29 Mar Mindful Eating With Coffee
Discovering Mindful Eating with Coffee: a morning ritual
Amy Watson explains her take on mindful eating and how she’s bringing it into her own day to day routine.
Strangely, I wasn’t aware that I practised mindful eating before I read more about precisely what it entails. It was only then that I discovered that I’ve actually been doing it for some months now. In a bid to eat more healthily I learnt to concentrate on food and drink more profoundly in order to break habits of comfort eating and discover new ways to enjoy a meal. I find that it’s all about engaging the senses and truly focusing on what I’d like to eat, why I’d like to eat it and the ideal time at which to do so.
I try to allocate a good amount of time to preparing my food these days, which helps me to focus on what I’m putting into my body and encourages me to savour the food or beverage more intensely once it’s ready for consumption. I find that taking the time to engage with my meal in its preparation stages means that I enjoy the final result on a much deeper level, feeling that I’ve truly earned it through creating it with attention and care.
I would argue that this is why we often enjoy food more when somebody else has cooked it – it’s the anticipation which excites us. Whether this be in a Venetian restaurant, at a friend’s apartment in London or lying in a hammock in Fiji, we love to imagine eating and fantasising about how much we will enjoy it when we finally come to consume it.
A great way to try mindful eating and to learn about how to make this ‘waiting process’ work for you when you are the one preparing the food and drinks is to try it at home. I attempted it recently (consciously) and realised that the actions I performed are ones which I do regularly, but without really absorbing the moments in which they occur, which is key if you’re serious about eating and drinking in a mindful way. The following scenario is a simple everyday task which I tried to perform mindfully; making an early morning coffee. It is one which I’d heartily recommend if you’re struggling to find a way to make mindful eating work for you as it really helps you to begin the day in a relaxed, calm manner where the ‘moment’ is key, rather than slinging something in a cup and knocking it back on the way out the door.
Mindful eating with coffee…
I fill my favourite mug with boiling water, smiling at the rainbow striped pattern on the ceramic as I do so. I spoon the coffee into the water and watch it sink like snow into a puddle. I stir gently as I reach for the bag of sugar and cautiously sprinkle it in, watching the granules dissolve inside the rich, dark, whirling ocean of liquid. I let the milk trickle out of its carton and marble into the coffee, noticing how the swirls of contrasting colour disappear as I twirl the teaspoon around the mug. I watch the steam dance across the surface of the liquid and as I place the mug to my lips, I inhale the richness of the aroma and pay attention to the taste of the coffee, the milk and the sugar complimenting one another, a perfect amount.
This slow, steady mind process is one which can be used anywhere. On an international flight which is making you feel restless, try ordering something and properly tuning in to each different aspect of what lies before you, even if this is a pre-packaged blueberry muffin from the food trolley. Examine how the flavours work with one another and consider the textures. Or simply close your eyes and relax as you imagine the delicious scent of freshly baked bread, warm and as soft as a cloud to the touch. Think about a cool glass of sharp, zesty lemonade as you bask in the sunshine.
Remember to respect what you eat and drink and pay due attention how you consume them. You may be in a rush to get to work, desperate for sustenance after a long day sightseeing in a foreign city or simply musing on what to cook for dinner, but mindful eating really is an act which can be easily interspersed into your daily routine. Being thoughtful about what, when, why and how you eat and drink is a great way to achieve a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally, and you may even find that you apply the practise of mindfulness to other aspects of your life too along the way.