By Donna Gates, as seen on:

Do you eat your meals quickly so you can get back to what you were doing?

The way we eat is every bit as important as what we eat.

Many spiritual traditions practice mindful eating, which simply means to slow down and truly experience the aromas, flavors and textures of the food. Chewing slowly and well, and enjoying meals in a quiet setting—rather than being rushed, agitated and halfway out the door—is an essential part of this practice.

Ideally, we should treat the body as if it is a sacred laboratory, where each day we experiment with delicious foods and herbs while carefully observing how our bodies respond.

Part of the stress and anxiety so many of us feel today is because we have lost our connection with nature and our gratitude for her amazing gifts to us.

We must learn to have a deeper appreciation for those who make our meals possible and, if we’ve prepared it ourselves, we do so with a listening spirit, allowing our intuition to take over so that we are tuned in to what our bodies are asking for in that moment. We must learn the difference between being overfull and satisfied.

So what is involved in mindful eating?

  • Preparing our meals deliberately and thoughtfully – Food senses our energy and responds to our thoughts and feelings. As we eat positive thoughts our physical energy can grow stronger. This is the secret to making the meal taste delicious.
  • Setting a beautiful table – Food tastes much more delicious when it is placed artfully on a beautiful plate. Candlelight at night creates an environment that makes even the most simple of meals more magical.
  • Designating a space and time that’s quiet and uninterrupted—Make eating a kind of spiritual practice, a sacred rite where food is transformed into strength, energy, love, and light.
  • Saying a simple prayer – Expressing our gratitude for the efforts of all those who made this meal possible reminds us that it takes many other people — the farmer, the truck driver, the produce manager etc. — to sustain our own life.
  • Taking time to breathe deeply throughout the meal—A few deep breaths before we sit down and taking a breath between each bite helps transform the food into medicine for the body and for the soul.
  • Chewing our food thoroughly – Chew each mouthful at least 30 times before swallowing and you’ll not only obtain more nourishment from the meal, you’ll actually eat less, yet feel more satisfied.

Today so many of us living in big cities find that connecting with Nature has become difficult. Eating your next meal consciously will give you an incredible connection with the Earth. So transform your next meal into a sacred event and experience why food is said to be the most delicious medicine for your body and soul.

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