Mindful eating is only a tangerine away.
This ancient practice of self-awareness leads to healthier meals and a renewed outlook on life. And achieving it is easier than you think!
Picture this. It’s the height of the citrus season. You pick one perfect tangerine at the market. Already anticipating the explosion of tart sweetness underneath, you revel in unpeeling the golden fruit.
Enjoy the curl of the peel, the juice, the smell. Everything about this experience tickles your senses. When you finally taste the flavorful pulp on your lips, pause, chew and swallow, your senses are heightened and your sweet snack has been transformed into a zen moment of mindfulness. What a lovely moment to savor - right here, right now.
We all have the tools at hand to practice mindful eating at every meal. The tricky thing can be tailoring this practice to our distraction-prone lives. Overcoming frenetic business that consumes so many of us just takes a little, well, mindfulness!
Much like the parts of a tangerine, mindful eating is a layered experience, something we can learn step by step, leading to a juicy experience all-around.
First, identify what you are about to eat and your desired portion size. “When you pick up a piece of bread you look at it for one second with mindfulness in order to realize this is a piece of bread,” advises Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn.
This instruction is beautiful in its simplicity and achievability. Even in the drive-thru, you can take that second to identify your fries, before the honking starts. Or pick a favorite quiet spot outdoors near your home, office or school and lovingly pack yourself a lunch to-go in a pretty stainless steel ECOlunchbox container.
How often do we sit down and eat without a screen? Even if your mealtime companions are a laptop and fourteen strangers at a coffee shop, acknowledge them. Take a breath, take in the sights, then dig in.
When it comes to portion size, be mindful of the size of your appetite as well as the size of your plate or food container. To become more aware of how much food our ECOlunchbox containers will hold, check out our “Perfect Portions” graphics
Other distractions now start to make themselves known. Projects, obligations, and lists come flooding into our consciousness. Quieting these noises is the hardest thing when it comes to mindful eating. So go back to identifying your food and environment as Thich Nhat Hahn describes is the first step, acknowledging every bite of food as you savor it.
So as you bite into that gorgeous piece of tangerine, note to yourself the taste, texture, and smell of it. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to be truly consumed by what you’re consuming.
Thich Nhat Hahn describes mindful eating as a “freedom.” He states, “Freedom means you are not pulled away… You are invested entirely in your breakfast and that is why you are free.”
We have the tools to feel this freedom and it’s sitting right in front of us in the form of our next meal. Each sense comes into play as we eat and our culinary concentration helps us silence the needless voices in our heads.
Mindful eating carries with it a host of other benefits as well -- from eating healthier, more slowly and feeling more gratitude in the process. When you feel grateful, small annoyances and stresses cease to carry importance.
The act of eating is a gateway to self-awareness and mindfulness in all things. Whether with friends and family or a solo lunch hour, healthy, delicious, mindfully eaten food makes everyday better.