healthyliving

Simple Ways to Eat Mindfully

Mindful eating is an extremely important component of a healthy lifestyle. Even if you are eating the right foods, eating too much, too little, as a response to stress, or due to boredom can be detrimental to a persons healing journey. Mindlessness can go in either direction: a person can over or under eat due to stressful situations or a busy schedule, shoving food in their mouth without even thinking about it. On the other hand, there is such thing as being too regimented and eating according to “rules.” This can also lead to both over and under eating. Usually the under eating comes first, and the deprived person binges on “bad” foods that they had been avoiding. Developing a mindful eating practice can help you eat according to how your mind and body feel in relation to food, not according to a diet or set of guidelines. If you are eating truly mindfully, you will likely choose the healthier option more times than not.

Here are some simple exercises you can practice to help you eat more mindfully:

  • Chew! Chew your food COMPLETELY. Not only will this force you to focus on your meal, but it will also help you better digest your food (digestion begins in the mouth!). Chewing thoroughly will help you slow down, thereby noticing cues that you are full. While chewing, pay attention to the food itself. How does it feel in your mouth? Is it crunchy or soft? What does it taste like? Is it salty or sweet?

  • Put down your fork between bites. Do not pick the fork back up until you have completely finished your prior bite. Like chewing, this is another technique to help you slow down while eating. When you slow down, you will likely stop eating before you are overly full.

  • Eat away from technology. It is so easy to fall into a trap of eating while working at the computer, sitting in front of the tv, scrolling through Instagram on your phone, etc. Before you know it, you plate of food is gone and you don’t even remember eating it! Next time you eat, try to make it a point to sit down at a table without any distractions. Pay attention to the food you are eating and chewing your food completely. You may find that you feel more satisfied when you are done with your meal.

  • Gratitude practice. Studies have shown that those who pray or give thanks before eating are more satisfied after eating. Before eating, look at the plate in front of you and say a simple “thank you” to God, the universe, or whatever you believe in. Think about where your food came from and all the work that went into getting it on your plate, from start to finish. It only takes a few seconds.

  • Portion your food on a plate. It’s very easy to grab a bag of chips and eat right out of the bag. When eating a snack, take out a serving size and put the rest away. When eating a meal, serve yourself the amount of food that you think will satisfy your hunger. If you had cooked more food, leave it away from arms reach. When you are done with your first serving, wait and make sure that you are actually still hungry before going back for seconds.

  • Have a conversation with yourself before reaching for food. Creating this habit before every meal or snack can help prevent rummaging through the pantry and having your arm deep in a bag of chips before you even know what you’re doing. Here are some examples of questions you can ask yourself:

    • Am I hungry?

    • What am type of food is my body craving?

    • What will make me feel good when I am done eating?

    • What is my hunger level?

    • What emotions am I feeling right now?

  • Have a conversation with yourself after eating. Start to recognize how certain foods make you feel. This can help you make better food decisions in the future.

    • How do I feel after eating?

    • What is my hunger level?

    • Did I eat too much? Too little?

    • What emotions do I feel after this meal?

Do you have any exercises that help you to eat more mindfully? Let me know!

Whole 30 - Halfway There!

Today is day 15 of the Whole30 and I can’t say enough good things about it. The Whole30 is a 30 day challenge during which you give up all grains, dairy, legumes, sugars and alcohol. It focuses on eating a whole food diet. You can read more about it here.

Here are some details about my Whole30 journey!

Why I decided to do the Whole30

I was more than ready to do some type of clean-eating reset or elimination diet when I started. After giving birth, I have been hanging on to about 10 extra pounds. And I felt it. I was still eating healthy, but no where near how I once ate before pregnancy. Once pregnancy was over, the breastfeeding hanger kicked in. I felt like I had lost all control of what and how much I was putting in my mouth. I knew it wouldn’t last forever and would slow down once Rory started eating solids, so I gave myself some grace until he reached 6 months.

In addition to feeling heavy and weighed down, I had also been experiencing some pretty bad digestive issues since giving birth (I’ll spare you the details). I had found that I had a sensitivity to nuts through Nutrition Response Testing, and avoiding them definitely made a difference, but the problem wasn’t completely handled.

How I’m Feeling

I feel AMAZING! I want to shout it from the roof tops. Seriously. For the first time in a year and a half, I finally feel like “myself” again. Obviously my body will never be exactly the same as it was, but I at least feel comfortable in my skin.

My digestive symptoms are GONE. I have not experienced one “episode” since starting the Whole30. At this point, I am in no rush to introduce any of the forbidden foods, but I am curious to find out what was causing this issue. Before the Whole30, symptoms would flare when I ate nuts; however, I started eating small amounts of nuts a few days ago and my body is handling them just fine.

I am nicer. I experienced a little bit of postpartum depression and anxiety after giving birth. Nothing crazy, but my mind and emotions were not in a good place, and it was clear through my behavior (mostly just at home. Poor Pat.) I only noticed this in the past few days, but since January, I stopped snapping, I’m crying less and when I’m in a stressful situation, I’ve been able to handle it much more gracefully.

What I’m Eating

I’ve been having so much fun cooking! I’m not creative when it comes to making my own recipes. But I’ve been cooking a lot so I thought I’d share some good recipes I’ve found with you all!

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Breakfast

  • Sautéed sweet potato and apples with cinnamon, almond butter and coconut yogurt. Make sure you buy sugar free.

  • Chia pudding. Mix 1 cup non dairy milk of choice with 3 Tbs chia seeds. Stir and let sit over night. In the morning, pour into a bowl and top with almond or sunflower butter, coconut shreds, blueberries and pumpkin seeds.

  • Banana egg scramble. Heat up 1 Tbs coconut oil over low medium heat. Mash a banana and add to the pan. Stir for about two minutes, until fragrant. Whisk two eggs with a little non dairy milk, cinnamon and about 1/2 - 1 Tbs of each hemp and chia seeds. Add to the pan and stir as if you were making scrambled eggs. It’s done when the eggs are cooked through. Add to a bowl with almond butter, blueberries and coconut yogurt.

  • Paleo Cereal

  • Eggs, bacon, roasted potatoes. Classic!

Lunch

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  • Tuna salad made with homemade or a whole30 complaint mayo. Add some chopped veggies for a crunch. Serve in romaine lettuce or collard wraps.

  • Turkey “sandwich” (make sure turkey has no nitrates, sugar or antibiotics) with avocado, sprouts, spinach on a roasted eggplant “bun”

  • Big salad with roasted veggies, avocado, protein of choice, seeds and a compliant dressing.

  • Leftovers!

Dinner

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Snacks (not typically allowed but #breastfeeding)

  • Almond Pulp Crackers

  • Guacamole and Plantain Chips

  • Hardboiled eggs

  • Flax crackers

  • Date dipped in nut butter or tahini

Other

  • Almond milk (soak 1 cup almonds over night. strain and add to blender with about 3 cups water. blend on high for 2 minutes. Use cheese cloth or a nut milk bag to strain. I put a large mason jar in a bowl and put a strainer on top of that, and squeeze the nut milk bag on top. this helps to double strain and avoid a huge mess). Or make cashew milk, which is similar but you don’t have to strain!

  • Homemade Mayo from Whole30 cookbook