These six steps can help us slow down and reconnect with ourselves and our food. By treating eating as sacred, we can actually improve our health and wellbeing.
1. Be mindful while eating.
Being mindful is a way of being in the present moment, and this awareness is especially important when we eat. Be present with your food; smell it, chew it carefully and enjoy the flavors. By being more mindful, we not only enjoy the food more, but it's also better for our health. You'll likely eat less, eat more slowly, and chew your food more, which all aids in proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
2. Express gratitude.
Being thankful is an easy way to get to the present moment. Think of all the energy that went into creating the food before you — from the natural elements of the earth, sun and water to the human efforts of planting, tending, harvesting, transporting, and preparing. Many families say grace before a meal, but if that seems too formal, then just take a moment to say, “Thank you to all that made this meal possible.”
3. Make the kitchen a sacred space.
I recently got this idea from Deanna Minich of Food + Spirit. Especially if you have some resistance around cooking, try to make your kitchen a more sacred space. Buy some flowers, add some color, or post an inspiring picture or quotation. Realize that true alchemy and magic can occur in the kitchen, whether it's making a simple salad or complicated new recipe. You don’t have to have a fancy kitchen to cook well, but you do want to feel relaxed and excited when you enter your kitchen to prepare your food.
4. Connect to the food you eat.
I’m sure you’ve heard this all your life, but it is true: you are what you eat. Your body literally takes the food, breaks it down into smaller parts and then incorporates it into your cells. Do you want to be a peach or fried donut? If we truly make this connection between our plates and every cell in our bodies, perhaps we might choose food that is fresh and full of vitality.
5. Make compassionate food choices.
Our food choices can also have another level of sacredness to them, especially in terms of eating animal products. Food is a form of energy, and if your food suffered before it was killed or while it was producing eggs or milk for humans, then perhaps that energy carries over when we eat it. The meat industry is not only harmful to the animals, but also to the workers, so you should ask yourself what compassionate choices you can make when you eat.
6. Tap into our body wisdom.
Most importantly, when trying to navigate the many food options and suggestions out there, be sure to tap into your own body’s wisdom. Every person’s nutrition needs are unique, which is why what works for your friend may not work for you. Your body knows what it needs to be healthy and in balance. If we just take some time to be quiet, to be present, our bodies will guide us to the best choices.