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  • Writer's pictureLibby Sudyka

Mindful eating

What is mindful eating, and how do you eat mindfully? Have you never found yourself on the couch watching a movie with a bowl of popcorn and before you know it, it’s all gone. I’ve spent to many meals standing in the kitchen munching instead of actually sitting and enjoying my meals, especially in my days as a fire wife before we had kids. My meals consisted of crackers and cheese and maybe a few random veggies if they happened to be in the fridge. Our lives are busy, we have commitments that take us out and food can become an after thought, but what if it doesn’t always have to be that way? 

When I learned Mindful Eating, it seemed like such a weird thing. I love cooking and I love food, of course I savored my meals. But mindful eating is so much more than just enjoying a meal, that’s part of it, but not all of it. To be mindful of food is to be aware why, what, how and with whom we are sharing our meals. It’s also being aware how food makes us feel afterwards. 

Why: Are you truly hungry? Are you bored? Are you thirsty? Do you use food as an emotional outlet? Or do you take particular care to make this particular meal for this special occasion? Being aware of why you are eating can help find patterns of behavior that can help you eat mindfully instead of just mindlessly eating anything that crosses your path. 

What? This one is completely individualized, and completely up to what works for you. After the birth of my daughter, I knew almost immediately that she was dairy intolerant. Every time I ate something with dairy she was incredibly uncomfortable, by 5 weeks I had illuminated all dairy in my diet and realized how uncomfortable it made me. Had I not been aware and paying attention, we may have just called her a colicky baby. Food affects us is so many ways and being mindful of what we eat can absolutely help us live more comfortable lives. 

How? This is definitely a huge struggle for me as a  Mom of two toddlers. Many meals are chaos and trying to get them to eat or sit still long enough to eat a couple goldfish and a bag of fruit snacks. Sitting at a table and slowing down to enjoy a meal is very different than shoving fries in your mouth as you drive from place to place. 

With Whom: Since the time both babies started eating solid foods, it’s been important for me to have at least one meal we all sit as a family. This allows us to connect as a family even when life is crazy and busy. Sharing a meal is always much more fun! 

So how do you put this all into practice? I like to plan a meal that I enjoy eating AND cooking, street tacos is a favorite at our house. We go to the carniceria (butcher shop) and pick out our ingredients. A few delicious meats, fresh tortillas, delicious onion, lime, and cilantro and a freshly made salsa. We cook our meats on our grill, something about the fire and meats grilling that smells so magical. We cut all the veggies and toast the tortillas over our gas stove or on the grill. I personally love the smell of cilantro so cutting that up with the lime is so refreshing. When it’s all cooked and ready we serve it family style on a big platter and we dig in. Tacos really are great, they have so much flavor and are so simple. A little meat, a little onion and cilantro, a bit of salsa and a squeeze of lime . Perfect. Mindful eating is almost a ceremonial experience if you do it just right. What meal will you try this with and who would you like to share it with?

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