Our 30-day mindful eating program enhances whole mind-body wellness by attuning our awareness to our food and how it nourishes us.
In yoga and Ayurveda, we’re taught to treat our body as a temple—and we're encouraged to apply the attention and mindfulness practices we cultivate on our mats to all facets of life. Too often though, these ever-evolving parts of our lives are exactly what distracts us from these efforts, especially when it comes to what we're putting into our bodies.
Now, more than ever, there’s a call to slow down, be more present, and pay more attention to what our minds and our bodies need. So we’ve partnered with ORGANIC INDIA USA to create this 30-day Eat Like a Yogi Challenge to help you bring awareness back to your meals to create the habit of incorporating mindful eating into your daily practice.
We’re challenging you to choose at least one meal a day that you commit to eating mindfully for 30 days. Like yoga, healthy eating habits are formed by intention and practice over time. Every day we'll provide a mindfulness technique for you to use that day to help you eat your meal mindfully.
Week 1: Set the Foundation
When beginning a new practice, it’s always important to establish a solid base to build on. Here are 7 tips for practicing mindful eating:
- Eat in a calm atmosphere
- Avoid eating when upset or angry
- Always eat sitting down
- Eat only when hungry
- Eat at a moderate pace
- Chew your food thoroughly
- Don't talk while chewing your food
See also 14 Ways to Practice Mindful Eating
Digestion is the foundation of all health, simply because it is the first function of the body that relates to all other functions. In Ayurveda, “eating is both a biological and a sacred act, in which life is sacrificed in order to perpetuate life. In this system of eating, digestion, and metabolizing we either create health or disease, depending on our food choices, the herbs we consume, our state of mind and spirit, and the function of the digestive system. This is why learning how to improve digestion is important because good digestion can have numerous benefits for the body”. Believe it or not, a simple way to improve digestion is gratitude!
Take a moment to contemplate how your food came to be in front of you. Think about sourcing and preparation. Where did it come from? How was it delivered? Who prepared it? What did it take for it to arrive, as it is, on your plate?
Take a moment to be grateful for your meal, for the work that went into it, for the work it does to nourish your mind and body. Gratitude shifts our perspective. This shift from focusing on what's wrong and/or bad about something to what's good about it calms us, shutting off our body's stress response that results from negative thinking. Gratitude allows us to experience feelings of safety which improves digestion.
Week 2: Do a Digestion Assessment
To really be mindful of our eating habits, we need to assess how our bodies digest the foods we consume. Our partner, ORGANIC INDIA USA believes in the value of Ayurvedic wisdom when it comes to enhancing overall wellbeing through improving digestion with mindful eating. "Our bodies are an integral part of the beautiful intelligence of nature, but when we eat substances that are unnatural (processed foods, refined sugars, altered fats, junk food, and so on), the digestive system is compromised in various ways. Everything that we eat affects the mind, body, emotions, and spirit; it can be no other way.”
For more Ayurvedic Insight into the importance of improving and maintaining gut health, click here.
According to Ayurvedic practitioner, Doug Hyde, “spending one week tuning in to your body and discovering the ‘healthy’ foods that aren’t great for you will set you up for success”.
To figure out which foods effectively nourish your body, and which might be adding to feelings of physical and mental discomfort, keep a food journal and dedicate some time each day to assessing your digestion. As you add mindful eating practices each week, remember to include the teachings covered so far.
Every day this week, keep track of the following:
Nutrition. What did you eat? What was your hunger level before each meal? How did you feel 15 minutes afterward
Ideally, you should feel hungry, but not famished, before meals (serious hunger pangs mean you’re waiting too long to eat and are more likely to overeat or make unhealthy choices). You should feel energized within 15 minutes of finishing. Feeling like you need a nap post-meal is a sign you’re not getting the nutrients or calories you need.
Hydration. How much did you drink, and how thirsty (or not) did
You should aim to never feel parched and should be drinking enough to urinate 4–8 times a day. Your urine should be straw-colored—not clear (which can actually mean you’re over-hydrating, and your body isn’t absorbing the water you drink) and not too dark (which can signal dehydration).
Elimination. How often did you pass stool and sweat?
Notice which foods you can eat every day without digestive issues. These are your power foods that can be incorporated into your diet as often as you like. As for foods that makes you feel sluggish, bloated, constipated, or just generally zapped? Steer clear to repair your gut, lose bloat and excess weight, and feel better. We know avoiding these foods is easier said than done. If you find yourself struggling, it doesn't hurt to use supplements that promote good gut health. Just make sure that you’re choosing wisely – avoid unnecessary additives, artificial colors, and preservatives that could derail your efforts.
Try Psyllium Pre & Probiotic Fiber from ORGANIC INDIA
Week 3: Mix it Up
Now that you’ve assessed your digestion and have a better understanding of the way your body is processing meals; we want to make sure mindful eating doesn’t start to feel like a chore. To keep things interesting, mix it up by adding new flavors and ingredients to your diet this week with any of these healthy recipes from ORGANIC INDIA:
- Apple Pie Overnight Oats
- Herbed Flatbread with Pesto and Roasted Veggies
- Back to School Snickerdoodles: Vegan and Gluten-Free
- Gluten-free Vegan Cornbread
This week, as you try new things, pay special attention to how your senses interact with food.
Smell: Before taking your first bite notice how your food smells. As you inhale notice how the smell makes your body feel? Continue to smell the food as you consume it. Did you notice a difference in how much you enjoyed your meal? Did you feel more satiated at the end of your meal?
Sight: Take a moment to really look at your food. Take note of the details — the textures, colors, shapes of your food.
Sound: Notice how your food sounds. How does it sound leaving your plate? How does it sound when it touches your mouth? When you bite down? When chew it?
Touch: From the moment you begin preparing it to when the last bite leaves your plate, pay attention to how your food feels. What does it feel like in your hands? When you cut into it? What does the texture feel like on your tongue, your lips, your teeth? How does it feel when you swallow? How does your body feel after?
Taste: Really Taste your food. Taste all the individual flavors and ingredients — taste each of the combinations that come together to nourish you.
Week 4: Enjoy the Slow
Embrace the process, time, and dedication that is required for this practice the same way you embrace breath and stillness in yoga. Mindful eating challenges us to slow down and fully experience our food and the benefits it has on our bodies, and to be grateful for the nourishment available to us.
This week we challenge you to integrate meditation into our mindful eating practice, which aids not just the digestion process, but our ability to make good choices when it comes to our health.
Try this guided meditation from Jamie Zimmerman, to learn how to better manage food cravings with awareness and intention so you can build healthy eating habits through continuing to successfully incorporate mindful eating into your daily practice.
EAT A YOGI CHALLENGE SWEEPSTAKES
As a thank you, three participants will win a prize box with all three varieties of ORGANIC INDIA Psyllium Pre & Probiotic Fiber along with our psyllium e-book filled with recipes to inspire the continued practice of eating like a yogi.
About ORGANIC INDIA
With a mission to be a trusted and innovative global leader in providing organic products and true wellness solutions for healthy conscious living, ORGANIC INDIA offers a full line of teas & infusions and whole-herb supplements that are USDA Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified and certified Kosher. ORGANIC INDIA goes above and beyond sustainable – regenerating environmental, community and business ecosystems. All ORGANIC INDIA products are ethically sourced and sustainably cultivated by 3,000 small family farm partners in India. ORGANIC INDIA, a certified B Corp, was named a 2018 “Best for the World Overall” Honoree. ORGANIC INDIA is a “Best for Colorado” honoree in the Environment category, awarded by the Alliance Center, a B Lab partner.
For more information, visit OrganicIndiaUSA.com or find them on social @organicindiausa