This leads me right into mindful, intentional eating. This is surprisingly just a small part of a much larger process. Once you’ve begun to practice some of my rituals and exercises
—such as developing a healthy sense of gratitude and acceptance for your body, eating from a place of self-love, and having an ongoing dialogue with your body
—mindful eating just happens! If you are already connected and in tune with the process, mindful eating becomes a default setting. Magic, right? Want to delve deeper?
Set specific intentions for your food at every meal and engage in conscious chewing practices to make your eating even more mindful. Sit down, close the laptop, put the phone away, and focus on your food. When you are eating, you should eat without distractions. Eat with purpose.
Take the time to engage with your food and savor each bite. Your stomach doesn’t have teeth, so chewing your food well will improve digestion and keep you in the present moment with the delicious meal in front of you. If you are naturally a quick eater, break the cycle by putting your fork down after each bite, and then finish chewing before you pick it up again. Establishing the space and time to be with and enjoy your food will slow you down and allow you to value the experience. The recipes in this book are also designed to engage you in a mindful experience with what’s on your plate. Each recipe has its own assigned mantra, which is purposefully paired with a specific meditation or mindfulness exercise. You may use them any way you want, but I’ve made a few suggestions below.
If you have been practicing you have become more mindful of your eating habits
—noting the foods you select and paying attention to the way you feel afterward. One key way to eating mindfully is to ask yourself before each meal whether or not you are eating from a place of self-love or self-sabotage, you can eat a kale salad from either a place of love and nourishment so that your body can be fuelled or from a place of deep self-loathing and of wishing your body would change. Your intention and the energy behind your reasons for eating that salad greatly affect your body’s ability to digest it. Don’t believe me?
Think about a time when you were particularly upset or stressed out, and even though you were eating the same normal foods you always eat, all of a sudden they were going right through you. When we are in certain emotional and energetic states, our bodies have a much harder time digesting food. The energy with which you eat can certainly affect the way your body processes that food. So what should you do when you’re eating something from a place of self-sabotage and not self-love? You have already made it past the first step, which is to have a conversation with yourself as to why you are eating what’s on your plate. Now that you’re honest with yourself, you can choose to see things differently and that can go one of two ways. In a first way, you might acknowledge that you are eating the food in front of you in a self-sabotaging manner, because you don’t love your body in its current state and you want it to be skinnier. Try to take a moment to sit back and search for that place of gratitude for your body. Once you achieve that,
THEN decide to continue with your food from a place of self-awareness. This small acknowledgment is enough to cause a shift in your intention and energy around the food. The second way—and what I recommend doing when you’re first starting out—is to ask yourself if the food in front of you is what you really want. Ask yourself, “If I fully loved and accepted my body, what would I have at this moment?” and then give yourself permission to have it if that is truly what you would have at the moment. The surprising thing with this question is that sometimes you will hear your body telling you that it wants the smoothie, other times you will hear that it wants a more substantial breakfast. I love asking that question because even if it’s just a hypothetical, you are pausing at the moment and tuning in to the energy of what it would feel like to genuinely love and accept your body. Keep practicing and building that self-love! “Ask yourself before each meal whether or not you’re eating from a place of self-love.” When you eat from a place of self-love, you bring more awareness around your specific intention for that meal: nourishment, healing, or energy. When you make something and eat it with the intention of genuine nourishment, it can have a profound effect on your body’s reaction to that food so, of course, it also helps to know which foods naturally support our beautiful bodies.