Unraveling Habits with Conscious Eating
As we age, eating becomes an automatic behavior. Our eating habits are controlled by our conscious and unconscious thoughts, feelings and belief systems. As we strive to find inner balance, food serves multiple healthy and unhealthy purposes from marking our social events to quenching our emotions. We like to share eating with our family or friends to strengthen our emotional ties and sense of belonging and we use food to celebrate important life events. Eating has become a social activity that supersedes the desire to eat to live and we eat not just to satiate our hunger but to mask our anxiety.
Why Conscious Eating?
The experience of eating may be tinted with gluttony, guilt, unconsciousness, fears, emotions and intentions that go beyond the act of feeding for survival sake. No wonder food has become such an important part of our life! It is the single most important survival behavior and to preserve it, nature gifted it with pleasure! Our food intake is controlled by our religious or esthetic beliefs, social and cultural habits that often obliterate the survival function of eating. Most sadly, food intake is controlled by economics as value is placed on cheap processed foods that are the primary cause of contemporary chronic illness.
Conscious Eating in our Lifestyle Change Programs
At Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat we practice conscious eating to reestablish a lost connection with the primal function of eating: the pleasure of eating real, unadulterated foods when we are hungry. Conscious eating unveils motivations, feelings, emotions, thoughts and judgments attached to food, opening the door to understanding pathological behaviors. We use conscious eating in the treatment of eating disorders such as bulimia or binge eating or in the re-feeding process of anorexia. We use conscious eating in any condition where eating has been limited by judgments that have negatively impacted the patient’s life. We use conscious eating in food reintroduction following a water or a juice fast, to reeducate the palate and fully experience the essence of each vegetable.
A Guide to Conscious Eating
You will find a place to eat on your own, a table with an ocean view for instance and a comfortable seat. You will feel the subtle pleasure of anticipation of hunger being satiated. You will bless your food, being grateful for the food being served to you and give thanks to the people who have made it happen: farmers who grew the food, bees that pollinated the plants, the water and the soil that nourished the plants, the people who transported the food from the farm to your plate and the people who prepared the food. You will enjoy the colors, shape and the beauty of the presentation and give thanks to the plant that is going to continue to live in you to nourish your body with its vital energy. Then, you will chew one bite at the time consciously, switching many times from the right side to the left side of your mouth, transforming the solid food into a liquid, being aware of the saliva mixing with food and breaking it down. You will feel the taste of the food before swallowing it; enjoying it and being aware of the esophagus and the stomach moving your food to further break it down. You will enjoy the pleasure of eating and become aware that you are satiated when the nutrients extracted from the food signal to your brain that your body received what it needed to support your life.
Attentive eating, mindful eating, conscious eating, eating with awareness… can this simple habit radically change your life? What we eat is important, but how we eat it is often overlooked. Even if you are following a healthy diet, you still may not be eating consciously. What Is Conscious Eating? Conscious eating is about being completely […]