Last night we made a salad with fresh corn, tomatoes, avocados and feta – it was beyond delicious! What a gift the abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits are in the summer months! I’m reminded that this is a good time of year to initiate a practice of mindful eating. Why not give it a try at your next meal?
When you sit down with your food, first take a moment to gaze at your bowl or your plate. Examine what your food looks like. Notice the colors and the shapes, notice the portion size. Can you smell your food? What does it smell like? Do you have any associations or memories of the smell?
Note the anticipation you have of putting the food in your mouth, and any thoughts you may be having. Then slowly place a bite of food in your mouth, noticing the explosion of flavor, the sensation of the food in your mouth, on your tongue. Chew slowly, noting the change in the texture, flavor, and sensations. Notice the changes in your body as you swallow the food. Notice your thoughts.
As you take another bite, again notice the flavors. Pay attention to whether the flavors are bitter, sour, sweet, salty, mild, hot. If you are impatient, simply notice that and continue chewing and swallowing slowly and mindfully. After every bite or every few bites, pause, and put down your fork or spoon. Notice the sensations in your body and the thoughts in your mind.
As you continue to eat slowly, begin to focus on appreciating the many miracles that brought the food to your lips today. Give thanks for anyone (including yourself!) who prepared your meal. Be thankful all who work where the food was bought. The truck driver who brought the food there. The farmer who grew the food. All the people whose lives helped make this moment possible. Give thanks for the rain and the sun and the miracle of life present in each bite of your meal. And above all, give thanks to God who created us and gave us such abundance in creation, and gave us the wonderful gift of taste. When you come to the end of your meal, take a few mindful moments of silence before getting up. And then go about the rest of your day, reveling in the grace of summer abundance!