Do you use your 5 senses when you eat? Sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch?
We should take the opportunity to stop, breathe and celebrate. We forget how easy it is to get caught up in our everyday life and rush food down our mouths, eating mindlessly. Who sits down and looks at the food in detail and savours the aroma? If you pause to eat more mindfully, you will taste every spice, ingredient, texture and flavour. We forget to glorify the little things that make our lives rich on a day-to-day basis, to celebrate the food we have in our hands.
Food can evoke negative emotions and positive emotions. When we are feeling negative and disconnected in the world, this is when over-eating plays a part a big part in our lives. However, when you are positive and full of life, this is when you enjoy the burst of flavours and feel the sensation of spice inside your mouth. You can change your relationship with food, and it starts with appreciation and choosing to be present. Slow down and engage all of your senses the next time you shop, cook or eat a meal, and the result will be a transcendent, extraordinary experience!
The first step in engaging your senses is taking time to experience the moment. Once you find the space to breathe and be present, you’ll be amazed at the joy your food has to offer you. When you engage all your senses, the brain releases feel-good chemicals, which elevate your mood and evoke feelings of trust, enjoyment and relaxation. The result is that you’ll enjoy your food in a new and exciting way.
Take in what you see. “We eat with our eyes first,” yet we rarely take the time to truly experience this. What you see will likely evoke emotion, and you may even associate what you see with flavours your love or hate. This is a great time to consider where your food came from and how it was grown, and if you’re eating a meal, you can reflect on the work that went into preparing it. Appreciating the beauty of food and its journey to your plate.
Touch, feel & smell. Do you feel your food? Even with your tongue? You smell your food before you eat it? Ever really paused to think about the sensuality of the experience? Explore the texture and immerse yourself in the tactile sensations you experience in the kitchen, from holding a knife to peeling garlic, chopping an onion or juicing a lemon. Get your hands dirty and play with your food, then slow down enough to really enjoy the experience. As you eat, think about the way a food feels in your mouth, which will, in turn, slow down your eating and engage you in the flavour of the meal.
Listen to, while you savour each bite. Challenge yourself to take a bite and taste your food before you even started chewing it. Chew mindfully; challenge yourself to chew your food at least 10 times and pay attention to each chomp and the way the flavour and texture of your food changes. By savouring each bite, you can enjoy less food – and still, feel satisfied.
Relish the aroma. There’s something so inviting about the smell of your home when you cook, as well as the aromas at your favourite restaurant. Scents evoke memories and emotions, which you can use to your advantage. How a food smells is directly related to your perception of how that food tastes. Seasoning your food with beautifully fragrant herbs and spices can enhance the aroma and, therefore, taste. Take a moment before each bite to inhale and enjoy the way your food smells, which in turn gets you excited to mindfully eat it.
The soundtrack to your life. Though our sense of hearing seems abstract to our relationship with food, it isn’t. When you take an active approach to listen to the world around you, it can deepen your overall experience of life, including your relationship with food. Listen to the sounds created when you cut into a potato, or the sizzle as you sauté some vegetables in a pan. Be attentive to the sound of chewing your food, and delight in the melody of voices as you share a healthy meal with friends and family.
You may give this a go once in a while or incorporate a few of these tips on a daily basis, but either way, the act of engaging yourself in all that your food is offering will allow you to celebrate your plate in a way that takes the emphasis off deprivation.
Meet Davinder Ojalla – The Lightworker Coach, she’s a dear friend of mine and I would like to share her blog with you to help with this exercise. It’s so simple but yet effective and it’s called ‘The Raisin Exercise – Mindfulness Meditation’
Davinder’s Raisin Exercise can help us ignite a healthy love for food. This exercise is a great way to help with diets and health and it’s an holistic approach to our personal evolution and potential. Next time you eat one of my dishes or cook one of my recipes, I would love you to use your 5 senses and engage with the food. Tell me about the journey you’ve experienced!