The problem with mindlessness
Mindless eating is a huge problem. It causes overeating and obesity, consumption of unhealthy processed junk foods, and ultimately results in many lifestyle diseases.
The fundamental problem for our lack of balance with regards to food and eating is that we’ve forgotten how to be present as we eat. We eat mindlessly.
We are busy and consumed by emotions. Our emotions are very powerful triggers to eat.
Are we eating to distract ourselves or to avoid things, events or people? Anyhow, you are moving away from the present moment.
The need to be happy and healthy
We all want more or less the same things:
- Be of good health
- Live our lives with joy and satisfaction
- Achieve the state flow
Mindful eating is a natural and informative way of radically altering your experience of food and getting healthier.
Mindful eating requires paying full attention to the experience of eating and drinking – both inside and outside of the body.
What’s holding us back from eating mindfully?
- ‘Busyness’ (massive to-do lists)
- Denial (we deny the harmful impact of our current eating pattern)
- Ignorance (we are not aware of our own rat race and the real causes of our lifestyle diseases )
Mindfulness means changing our relationship with food. Being mindful about what we eat fuels our curiosity about how food was made, transported and then sold to us. See more about ‘Provenance of food and wine’, something we feel very passionate about.
Mindful living is a step from a black and white picture of the world to a more mindful, reflective, critical, content and contemplative living.
How to be mindful about what we eat and drink?
Be present when you eat & drink
When we present we are open, we are curious, naturally.
Curiosity for life – beginners mind. Try plant-based meals with curiosity. Does it make you feel less tired? Is it in my best interest to eat it? Do I have an allergy to this food or on the contrary feel nourished?
When you are curious and mindful about your food, you realise that healthy nutrition is cool. You can learn more by taking a cooking class, watching cooking shows, going on a health food vacation, swap recipes with friends, buying a new cookbook, watching youtube how-tos or enrolling to an online course.
Being aware of what we eat, being in the moment is awesome. It doesn’t mean we need to be so strict. There is a way of healthy indulgence, it is simple and relies just on common sense above all. We’ve been reporting on this before, mostly connected to wines of course.
Switch to vegan or mindful eating requires awareness, acceptance, alignment and, finally, a very firm action.
Learn Mindfulness with these Exercises
There are a few so-called exercises you can perform to see mindful eating in action and to form a habit of healthy nutrition.
Let’s start with something almost everybody loves: chocolate!
Examine chocolate from all senses: expectation, touch, smell, look, texture, taste.
You can do the same with wine: taste it mindfully. In our wine courses, we teach people to systematically taste the wine, assessing it appearance, aroma and taste. When you do that, you increase your appreciation and pleasure from drinking that glass of wine. You do it mindfully.
Train your mind and you can further improve your diet.
Use meditation techniques of mindful eating a grape or a raisin and listen to yourself by performing a relaxing and attentive body scan.
There is also a very handy visualisation technique to help you change your habits. Simply imagine letting go of your old eating habits: put all that meat, dairy in a balloon and then let go of it. Watch it float far far away from you and disappear.
Mindless consumption causes suffering at home, to others, the environment and the planet.
By applying affirmations you send a firm energy signal what you want. It is a powerful tool.
You can say something like the following: “Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, physical and mental, for myself, my friends and family, and my society, I practise mindful eating, drinking and consuming”.
You can also add something similar to this: “I will practise coming back to the present moment, not letting regrets and sorrow to drag me back into the past, nor letting anxieties, fear or craving pull me out of the present moment.
I am determined not to cover up loneliness, anxiety or other sufferings by losing myself in consumption”.
You are accepting that these things happen, but your awareness helps you to practise being mindful.
Multiple studies have found that meditation helps to improve our awareness of internal hunger and safety signals, as well as our ability to regulate what and how much we eat.
Meditation has been shown to reduce cravings for unhealthy food.
It also decreases the frequency of binge eating and emotional eating.
Meditation can also reduce high levels of the stress hormone cortisol and resulting toxic belly fat.
Learn how to meditate with ease using our partners at Ahimsa Meditation.
It is just a cup…
Give things the right value. Mindfully appreciate things we have.
We quite often fall into the same consumerist trap – we feel that something is not enough. Be it things, ourselves or relationships. It is traumatic and it shouldn’t be this way.
On contrary, when we appreciate things, others and ourselves as they/we are, we feel good. It is all enough!
Being grateful for it is also very healthy.
Apply mindfulness to your daily life
It’s very handy to remember 5 main mindfulness teachings and come back to them especially when you feel frazzled.
- Protect life! To protect other beings is to protect ourselves.
- Prevent the exploitation by humans of other living beings and of nature. Practise generosity.
- Protect everyone from abuse, preserve the happiness of individuals and families.
- Practice deep listening and loving speech
- Practice mindful consumption
Mindful consumption, therefore, means having enough good things, foods, but also thoughts and communication.
You can teach your kids to be mindful too. Kids and teens should be involved in food: grocery shopping, meal preparation, clean up. Kids can go on a self-discovery with food to gain self-confidence. It really pays off to get your kids involved in mindful eating.
As a result of applying mindful eating, you improve your health. You will naturally be aware of mindful consumption and it will result in mindful and harmonious relationships (interpersonal and with nature).
Let’s Live Better!
We can see that mindfulness improves the quality of life.
Mindfulness also teaches us to be more curious.
If you are entrepreneurial, whether you’re employed or thinking or already running your own business, you definitely should start promoting mindful consumption.
As an example of our natural wine bar with healthy vegan food, we advocate mindful wine drinking. It means you shouldn’t drink when overly stressed. It is also advised to know your ’stop’ point when you are not enjoying anymore.
We all can find happiness by living a mindful life.
We can use awareness to enjoy life to the fullest without relying on consumerism.
Let’s stop now and consider one very interesting analogy.
Imagine a glass and water. It is a container and its contents. The container is our awareness. Contents – our thoughts and emotions. What mindfulness therefore does is it allows us to increase the container, so we increase our awareness.
Finally, we finish with this beautiful simile called ‘Pool’:
Be mindful and let things take their natural course, then your mind will become quiet in any surroundings. It will become still like a clear forest pool and all kinds of wonderful and rare animals will come to drink from it. Then you will clearly see the nature of all things in the world. You will see many wonderful and strange things come and go. But you will be still. This is happiness…
Come, visit us at our natural wine bar with healthy vegan food in central Tbilisi and let’s share our thoughts on mindful eating, mindful and happy living.
We are to form a regular meetup so we can share our best practices and drink something delicious, mindfully, sip by sip, enjoying every layer of flavor!