Nidhi Nahata Explains Mindful Eating, For Healthy Bond with Food

In the modern world, characterized by busy and demanding lifestyles, we often find ourselves with limited opportunities to wholeheartedly devote our attention to our dietary choices. The culinary landscape has shifted from elaborate meals to quick and convenient on-the-go recipes. We often eat quickly, being distracted by screens, chores, and the never-ending pace of daily life. This hurried way of eating not only takes away the deep sensory pleasure that food can give, but it also breaks our relationship to what we eat. Mindful eating, which is based on centuries-old knowledge, is a way to fix this disconnect. It is a practise that encourages us to enjoy each bite, listen to our bodies, and develop an inner connection with food. Let's learn the art of mindful eating by looking at its principles, benefits, and practical ways to restore a harmonious relationship with food. 

What is Mindful Eating? 

Mindful eating is a way to take care of your body and mind as a whole. It focuses on being aware and present during meals. It means having a mindful, nonjudgmental connection with food and putting the focus on the sensory experience of eating. This practice encourages individuals to savour each bite, appreciating the taste, texture, and aroma of the food. Mindful eaters pay attention to hunger and fullness cues, eating when genuinely hungry and stopping when satisfied, rather than relying on external cues or emotions. This is a practice that promotes a deeper connection with the source of our nourishment and developing gratitude for the food we consume. 

There are many potential benefits to practising mindful eating, such as greater digestion, better weight control, decreased emotional eating, higher enjoyment of food, and a greater awareness of the influence of eating habits on health. It promotes health in all areas of life by advocating for a well-rounded, thoughtful attitude to eating. 

We asked Nidhi Nahata, a lifestyle coach and the founder of Justbe, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant, what people can do to start incorporating mindfulness into their eating habits. She suggests that, “ In our fast-paced world, rushing through meals and mindless snacking are common, but embracing mindful eating practices can profoundly improve weight management and overall well-being. One essential approach is respecting food and recognizing the profound link between our diet and our bodies, echoing the adage "we are what we eat." Valuing natural, whole foods that align with nature is crucial. These foods are recognized by our bodies, which instinctively harness their nutrients to bolster our immune system and enhance physical and mental well-being. While constant mindfulness may be challenging, dedicating moments each day to mindful eating is essential. This involves complete mealtime attention, savoring each bite, and tuning into hunger and fullness signals. Creating a serene meal environment by avoiding distractions like TV and phones is vital. Additionally, expressing gratitude for our food and listening to our body's signals of hunger and fullness can foster a deeper connection with our bodies. Eating only when truly hungry, chewing food thoroughly, and savoring liquids like a meal all promote mindful eating. Commencing meals with mindful breathing and adhering to the 80% full rule can enhance digestion and promote a healthy weight. Incorporating these practices can lead to a healthier, more mindful approach to eating, benefiting our overall health and vitality.” 

Tips To Start Mindful Eating 

Start Small 

You can ease into practising mindful eating by starting with only one meal a day and working your way up to the rest of your meals. The constant application of effort offers the best results in this practise. 

Chew Thoroughly 

Chewing each bite completely and slowly will help you enjoy your meal at a slower pace. This not only helps digestion but also enables you to appreciate the nuances of the flavours. 

Mindful Shopping 

Make your food selections with care, focusing on fresh, whole foods, keeping in mind the foods' nutrient content and the benefits they give. 

Portion Control 

If you want to promote conscious consumption and cut down on overeating, serving food on smaller plates and serving less of it will help. 

Cut Distractions 

Turning off screens and concentrating entirely on what you are eating will help you create a calm environment in which to eat. 

When asked, how can mindful eating contribute to weight management and overall well-being? Nidhi elaborates, “Our health often suffers due to processed foods and hectic lifestyles. Adopting a plant-based diet can boost overall health and promote natural weight loss. As the saying goes, "We are what we eat." Our fitness, well-being, and stress levels are closely tied to our diet. Hippocrates wisely stated, "Food is our medicine, and medicine is our food." Processed, refined foods strain our bodies. Dairy and meat often contain harmful chemicals, contributing to autoimmune diseases, cancer, and weight gain. A simpler, natural diet can effortlessly support good health. In summary, a plant-based diet, rich in whole foods, offers a path to improved well-being and easy weight management. Embrace this change, and let food be your medicine.”