What yoga taught me: mindful eating

Our modern society today runs at a fast pace and as a result of it, our breathing, sleeping, eating patterns have begun to suffer. Functioning at a fast pace all the time is definitely productive and good for the workplace, but it can cause harm to our bodies overtime.

This is particularly true when we eat. When we are stressed or upset when we eat, we can create imbalances in the body. Rushing through a meal or eating when stressed also restricts oxygen from entering our system and our bodies cannot digest the food we eat properly, much less absorb the nutrients from it. 

During these times when we are working from home, it’s easy to slip into a pattern where we continue ploughing through work while eating our lunch at the same time. I definitely did, and know firsthand that it’s not the best. No matter how healthy we are eating, be it a bowl of warm oats or a kale salad, feeling good doesn’t come unequivocally if we don’t slow down when we eat.

Here are four tips to be mindful about eating that helped me:

  1. Eat only when you are hungry. Check in with yourself and assess your appetite. It’s a natural process of your body to get hungry and only eat when it does. There’s no need to force yourself to eat breakfast if you don’t feel like it.
  2. Slow down, and stop what you are doing. Whether you’re working on a presentation or writing a piece of work, consciously take a break from it. Try and be present, sit down and be still as you eat.
  3. Take a few moments to breathe before you start eating. This can help your body take in more oxygen and also fuel up the digestive process.
  4. Eat slowly and take your time to chew and feel your food. Use all of your senses to experience and appreciate the food — its appearance, taste, texture, smell and flavours in its entirety.

I’ve also begun to be more conscious of eating more plant-based foods, trying out more vegan recipes that comprise more sattvic foods and generally practising ahimsa on food choices that do not harm animals or the planet. Besides, plant-based dishes are easier to prepare and cook so I would definitely recommend going veggies-only at least once a week!