite and how the foods make us feel. Mindful eating also promotes taking a pause when choosing foods so that we are more likely to make choices that are nurturing and healthy for us. Not only is it a practice of listening to our bodies , noticing what it needs or does not need in the moment, but it tunes us into the joy of eating –the tastes, smells, textures and activation of pleasure centers in the brain.
Mindful eating has been shown to reduce binge eating, emotional eating and the eating of sweets 7,9,10,51. On a physiological level, mindful eating has been associated with lower fasting glucose levels. 51 Slowing down when eating also allows for increased enjoyment of foods, improved digestion, optimal nutrient absorption and signaling of satiety (or fullness).52-55
If you do not have raisins for this exercise, or do not want to eat raisins, any food will do. Other foods to consider include baby carrots, Hershey kisses, or apple slices.
Take a few moments to write down your reflections on the following questions
MIND-BODY TOOLKIT | CULTIVATING RESILIENCY | Copyright © 2017 Duke Integrative Medicine
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