The last few years have seen the concept of mindfulness gain rapid traction, from corporate board rooms to sports teams. At its core, it is a very simple philosophy that should apply to every walk of life. Therefore, the need for mindful eating shouldn’t really be a surprise if you really think about it. We’re sure most of us have grown up listening to parents scolding us for watching TV, reading comics, or talking while eating. I am sure you remember being told, “No distractions while eating!”. Without ever realizing it, that was an implicit order to practice mindful eating, something which we seem to have given up on in current times.

Before we delve deeper into why mindfulness is as important while eating as it is for better productivity, let’s understand the essence of this ‘modern buzzword’. According to ancient Zen Philosophy, mindfulness is simply “presence” and it is probably the simplest form of meditation there is. It is about being immersed completely in the present moment and being fully aware of it.
Unfortunately, we now seem to be always racing against time, with our minds full rather than being mindful. As we multi-task our way through life, pre-occupied by numerous thoughts and worrying about either the past or the future, focusing on just one thing at a time seems like a terrible waste of time. How wrong could we be?

That brings us to eating. When people speak of healthy eating, the focus is generally on what we eat – the constituents of a meal and their nutritional value. What tends to get ignored often is how we eat. Welcome to mindful eating and its role in delivering the full benefits of the food we eat. According to Psychology Today, “mindful eating involves paying full attention to the experience of eating and drinking, both inside and outside the body. We pay attention to the colors, smells, textures, flavors, temperatures, and even the sounds (crunch!) of our food. We pay attention to the experience of the body. Where in the body do we feel hunger? Where do we feel satisfaction? What does half-full feel like, or three quarters full?”

Benefits of Mindful Eating
Several modern studies have brought to the fore the ‘mind & gut connection’ and the resultant benefits of simply focusing on eating. It is not difficult to understand why.

* Prevents overeating/binge eating: If you eat mindfully, you are more likely to avoid overeating as you are fully aware of the quantity of food you are putting in your month. In turn, this means you are more likely to listen to the “full” signal coming back from your tummy! (Have you ever wondered why we tend to end up eating a lot more than we normally would at parties? It’s all thanks to the divided attention!). If you want to lose weight or are conscious of gaining weight, you know how important it is to not overeat.

* Better digestion & absorption of nutrients: When we are fully focused on the food we eat,our salivary glands work better. This aids digestion enormously. Also, we tend to slow down the pace of eating – we eat more leisurely, chewing the food well and ensuring that the important first stage of the digestive process is completed properly in the mouth. By ‘breaking down’ the food in the mouth, we enable much better absorption of all nutrients.

* Greater satisfaction and fulfillment: The undivided attention on the food helps us truly enjoy and appreciate its look, feel, fragrance and flavours. Isn’t such sensory fulfillment a great source of joy? Mindful eating invariably translates to joyfulness!

How to Practise Mindful Eating for Greater Fulfillment
The important word is conscious ‘practise’, as this is a process of creating and reinforcing a habit while (in many cases) altering an existing habit. Many of you would be familiar with the principle of auto-suggestion while practicing meditation or breathing exercises in Yoga. We should follow something similar to becoming mindful: tell yourself to experience every step of the journey of the food from the plate to the stomach. Don’t just take in the food, take in the entire eating process and enjoy it, slowly, leisurely.

You can become better at this by following some of the following steps:

* Sit in a clutter-free dining area, whether it is at the dining table or on the floor. Avoid the bed or the couch while eating.
* Try to close your eyes and visualize the food on your plate before you start eating. In our Indian culture, people close their eyes and say a silent prayer and express their gratitude. The attitude of gratitude is a key ingredient to our happiness; besides, this entire process of calming our mind and visualizing the food stimulates our brain to prepare for the digestion process!
* Turn off the television, keep the reading material and mobile phones away. Whatsapp messages and Facebook can (and must) wait!
* Pause for a few seconds after each morsel/bite of food. Take smaller portions, chew well and eat slowly.
* For a sensuous, intimate and mindful connect with your food, eat with your hands, not the fork and spoon.

So, there you go. Mindful eating is not too difficult to practice, if you set your mind to it. Make a few simple changes to your eating routine and experience the true joy of eating. It’s an age-old wisdom that is rooted deep in Indian culture and philosophy, and let’s ensure we heed that wisdom to enjoy all its benefits!
Keep yourself happy by keeping yourself healthy. Let well-known Mumbai dietitian and fitness expert Munmun Ganeriwal design a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle transformation program that elevates your overall sense of well-being.

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Sushi sandwich goals

makes: 4prep: 30 mincooking: 30 minINGREDIENTS ONIGIRAZU* 4 nori sheets * about 4 cups of cooked sushi rice* * 1 avocado, sliced * 25 g / 1 oz baby spinach * red cabbage, shredded and pickled (optional, see below) * Sriracha or vegan mayo * TOFU KATSU VERSION * 2 x 200 g / 7 oz firm tofu, pressed** * tamari or soy sauce * 1 cup aquafaba (reduced so that it resembles an egg white) * 1-2 cups panko breadcrumbs (GF breadcrumbs for GF version) * all purpose flour or cornflour (for GF version) * 2 cups frying oil (for fried version only) * SWEET POTATO VERSION * 1 large sweet potato * 1 tbsp tamari (GF) or soy sauce * 1 tbsp maple syrup * 2 tsp neutral oil * 1 tsp toasted sesame oil * 2 tsp rice vinegar * QUICK PICKLED RED CABBAGE (optional) * a wedge of red cabbage, sliced thinly * ½ cup rice vinegar * 2 tbsp sugar or maple syrup * 1 tsp fine sea salt * 1 clove of garlic, crushed with the side of a knifeMETHOD 1. FILLINGS
TOFU KATSU VERSION 1. BAKED – Set the oven to 200° C / 390° F and line a baking tray with baking paper. Toast panko breadcrumbs in a small pan until golden (they will gain more colour in the oven). Cut each tofu block into two 50% thinner blocks. Sprinkle tofu with some soy sauce (or tamari) or you can season the flour with plenty of salt instead. Drag tofu in flour making sure that the entire surface area has been coated. Dip the tofu in the gelatinous aquafaba and finally drag it in the pre-toasted breadcrumbs. Brush a bit of oil on the baking paper underneath the tofu and bake for about 30 minutes (until crisp and dry) flipping the pieces to the other side half way through. 2. FRIED – Fill a small pot with 2 cups of frying oil and set on the stove. Cut each tofu block into two 50% thinner blocks. Sprinkle tofu with some soy sauce (or tamari) or you can season the flour with plenty of salt instead. Drag tofu in flour making sure that the entire surface area has been coated. Dip tofu in gelatinous aquafaba and finally drag it in breadcrumbs. Carefully lower the tofu, one piece at the time, into hot oil and let it fry for about 3 minutes on each side. Once ready, place fried tofu on a piece of kitchen towel to get rid of the excess oil. 3. You can also prepare tofu as in this recipe. 2. SWEET POTATO VERSION 1. BAKED – Set the oven to 220° C / 425° F and line a baking tray with baking paper. Mix all the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl. Cut the middle (widest) section of your sweet potato, peel it and slice into ½ cm / 0.2″ slices. Brush each slice with the marinade and place the slices on the prepared baking tray. Bake for about 20 min (until soft), flipping the slices to the other side halfway through. 2. You can also make sweet potato into a katsu like in this recipe. 3. ASSEMBLY 1. Cut a square of cling film slightly larger than your nori sheet. Place it on the table, place the nori sheet on top with the shiny side down and rotated 45° in relation to the cling film (SEE PHOTOS above). 2. Wet your hands (keep a small bowl of water handy to wet your hands) and grab a handful of rice. Place it in the middle of the sheet and using your hands form it into a compacted square (about 9 cm / 3.5 ” by 9 cm / 3.5 “). Try to make that layer as even and compacted as possible. Season well with salt. 3. Place remaining ingredients on top. For the tofu onigirazu, I put a layer of spinach, avocado slices, Sriracha and tofu katsu. For the sweet potato onigirazu, I used a layer of pickled cabbage, avocado slices, Sriracha and a sweet potato disc. At this point cover all the ingredients with another layer of compacted rice. I found it a bit tricky to get the rice packed tightly without squashing the ingredients underneath. My hack solution was to create that top layer of rice on a lightly oiled piece of aluminium foil, put this rice layer on the top of the stack and then peel the foil off at the end (see the video above). Otherwise you can get a special onigirazu mould that makes this easier, but I do not have one. 4. Once you are done with your stack, seal all four corners of the nori sheet on top of the filling. Fold the right corner over the stack, wet the end of the nori sheet with a wet finger and fold the left corner over the stack and ‘glue’ it to the right corner. Repeat the same thing with bottom and top corners until you get a small packet. 5. Finally gather all the cling film over the stack and tie on the top. Put something moderately heavy (like a breadboard) on the onigirazu and set it aside to let the seaweed soften a little. Cut in half with a sharp knife. 4. QUICK PICKLED RED CABBAGE (optional) 1. Place shredded cabbage in a sterilised, medium size jar. 2. Put the remaining ingredients and 120 ml / ½ cup water in a small pot. Bring to a gentle boil, over low heat. 3. Once they come to the boil (make sure the sugar has dissolved), pour the mixture over the cabbage and stir well. Make sure that the pickling liquid covers all of the cabbage. Set aside for 6-8 hours and consume. 5. NOTES *I’ve only made onigirazu with sushi rice, but I have made sushi with brown rice and red Thai rice before so if you are after a healthier option, try to use either of these instead.**To press the tofu, you either need a special tofu press or you can do it with a bunch of kitchen towels and a heavy weight. Wrap your tofu in a paper towel, place it on a plate and weigh it down with something heavy (like a can of coconut milk, for example). Once the paper towel becomes wet, change it for a new one. Repeat a few times until the paper towel stays almost dry. Pressed tofu is tastier as it absorbs flavours better.

Source: By @laurafruitfairy, lazy cat kitchen

Summer Rolls

You can use whatever fillings you like. We used carrot, cucumber, marinated tempeh, bell peppers, Thai basil and cilantro (coriander). The tempeh is marinated with soy sauce, fresh ginger, rice syrup, garlic powder and paprika powder; then fried in a little coconut oil. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Peanuts Sauce: 3 Tbs peanut butter⁣ 1 Tbs rice vinegar⁣ 1 Tbs rice syrup⁣ 1/2 tsp garlic powder⁣ ⁣ 1/2 tsp cayenne a teaspoon sized piece of ginger, chopped⁣ 1 Tbs soy sauce⁣ a handful of peanuts, chopped ⁣ water to mix⁣ ⁣⁣ Combine everything in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Add more water as needed. Serve with summer rolls.

Source: @laurafruitfairy

Crunchy potato wedges

Oil-free and perfectly seasoned with a cornmeal breading who wants some? ⁣ ⁣ Recipe: ⁣ 5-6 potatoes⁣ 3-4 tsp apple vinegar⁣ 2 tsp tamari or soy sauce⁣ 3 tsp tahini⁣ 4 tbsp corn semolina or cornflour⁣ Optional: 4 tbsp nutritional yeast⁣ ⁣ ⁣ How To 1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees top and bottom heat.⁣ 2. Scrub the potatoes well and cut them in Wedges.⁣ 3. Mix the above ingredients in a bowl except for the corn. Add potato wedges to the sauce and mix.⁣ 4. Put the corn semolina on a plate and roll the potatoes through it.⁣ 5. Place wedges on a baking tray covered with baking paper so they do not touch.⁣ 6. Bake for 30 minutes or until they are soft and golden brown.⁣ 7. Sprinkle warm potatoes with some sea salt and serve with mayonnaise or tahini sauce. ⁣ ⁣

Source: By @annelinawaller

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