A colleague who had just come back from maternity leave was quite surprised looking at me. She couldn’t resist the temptation of asking me what makes you look so better in the last few months. Coming after a gap of over 6 months, she could not be but surprised at my slimmed waistline, lean body and a toned face. She wanted the secret and I wanted to keep the suspense on to figure-out how eager she was to absorb the GYAN.
After a heartful laugh, I thanked her for the compliment. I told her I watched a video and it changed me forever. It was reflecting in me as a transformation which she termed beautiful!! So what was this all about? She thought how could a video make such an impact? I told her it can, if you are ready to receive. She was eager to shed off those extra pounds that happened during pregnancy. It meant that she was in the receiving mode.
It Is Not A Diet
So it was time to lift the lid off the real GYAN. I told her I am eating consciously. Is it a diet? she asked. I said no it was not a diet. Dieting is not my cup of tea. I subscribe to eating well, eating with consciousness or simply mindful eating. The basic idea behind it is DRINK YOUR FOOD AND CHEW YOUR WATER.
No, I am not asking you to replace your food with a liquid diet so that you can drink it. It means chewing your solid food so well in your mouth that it becomes liquid before you pass it down your food pipe. Minimum chewing of 30 to 40 times of each piece, feeling and absorbing the taste of each morsel that enters your mouth.
Now let us come to the logic straight away. You can only chew this much if you concentrate on what you are eating and the whole process of relishing the food, its taste, all the flavours, its aroma and of course doing nothing but focussed only on eating. When I first tried my hand on it, I would get so immersed that my eyes will close while chewing the food. As if meditation was underway in my mouth between my mind and teeth.
WHY GIVE SO MUCH IMPORTANCE TO MEALS ?
How Does It Work?
Mind being notorious for having short attention span will try to drift away. But if you have conquered the first 10 to 15 minutes of this mindful eating, you have won the game. The brain will signal you to stop after the required portion of food, reaches your belly. You cant chew intensively beyond 15 to 17 mins, leaving you sated by then. A feeling of being full takes over.
Logically, breaking down food into liquid inside the mouth takes the load off our guts or the intestines and stomach. Most often undigested food inside the gut accumulate as a fat tyre on your belly. Remember your gut is your second brain. It has to be in a superb condition for you to be healthy. Mindful eating ensures one would not be eating in excess of what is needed by the body, ensuring a healthy frame. I lost 5 kgs in 70 to 90 days only through mindful eating.
In Indian tradition its often said most of the problems body faces have their root in the stomach. Proper chewing of food releases a lot of saliva, which contains enzymes that aid digestion. If you can take care of being mindful in those 15 mins, a lot of your effort and exercise in dealing with the physical problems would be sorted automatically over a period of few months.
For me on a personal level, it’s not just mindful eating but giving respect to food. Respecting the whole idea of cooking food with passion. I had heard “cooking is love made visible”. Discovered to be true when I began cooking so much so that now I firmly live and believe in “You are what you eat”. This is the sole reason I have always been very particular about choosing and making food. Food is a source of prana or the life source as we say in the Vedas. I read once that so much is the importance given to food that in zen monasteries, it was only the most advanced monks who were given the privilege of working in the kitchen.
Its an icing on the cake if you can cook your food on your own. I have always believed that most of the professional cooks you get home do it as a profession not because they love to do it. It’s just like any other job for them, hopping from one place to another. They can never pour the same love and emotion in your food, that you can. This is the reason I have never had cooks at home however busy I may be. This is the reason why no matter how savoury a dish or food be at a restaurant or a hotel, the kind of satisfaction you derive from a home cooked meal is matchless. It is the reason why so many people swear by their mother’s food. Food cooked passionately, soaked in self less love and garnished with emotions always has as an edge. It satiates your taste buds, gives the desired nourishment and if eaten soulfully can effectively recharge your body amazingly.
Your Emotions Affect Your Food
Food is the ultimate fuel that powers the human engine, that wires, heals and nourishes the body. Food is the foremost priority, determining what my body and mind would be and it is my responsibility to nourish it with the best that I can. If intention while cooking is quite important then intention or state of mind while eating is equally important. Eating in a stressed mode, or with anger, anxiety, jealousy or hate filled emotions is bound to fill and get assimilated with your food in the belly.
Watch Out For What You Are Receiving When Eating
Wolfing down or gulping food is something that has become a part of our lifestyle. Most of us are unconsciously filling and dumping our stomachs with food and not actually nourishing our senses and body. How about taking 15 mins off for just eating and doing nothing else? No distraction from your phone or TV. According to Alan Seale in his book Intuitive Living “we are in the receiving mode while eating”. If in receiving mode we are glued to our smartphones or the television sets, then we are receiving an unhealthy stimulus. This is negativity veiled in the form of information in most cases. via news. The content you see, listen or consume is also received inside your mind and body along with the food which most of the time is unhealthy or stress driven.
Chew Your Water
If this is proving a mouthful for your mind, let us have some water. CHEW YOUR WATER, is the second part of conscious or mindful eating. Water is the single biggest component of our brain and body. More than 70 % of our body is water and nearly 85% of our brain is made up of water. Water plays a very vital role in carrying the nutrients to different parts of the body. Its time we consume the most important part of our bodies, the right way.
Most of us guzzle down our water in one go, to quench the thirst. The ideal way of consuming water is drink it sip by sip as if you are chewing and feeling it between your teeth and then letting it down your throat. The scientific logic behind it is by sipping water we allow it stay in our mouth so that the alkaline saliva reaches the stomach to neutralise acid levels in the stomach. Guzzling down water in one go can’t take the saliva to the stomach. There is research done in Canada, that shows that if we sip water regularly instead of gulping down larger amounts, urine excretion is 6 times lower! The body absorbs more of the water and stays hydrated, but it doesn’t result in increased trips to the bathroom.
A flip side of this mindful eating is your food will not stay as warm or hot as it normally is when one eats mindlessly. I am someone who has always preferred hot meals over food at cold or room temperature. But after switching to mindful eating it is hardly an issue anymore. The taste and satisfaction of eating food outweighs the temperature of food. It’s a delight to feel your food and relish its taste, all the rasas or juices that makes eating such an uplifting experience.
Doorway To Healthy Lifestyle
I don’t look at mindful eating it as a weight loss tool but as a way to healthy life. It’s a way of connecting better with my body. After all, body is the only thing that stays with us. Mindful eating and drinking make sure that the body works optimally, releasing the desired nutrition and fitness to each and every cell of your being. Spiritually body is referred to as a temple for soul. Taking care of body is important if you want to take care of your life.
Drinking your food or chewing your water is not easy to say the least but I can say from experience it is worth investing your mind and energy into. The health benefits far outweigh the amount of effort you put in to do this. I would call it eating meditation as the satisfaction and taste you receive from intensive chewing is incomparable. Your taste buds will get a full treat instead of the touch and go offering that one makes to the tongue while almost swallowing food. A simple roti tasted much better for me, wondering how come I have come to enjoy the taste of real wheat now after so many years.
Here is hoping you would try this to discover a new YOU. Afterall everything begins and ends with you. So take care and keep reading www.letsfigureoutlife.com for more informative content. Do keep posting your feedback and if you like it, please do share it with others. The whole idea behind #letsfigureoutlife is to bring you the content that truly uplifts and empowers you.