If you’ve ever taken yoga, you’ll know that vinyasa is a term frequently used to flow from certain positions to the next. It technically means ” to place in a certain way” –but is also used to cultivate awareness when moving from one action to another. And this can be applied to many ideas things that are found far from the yoga mat.
The other day, I was thinking about our alimentary choices and eating styles and thought “wouldn’t it be nice if we took a vinyasa while eating and grocery shopping too?” So, I don’t literally mean doing Downward-facing Dog in the middle of the cereal aisle in order for you to choose the best one. But a little mindful vinyasa during some of these everyday moments: like reflecting mindfully on what to eat or when we have the choice between different types of food at the store.
I’ve talked a lot about the importance of ethical consumption, food choice and how important it is to know your food in previous articles. In case you missed them, take a look at these previous posts for more detail: Ethical Consumerism & Power of Food Choice ).
And in the end, it all revolves about being present and mindful in the moment. Realizing that the choices we make are all linked to the all the other aspects of our lives. Becoming a mindful consumer takes time but we can all take simple steps daily.
- Read food labels! Understand where the products come from and what is in them. It can be a long and tedious process at the beginning but soon after you will start to see which products are best.
- Be aware of marketing ploys: too often we aren’t mindful consumers are we fall for the most recent fad of the market. Just the other day I saw a ‘Light Rice Milk’ promoting the fact that it has less calories and is therefore healthier. Compared to the regular Rice Milk at 1.40 euros a liter– this fancy light stuff was 2.85 euros a liter. Want to know the only difference between the two??? The light milk had more water added and less rice. Enough said.
So once we become more mindful of what we buy as consumers, we can also use this idea of taking a vinyasa while we literally consume the foods.
How many times has it happened to you that you ate so fast you hardly tasted your food? Or you kept eating after you were full? Or maybe you were stressed out/ bored/ sad and went straight to the comfort food?
Don’t get me wrong– these are all things that happen to all of us. We are human, after all. But yet, they are all forms of mindless eating. We aren’t eating for the right reasons and we are doing so improperly.
Mindful eating is the idea of deliberately being present and paying attention to the moment at hand. So when we eat, the focus should be on the food & the flavors, the smells, the colors, the textures, the sounds the food makes as you eat it.
To be more mindful during our meals we can focus on:
- Listening to our bodies. When we are full, we stop eating.
- Eating real meals at set times- not just grazing our way through the day on snacks.
- Listening for physiological signs of hunger (belly growling etc.) and not emotional signs (stress- boredom)
- Trying not to multitask during meals. Set aside time to eat. (This can be hard considering our Go! Go! Go! society– but is worth taking 10 minutes to stop working, turn off the TV and put down your smartphone)
- Stop considering food as the end product to our hunger. Instead think of all the people who were involved in all of the different ingredients you are eating. From the people who prepared it, stocked the shelves, packaged it, planted or raised it. It may seem like a simple thing, just another meal, but once we start to think of how it is connected to the bigger picture we can really start to feel gratitude and appreciation.
So, these mini mental vinyasa’s can help us out during the day reminding us to breathe and slow things down a bit. Connecting each action to the next with purpose, while helping us to understand the influence that each of our own personal actions has on our day- our personal health- the food producers & even Planet Earth.
This Week’s Mindful Task: Pick a day this week and make a home cooked meal to share. Start the mental vinyasa’s during the trip to the grocery store, and as you go down the aisle think about the things you are buying and where they come from. Once you arrive at home and begin to cook- try to stay connected as you prep your ingredients. Take in the smells and the flavors and leave out all the rest. And now for the best part- share your mindfully prepared dish with someone. Sit down at the table and enjoy. Confirm your connection to this meal by sharing the experience with this person- telling them about the food you bought and how you prepared it. Reflect on how this meal made you feel later- in it’s preparation- the sharing of it and even how it made you feel physically and mentally (full, happy, healthy etc.)
I’d love to hear about your personal experience so feel free to leave me a comment about your mindful food experience 🙂
Author: Ali @ Sustainable PsycheMy name is Ali. I am an American living in Italy. I am passionate about delicious food that is also ethical, healthy and sustainable. I love pasta and pizza, traveling, horseback riding and exploring the vibrant city of Milan that I call home.