Do you ever find yourself saying, “Did I just eat 5 GF chocolate chip cookies?” It’s so fun having sweet, yummy, comfort foods that are GF too! Often times people who eat a gluten-free diet feel deprived of certain favorite foods. When these same foods you thought you could never eat again appear on grocery shelves or you find aperfect GF recipe, there’s often a feeling of jubilation.
Whatever you decide to eat, consider the idea of eating it “mindfully”. Mindful eating can be calming and soothing, a potential replacement for comfort eating. I recently listened to a presentation by Susan Albers, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, who specializes in eating issues. She had some very interesting ideas about mindful eating whether you’re trying to lose weight, eat more healthfully or are dealing with other food related issues. Here are her 5 simple mindful eating tips to incorporate at mealtime that you may find helpful.
1. Sit down to eat
How many times have you driven to work eating breakfast or drinking coffee, worked at your desk while eating lunch, ate in front of the T.V., or ate while listening to the radio and reading the paper? These are all distractions so that you aren’t even aware of what you’re putting in your mouth, let alone what it tastes like. See what happens when you just sit while you eat without distractions.
2. Slowly Chew your food
Here’s an idea, eat with your non-dominant hand! It’s been shown that this little maneuver can slow your eating down 30%. Pace, don’t race. Often we mirror the pace of people we eat with, be aware of this and try to keep your eating at a comfortable slow pace. No judgment, just notice.
3. Savor your food
Often people can eat without being aware of eating, kind of like Zombie eating. Did I just eat that whole bowl of nuts? It turns out that the first bite is the most flavorful. Taste and smell each forkful. Notice the texture of the food, the weight, the shape, perhaps, even the sound of chewing.
4. Simplify your environment
Place healthy foods in plain sight. A bowl of apples or pears on the kitchen counter. Cut up veggies in clear containers in the frig at eye level. Control your own environment, simple.
Smile between each bite. This allows you to pause for a moment and notice the food you’re eating. And, a smile can stimulate the positive hormones in your brain.
Mindful eating is not a diet, it’s being more attentive to how and what you are eating. Appreciate and be aware of each bite. Enjoy those GF chocolate chip cookies and know when you've had enough. Let me know if any of these tips help you. Bon appétit, mindfully.