Mindful Moments: Slow Down and Savor

Centered Recovery began a new series called “Mindful Moments”, designed to help you see the importance of being mindful as a way of life, rather than a “practice you have to do”. Mindfulness is a way of life, not one more thing to add to your already busy to-do list.

“If small moments can be experienced with new clarity, they may ultimately add up to an improved perspective

and sense of wellbeing overall, which may in turn pave the way for even more impactful things.”

Slow Down and Savor

How many times have you actually tasted your food? That seems crazy, right? We like to think we always taste what we put in our mouths…but studies show that more and more Americans are treating food as another thing they need to check off—even as an interruption to their day! It is estimated that some 50 million Americans eat fast food every day, and a high percentage of those people eat in their cars while driving or at their desks while working. It’s no wonder we feel stressed during the day and unfulfilled in our diets! We aren’t even taking the time to enjoy and savor our foods. While I would love to suggest we all adopt some European-style attitudes towards slow dining…let’s start with small changes first.

Slow Down:

Eating does not have to be a race to beat the clock! Sure, there are times when you have to grab a quick meal. But spare some extra time for at least one meal a day and slow it down. Take time between bites. Let yourself breathe before going back for more. Take a moment before eating to be grateful for your food, to notice the colors, the textures, and the scents. Your meal will be even more delicious with the extra attention!

Set the stage:

You don’t have to break out the fine china for every meal, but at least a few times a week, take the time to really set the stage, even if you’re dining alone. Break out those old cotillion lessons and set the table properly, and plate your food neatly rather than slapping it on “Dixie China” or eating over the pizza box. Sure, it’s a bit more work than just using a paper towel, but the point is to put a noticeable shift in your routine—make breakfast or dinner an experience rather than just shoveling in food so fast you need heartburn medication afterwards.

Unplug your meal:

Research shows that diners who use their cell phones during meals enjoy the meal less—even just having them on the table led to thoughts about work, notifications on social media, and news. Turn off the tv, banish the phones to another room, and concentrate on your meal and your dining companions without distractions. Giving your mind a mental break from the incessant chatter from tv and smart phones can allow you to notice flavors in your food and drink that you might have otherwise overlooked! Being more present with your family or friends during meals is known to help strengthen bonds and relationships, so shift into “airplane mode” for any meal you can!

Pretend You’re a Connoisseur:

Go to any fine dining food tasting event and watch the chefs there sample the goods—they take small bites, allow the food to settle on the tongue and notice things like texture, flavor, combinations, and temperature. They appreciate even the tiniest nuances in their food because they’re putting all of their concentration on what they put in their mouths—true mindful eating! Pretend you’re an expert for a meal and allow yourself to notice the savoriness of butter, the tang of fresh herbs, or the tartness of sweet berries and actually experience your food instead of just downloading it into your stomach. Not only will you have a greater appreciation for yummy things, but you’ll likely notice when you feel full more quickly and have less tendency to overindulge. Four Stars!