Recently we have been more and more encouraged to stop. Take a moment. Think. About food, what we are doing, what we are thinking. Some people call it “mindfulness” other people call it “being intuitive”. There is a lot said about the origins of “mindfulness” – some associate it with Eastern religions and yogi practises. Really, I think that being mindful is a human trait it is just that over time as our lives become more busy we have lost the focus on what we really need (i.e. being mindful).
So, what does it mean to be mindful? Well, being mindful means to be present in the moment, accepting things for exactly what they are without positive or negative influences. Sounds a bit mumbo-jumbo? Well, think about how you use the word in everyday conversation … “Well you have to mind the pennies”, “Be mindful of the time”, “Be mindful of their feelings”. Simply, it means “take care”. And that is what we often need to do with ourselves. But do we have the time?
Think of Dr Libby Weavers’ “Rushing Woman Syndrome”. Think of adrenal fatigue. Think of how you feel on Sunday night before the rush in to work on the Monday morning. The lists going on in your head; the wishing for 25 hours (or more) in the day but wishing to trade it all for a week on a beach. Life is busy. Life is getting more busy. Life will get even more busy unless you take some time out and be mindful. Be aware. Be intuitive.
Three quick ways to start
Awareness, intuition, mindfulness, and food.
1. Try to be aware of what you are eating and why you are eating it. Are you bored? Stressed? Hormonal? Distracted? Don’t read anything in to it – don’t think of it as a positive or negative thing. If you are eating because you are distracted, put away the ipad whilst you eat or move away from your computer at lunch. Focus on your food and enjoy the taste, smell and texture of what you are eating. Focus on when you start to feel full and stop eating when you feel that you have eaten enough. Just try to pay some attention to what is going on when you eat. You never know, you might just put your finger on a key that may change how you eat.
2. Be intuitive. Ask your body what it wants. Okay, so if it repeatedly replies “chocolate, chocolate, chocolate” you might want to think about your stress levels or hormones! But often if you sit quietly and ask your body what it would like for lunch or dinner, it will tell you. It may be eggs, a light broth, a hearty soup or baked potato. Listen to your body and feed it what it tells you. Eat lightly and listen to when your body tells you to stop eating. Are you craving foods?
3. Be mindful of what your body is trying to tell you. Often people will tell me that they crave sweet foods. Craving sweet foods can sometimes happen if you have gone too long without food, or missed a meal. Your blood sugars may have dropped and craving something sweet is your body’s way of saying “I NEED CARBS”. Another reason that sugar cravings can happen is often put down to low magnesium levels. Magnesium is very important in carbohydrate metabolism, but also used up by the body to process carbohydrates. If you are getting sugar cravings along with poor sleep and high anxiety try a magnesium supplement and see if it helps.
Allow yourself the time to be mindful. Pay attention to yourself and what you need in a positive way. Don't overthink this, just start to stop. Take a moment. Think about what your body is trying to tell you.
Katrina Pace, Dietitian
Gut bugs fascinate me. Diet and gut bugs intrigue me. Cooking is essential. Add them all together and you get a fairly interesting opinion on life! In my humble opinion.