What is Mindful Eating

Posted by Dr. Alda Ngo

Mindful eating is not just about choosing healthy foods and understanding why some foods are healthier than others. It’s also about having a connection with our food, knowing and appreciating where our food comes from, what has gone into bringing it onto our plates, preparing it with intention and then of course savouring it!

It’s not just about what we are eating, it’s also about how we are eating, why we are eating, when we are eating, where we are eating and how much we are eating.

From a Chinese Medicine perspective, there is no point in eating healthy food if the body is unable to absorb the nutrients properly. Being present with our food as opposed to multi-tasking while we’re eating allows the body to focus its attention on digesting and transforming the food into energy.

Eating slowly and chewing thoroughly not only facilitates this process, it also allows us to truly savour our food. Researchers have found that being present with the flavour and texture of food and reflecting on the purpose of each bite as we relish it can improve assimilation and help address obesity.

When we really savour our food, we bring awareness to the taste and texture of our food, increasing satisfaction and satiation. This ultimately translates into eating less and enjoying more, which contributes to overall health and wellbeing.

Stress Negatively Impacts Digestion

Studies conclude that stress negatively impacts the GI tract by disrupting GI movement, increasing visceral irritability, altering the rate and extent of various GI secretions, modifying permeability of the intestinal barrier, disrupting blood flow and increasing intestinal bacterial counts.

We live such fast paced lives, eating becomes an auto-pilot activity. We tend to unconsciously take one bite after another without much attention. Often, we are multi-tasking as we eat, dining in lunch meetings, while surfing the Internet, or checking our social media and text messages. When we do this, our body is unable to invest as much energy into the digestive process, which becomes less efficient.

Mindful Eating Supports Digestion

But when we slow down, we are more in touch with what foods feel healthy to eat vs. what foods we think are healthy to eat. We’re also in touch with how much food our body really needs, and/or why we are eating it.  

Mindfulness stimulates the relaxation response, allowing our bodies to shift into the parasympathetic nervous system and the ‘rest and digest’ mode. Here, our bodies can focus on absorption and more effective assimilation of nutrients.

Want to Learn More?

On Dec. 1st, we are teaming up with Chef Blair Lebsack at Edmonton’s popular restaurant Rge Rd to co-host a Mindful Eating for Men Cooking Class. Come and learn how easy it is to eat healthily and mindfully. Chef Blair will demonstrate how to transform beautiful raw ingredients into a delectably healthy meal while we enlighten you on the health benefits of it all. Then you get to taste it, and take a Rge Rd recipe home. All proceeds will go Movember.

Check our events page for more info or to register call 780-756-7736.
Space is limited!

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