Let’s be honest with ourselves. We want our cake, and we want to eat it too, with no strings attached and no regrets. However, it is almost impossible not to have regrets when it comes to food these days, especially with our society’s false sense of health and beauty.
We live in a country where food is plentiful, food is cheap and after processing, there is very little real food in a majority of the items sold on the store shelves. Food has sadly become a non-priority. Many of us rely on fast, cheap and easy to fill our tanks, and we do so without taking the time to sit back and actually enjoy what we are eating.
If we look at the definition of the word indulge in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it states that the act of indulging is to take unrestrained pleasure in. Since we are pleasure-seeking beings and food is necessary for our survival, wouldn’t it make sense to take pleasure in this required activity? In no way am I implying that we should eat cake every day as an act of indulgence, but what I am encouraging is taking the time to make all food pleasurable and enjoy life’s indulgences without guilt.
We need to slow down and spend more time with our food. When we make food a priority and not a happenstance, we begin to receive more from food than just simple nourishment. With a little planning and active participation, we can build on the foundation of a healthy diet by adding richness, aroma, color, flavor and texture, which all work in combination to increase the pleasure we get from our food.
A well-studied concept called “Mindful Eating” is a simple, yet powerful, tool to help each of us become more aware of the foods we choose and how we consume them. The awareness that mindful eating creates begins with acknowledging hunger, and then continues with the conscious act of choosing delicious and enjoyable foods, while understanding and accepting the nourishment they provide.
Finally, we must be able to recognize our satiety cues, which allow us to stop eating, and therefore reduces the feelings of guilt often associated with overeating.
When we become more mindful with our food and the action of eating, we begin to enjoy it much more. Since we are pleasure-seekers, allowing food to provide this for us can make even the simplest snack feel as if it were an indulgence.
I challenge you to cut back on mindless eating and increase mindfulness or awareness when it comes to food and eating. The next time you sit down for a meal, close your eyes for a minute and inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. What do you smell? Do you enjoy the aroma of your food? Open your eyes and take a look at your plate. Does the food look attractive? Are there a variety of colors and textures? Have a small bite, but don’t chew yet. Take the time to feel the food in your mouth. Does it feel good? Chew slowly. Does the food taste good? How do you feel?
Becoming a conscious consumer will bring more awareness to your body, mind and soul. Therefore, a simple act of indulgence becomes that much sweeter with much less guilt and regret. Ready, set, indulge.