Simple Habits for Mindful Eating

“Food reveals our connection with the earth. Each bite contains life of the sun and the earth. We can see and taste the whole universe in a piece of bread! Contemplating our food for just a few seconds before eating and eating with mindfulness, can bring us much happiness.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

SimpleHabits

We’ve all done it. We eat on the run.  We eat behind the wheel.  We eat behind a screen. We scarf down what’s within reach without thought from whence it came or how it would or would not nourish our bodies.  We eat when we are nervous. We eat when we are bored, sad, or happy.  We rarely slow down long enough to recognize hunger or take the moments required to determine why we are munching.  We may graze mindlessly through our day or numb ourselves with too much food at each meal. Eating this way, is it a wonder that we often find ourselves unsatisfied at the end of a meal, feeling unwell, and perhaps, un-nourished?  Of course not. And if you find that this is your reality more often than not with food, you will find great benefit from learning to become a more mindful eater.

When you begin to eat more mindfully, you will likely find that you:

1)    Consume less and are satisfied with less because you take the time to notice and experience each bite.

2)    Enjoy more fully the experience of eating.

3)    Consume better foods because you are more conscious of the quality of each bite and the effect foods have on your wellness.

4)    Have better digestion because you are slowing down, reducing stress, and taking the time to chew your food.

5)    Become more aware of hunger and satiety cues.

6)    As you cultivate mindful eating, you will become more aware of “enough” and eat/order/shop accordingly.  Less food will be wasted.

So, what habits should you develop to become a more mindful eater?  Well, as you will hear often from us in the next several months, “It’s simple but it’s not easy.”  Practice is the only way.  Here are some suggestions for getting started.

1)    When you are eating, only eat. Do not attempt to multitask with the exception of sharing the experience with those you love.

2)    Always eat at a table. This will eliminate your tendency to mindlessly graze.  Even a snack will be etched into your consciousness if your rule is to sit down at a table to eat it.

3)    Practice gratitude for the abundance in front of you.  Appreciate the appearance, the origin of the food, and the preparation.

4)    If you have prepared the food yourself be also mindful in its preparation.  Think of it as a gift you give yourself and those you love rather than as a chore.

5)    Take it one bite at a time.  Notice your sensations as you eat.  Chew each bite thoroughly.

6)    Take the time to consider the interconnectedness between all living things, our planet and its peoples, as well as the impact our food choices have on each.

We invite you to join Simplicity and Spunky Avocado on our Less is More journey. If you’d like to join our private Facebook Group, Less is More, which we hope will bring you inspiration, confidence and motivation to get out there and live more while consuming less plus monthly giveaways, email us.

 

Sources: Psychology Today, Eating Mindfully, Huffington Post

 


The Playroom: Where Fun Meets Function

Less is More.  This is a good lesson for children to learn early in life.  And toys are a great place to start.

Playroom

An organized play space is a functional and attractive alternative to the chaos that reigns in many homes.  If a dedicated playroom isn’t available, a corner of the family room, bedroom or kitchen can be a good substitute. For toddlers and young preschoolers, the more visible and central the location, the better.

Regardless of where playthings call home, avoid having more toys than space permits.  If you’ve already exceeded your limit, purge now, before the birthday party or holiday gift-giving season approaches.  If you’re at comfortable capacity, adopt the “one in-one out” rule to avoid overload.  Make sure your child has in mind which toy from home is going to leave before a new one is purchased.

Weed out age inappropriate toys.  For toys your child has outgrown, contain and label for younger/future siblings, share with friends, or donate to charity. Overly advanced games and toys will be frustrating. Store them until the appropriate time – and if that time is years away, consider letting them go.  Purge anything that is broken or missing pieces or that your child no longer enjoys.  If you have the luxury of additional storage space in your home, consider a toy rotation.  Keep only a portion of the age appropriate toys in circulation at one time.  Every few weeks, stash a portion of what’s in play, and substitute a few items from storage.  Make sure the toys that are being stored are clearly labeled and are very accessible.  This is almost as good as a trip to the toy store!

Establish activity centers. While the floor is great for blocks, Legos, and train sets, you’ll need a table and chairs for puzzles, crafts, and doll tea parties.  Don’t skimp on containers or chaos will be back in spades. Open shelves and lidded clear plastic containers are a good choice.  Ziplock bags work well for individual puzzles or games with many small pieces.  Avoid large baskets and bins, which quickly become catch-alls for unrelated toys.

If your children are old enough, allow them to be involved in the process.  Label containers or shelves so everyone will know what belongs where.  Printed word labels are appropriate for older children, while picture labels for younger ones will facilitate cleanup. If your child is learning another language, bilingual labeling is a good way to reinforce foreign vocabulary.

To summarize:

Designate a play space with several activity centers.

Ensure toys are age and space-appropriate.

Contain and label.

Fun meets function!

Looking for inspiration to declutter and serve the community?

This year, Simplicity Organizers are teaming up with Augustine Literacy Project and Freedom School Partners, to host their annual book drive in the month of May. We are encouraging the community to donate gently used children’s books (Grades K-5) to the Read a Book, Give a Book celebration. This year we will donate the books to Montclair and Rama Road Elementary schools in hopes that every single student will be able to take home several books to read over the summer! Please email us to find drop off location in your area.

Charity sites that accept toys and school supplies: