Do You Eat Mindfully?

I once tried to explain the concept of eating mindfully to my son, as I watched him devour a plate of spaghetti.

He looked at me like I’d really lost my marbles and with a voice full of disdain said “Mom, I think I know what I’m eating.”

However, eating mindfully goes beyond knowing what’s on your plate.

It’s about recognizing when you feel satisfied, rather than eating to the point of feeling ill.

It’s the difference between acknowledging that you’re indeed holding a plus-size bag of potato chips and realizing before you’ve eaten the entire bag, that you:

A)  Don’t care all that much for the flavor

B)   Aren’t particularly hungry

C)   Could have stopped after the first handful

That’s what we call being aware, as well as mindful of what we’re putting in our mouths.

A frequently cited example of mindful eating, asks that you focus on a single raisin.

The idea is to really taste it.

To notice it’s sweetness, the chewy texture – even the wrinkly brown color, before you pop it into your mouth.

You might even realize – after years of eating raisins – that you don’t even like them that much, or that they’re much too sweet for your taste buds.

Moments like that create a huge aha!

Eating mindfully means engaging ALL your senses.

It starts in the kitchen, of course, when you’re first preparing a meal.

That’s when you notice the sputtering sound that olive oil makes when heated in a pan, or the heavenly aroma that subsequently fills your nostrils.

It means noticing the velvety texture, should you lick a drop of oil off your finger – plus the bland taste.

Unless, of course, your choice of oil is flavored, in which case your taste buds might be instantly awakened by a more nuanced tanginess.

Eating mindfully adds another layer of awareness to those of us on a gluten-free diet.

I say this because maintaining a gluten-free – or allergen friendly lifestyle – requires a certain amount of awareness by its very nature.

We can’t afford to take chances – our health and well-being depends on it.

That said, I don’t always eat as mindfully as I could, although I certainly do try.

More often than not, at the end of the meal, I find myself wishing I’d eaten slower and really taken in the flavors and texture of my meal.

Taking in our food visually, and admiring the colors or the presentation – that’s the easy part.

Really noticing what we’re eating – and why we’re eating it – that’s the part that’s hard.

So, that’s the challenge.

What do you think YOU could do differently?


  1. Love this post Karen! One thing I ask my clients (and myself) is: Do you eat while you’re doing something else – watching tv, driving, standing, etc.? If so, you’re not eating mindfully – you’re eating in distracted mode, and you can’t really enjoy your food that way (or notice when you’re full). Thanks for the great reminder.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Janelle – I’m glad you found this post helpful! I find it’s on-going challenge to be a mindful eater but important to be aware of. One of the speakers at the GIG Conference focused on Mindful Eating – she was excellent! Gave me even more to think about!

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