This past month I have been thinking a lot about mindfulness and mindful eating.
Anngela Leggett (Evergreen Fitness) and I recently ran the Mindful Morning Retreat at Blue House Organics. It was a magical morning consisting of a beautiful yoga practice with Anngela, raw treats, and a circle of discussion around the way we eat and the way we think about food.
What an amazing experience it is to openly share your experiences with mindfulness and food with a group of unique and inspiring individuals. I was blown away.
I knew I wasn’t going to be delivering exactly what people would expect. I was there as a guide, to show people the ball was already in their court, and help them to discover how they could realistically apply mindful eating to support mental health, to their own individual lifestyles.
As it turns out, I may have learned more from the group than they did from me! I learned new ways to approach mindfulness, I was taught how to be grateful for the action of making dinner for your loved ones, I was taught how to be mindful through your purchases of food, not just at meal times, and I learned just how important these reminders are.
I shared this reading with the group from Peace Is Every Step, by Thich Nhat Hanh:
“One day, I offered a number of children a basket filled with tangerines. The basket was passed around, and each child took one tangerine and put it in his or her palm. We each looked at our tangerine, and the children were invited to meditate on its origins. They saw not only their tangerine, but also its mother, the tangerine tree. With some guidance, they began to visualise the blossoms in the sunshine and in the rain. Then they saw petals falling down and the tiny green fruit appear. The sunshine and the rain continued, and the tiny tangerine grew. Now someone has picked it, and the tangerine is here. After seeing this, each child was invited to peel the tangerine slowly, noticing the mist and the fragrance of the tangerine, and then bring it up to his or her mouth and have a mindful bite, in full awareness of the texture and taste of the fruit and the juice coming out. We ate slowly like that.
Each time you look at a tangerine you can see deeply into it. You can see everything is the universe in one tangerine. When you peel it and smell it, its wonderful. You can take your time eating a tangerine and be very happy.”
Lisa Richardson writes for the Pique, and had this to say about the Mindful Morning Retreat:
“They offered to help us connect the dots between food and mood. I went to pick up a few good lifestyle hacks that would help me come away from that moment when I’m standing forlornly in front of the fridge, with a fistful of carrot sticks and a dash of psychic resilience instead of a spoonful of Nutella and a guilty conscience.
Our guide, Maguire, having survived six years of disordered eating and come out the other side with practical wisdom to partner with her science degree, informed us that there is no such thing as good food and bad food. She invited us to replace that hazardous dichotomy with mindfulness. Self-care and slowing down. The Mindful Morning Retreat wasn’t an intervention, a six-step program or even a specific solution. It was quite simply a beautiful morning of yoga followed by tea and treats, and the chance for a circle of people to sit together and make connections—between our experiences and other people’s experiences, between our eating habits and our emotions. It was the welcome mat to mindfulness. It was the reminder that attention, not willpower, will save us, from pathology, addiction, the downward spiral of self-loathing.”
Some questions to ponder:
What does mindfulness mean to you?
What does mindful eating mean to you?
How can you realistically apply this to your own life?
Do you think about food as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’?
Do you feel guilty after eating certain foods?
Does social media influence how you feel about food?
Nutrition Mind Collective