3 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating & Drinking
Part of living a more mindful life is becoming aware of what you put into your body as fuel, namely food and water. Since we typically eat three to six times per day, this increased awareness and focus allows us to consciously practice coming back to the present moment every few hours. Here are three areas that you can bring your attention to throughout the day, wherever you are.
Reminder: Mindfulness is simply the state of being conscious or aware of something.
1. Find out where your water comes from
Do you know where your water source is at home and at work? You can contact your local municipality to find out. Since tap water in North America is predominately safe, we highly encourage using refillable water bottles, but if you do use bottled water, do you know where that comes from? This might be harder to investigate, but with awareness can come conscious choice.
It is fun to explain to guests that visit Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise that all of our drinking and bathing water comes straight from Lake Louise year round. Victoria Glacier and other glaciers in the area slowly melt and provide a constant source of fresh, glacial water. We have a state-of-the-art water treatment plant at the hotel and work closely with Parks Canada on our collection and conservation processes. If you visit Lake Louise, you are literally using the lake to fuel you and we can assure you, the taste is unbeatable!
2. Express gratitude for the food you enjoy
Most of us aren’t producing the food that we eat daily. It has probably traveled by rail, ship or truck to reach your grocery store. It might have been planted and cared for by your neighbors or by people in another country. If we choose the convenient, processed items in the store, there is a team that created the recipe and the people that work in the production facility. At The Chateau, there are the people that work in our local store, stocking the shelves and scanning our items. For all of the meals that you haven’t prepared yourself, there were people that shopped, diced and cooked what you enjoyed. By thinking of all the people that have helped bring food to our table, we can give thanks for their hard work that allows us to fuel our bodies.
Every item we consume had to grow somewhere. The sun, rain and wind were key components in the growing process. A vegan diet has a variety of health benefits, but it isn’t always a viable option to maintain. If we choose to consume animal products, we can take a moment to express gratitude for their life force that provides nutrients to our bodies. The chicken that laid the eggs or the cow that provided the milk for our cheeses are important components to recognize and be aware of.
By taking a moment before eating to become fully aware of what is on our plate, we can see all of the intricate pieces that went into bringing us the bounty. This awareness brings an automatic sense of gratitude and proven health benefits into all areas of our life.
3. Check in with your body as you eat
Using the moment of reflection to express gratitude for what is in front of us also allows for us to do a simple body scan. We know that food is fuel and that it can have different effects on our body. Think of the different affects you experience after savoring of a cup of coffee or a turkey dinner. Take a moment to notice your mood, rate your hunger level on a scale of 1-5 and notice how your body feels inside. This may be hard to do at first as many of us aren’t used to really paying attention to our physical state of being.
After a few bites, notice any changes. Do you like the taste of the food in front of you? Are you really hungry? Does your stomach feel the same as before eating? If you notice any discomfort on a consistent basis, it might be worth investigating any food sensitivities that you may have. An increasing number of people are becoming aware of sensitivities that are causing them discomfort, but the first step to identification is noticing the changes in your body as you eat different foods.
Slowing your pace of eating brings more awareness to the present moment and is beneficial on a variety of levels. Putting your knife and fork down between bites or not multitasking while eating will allow you the opportunity to enjoy the flavors in your mouth and pay attention to how your body feels as it fills up on the fuel of your choice.
We wish you each all the best in 2018!