Healthy Living – Using Mindful Eating and Technology to Get More From Your Meals

Mindful eating is the practice of thinking about what you are eating and why you are eating it. It requires…

deep thought,
appreciation of food, and
self-awareness.

Many people use mindful eating to check in with themselves before eating to make sure they are hungry or if they are just bored, tired, sad, etc. Others use mindful eating to appreciate where their food came from and how it got to their dinner table. However you use mindful eating, it can be incredibly eye-opening and life-changing. It may even help you realize you are not hungry for that unhealthy food you thought you wanted.

Mindful eating asks you to identify your emotions before digging in. The intention is to increase your awareness of the present. Doing so eliminates worries and the possibility of overeating the wrong foods. Mindful eating activates all the senses. Touch and feel your food. Smell and taste it. Spend time examining how it looks. Doing so will not only slow down your eating, it will teach you to appreciate what you are about to consume. You may even enjoy it more!

So, are you ready to try but unsure where to start? There is an app for that. And it’s brilliant…

Headspace is a free app created by meditation and mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe to help you slow down and think about your food. The Headspace app was designed to reduce stress and anxiety, and promote creativity, focus, and health.

The free app guides you through different meditation techniques in as little as 10 minutes a day. It can be downloaded onto your phone or computer. You can choose from the topics of…

health,
performance, and
relationships.

Let us face it – these three topics have a great influence on the foods we chose to eat. Get these under control and your eating habits will also improve.

The Headspace app transforms your brain by teaching it how to relax, which can help increase focus and manage…

stress,
unhealthy eating,
sleep patterns, and
toxic relationships, including the relationship you have with yourself.

The app features a quick start-up guide, all the technical support you may need, as well as fun visuals and an exciting website. Have a question? You can even ask Andy himself!

Meditation and mindful eating go hand-in-hand. Use the Headspace app to teach yourself how to connect with your emotions. Doing so will show you about yourself and how to work your way out of less than ideal situations. Headspace users have claimed to have…

a better sense of gratitude,
an increase in athletic and career performances,
managed to rid themselves of cobwebs and empty thoughts,
managed to sober up,
to better cope with illnesses such as cancer,
gain control of their mind again, and
promote calmness.

Imagine using your new found brain control to assist with your food intake. We could all stand to be a little more patient, a little less anxious, and be somewhat more appreciative.

Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.

Healthy Eating – Exercises to Help Establish Your Mindful Eating Technique

Mindful eating requires practice just like anything else. If you have never used mindful eating during meal time, now is a great time to start. By teaching yourself how to connect with your emotions you are creating a healthier, more aware eater. Associating with your feelings will make you less likely to eat for the wrong reasons. When we do not put any thought into our food, we often overeat because we are distracted or emotional and need comfort. These situations are just a few examples of how being aware of what you eat can increase your spiritual connection with yourself while decreasing your risk for serious chronic diseases, such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

To practice your mindful eating technique, try the following exercise…

1. Choose a small piece of food, such as almond, a slice of fruit, or a portion of chocolate.

2. Examine your food. Notice the color, shape, and texture. Is your food fresh? How does it compare to other foods just like it? Be sure to take in what you are about to eat with all of your senses.

3. Smell the food and think about how the fragrance makes you feel. Maybe it reminds you of a particular memory or the last time you ate this specific food.

4. Taste the food. Put it on your tongue but do not take a bite just yet. Notice the response of your salivary glands.

5. Take a bite of the food but do not consume the whole amount. Notice the taste and how the texture feels on your tongue.

6. Chew the food. This is an essential step because most of the time we do not chew our food long enough. While eating, think about how the food taste, what sound it makes while you chew, and how the taste changes.

7. When ready to swallow the food, take time to notice the feeling you get when the food travels down your throat to your stomach.

8. Say the name of the food out loud. Acknowledge the food and appreciate it. Think about where it came from and how it got to you. Think about the ingredients in the food and the effort put into either making it or growing it. Say a few words out loud about how the food made you feel. Notice any emotions that coincide with the food you just ate and think about how these emotions may affect your eating of this food in the future.

Finally, practice taking one mindful eating bite of your food at each meal. Dedicate one bite per meal to the steps taken in this exercise. Gradually increase this process, and soon you will be eating full meals mindfully.

Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.

Decorate Your Plate With Fruits & Vegetables of the Rainbow

Decades of research has proven time and again how important fruits and vegetables are in a nutritious, balanced eating plan. Studies have shown that 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day has the greatest effect in preventing chronic diseases. If you’re someone who can barely eat a small salad, that probably sounds pretty overwhelming!

How much is enough?

Here is a guide to define a serving of fruits and vegetables:

1/2 cup cooked vegetables

1 piece of medium sized fruit, such as an apple, orange, or peach

1 cup salad

8 strawberries

1/2 cup cooked beans, peas or lentils

1 cup diced fresh or ½ cup canned fruit

1 medium potato

2 pieces smaller fruit, such as an apricot or kiwi

1/2 medium sweet potato

I want to start by saying you do NOT have to start aiming for 7 per day. Any increases are going to have positive effects, so don’t feel like you have to substitute your rice for radishes forever. Think of it as an opportunity to find areas for improvement.

Pump Up the Volume

When you start adding vegetables to your meals, you’re not only adding vitamins and minerals, you’re also adding fiber. The fiber in those vegetables will make you feel full longer, meaning you’ll likely eat less overall. They also add bulk to the meal itself, making you feel like you’ve eaten more food and giving you more bang for your calorie-buck.

Below are some tips I not only recommend to my clients, but that I often use myself.

• Swap your BLT sandwich for grilled Portabella mushrooms caps topped with tomato on whole grain toast.

• Include vegetables, such as baby spinach, in pasta sauces and risottos. Stir through at the end of cooking for a little extra color and nutrition.

• Replace fruit juices with whole fruits. Freeze oranges, bananas, grapes, and strawberries for an icy treat.

• Have vegetable sticks, such as carrots and celery, ready for an on-the-go healthy snack. Dip them in hummus or tomato salsa to add another vegetable serving.

• Grate or dice onion, carrot, zucchini, and corn into a scrumptious muffin, or take the savory path and pickle the mixture.

• A stir-fry with lots of vegetables is another great way to include a variety of colors to your dinner. Use carrots, snow peas, and baby corn. Adding pre-shredded cabbage increases the yield and adds even more nutrients and fiber.

• Dried fruits make an easy to-go snack. Add a handful into a baggie and throw into your work bag.

• Place cut-up, ready-to-eat vegetables and fruits in see-through containers in a visible place in your refrigerator as a reminder to have your daily fruits and veggies.

In Conclusion

Every little bit helps, so even adding a serving or two every day is a step in the right direction. You can make a goal of adding another serving every week, or more over time. Try new recipes with the family, incorporating whatever produce is on sale at the grocery store. Plant sources of protein, such as beans and lentils, are less expensive than animal protein so they’ll easily fit into your budget. Plan your menu ahead of time so you’re more likely to quickly use what you buy, reducing waste. You can also check out my blog on my website for new recipes to try.

So how many servings will you have today?

Bonnie R. Giller helps chronic dieters and people with medical conditions like diabetes take back control so they can get the healthy body and life they want. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines three essential ingredients: a healthy mindset, caring support and nutrition education.