Tag Archives: mindful eating

FAVES for Vibrant Health



I am participating in some local health fairs in the near future and have been thinking about a way to make a down and dirty guide for vibrant health that I could hand out.  I thought about the most important components of healthy living and then played with the wording until I came up with a catchy idea to share this information.  Now since I have absolutely no talent in the graphic arts department, I hired Casey at KCK Creative Market to make me this beautiful graphic.  I LOVE it and cannot wait to share it with all the health fair participants.  Here are my ideas about the most important components of vibrant health.

Focus on Healthy Fats:  Research has repeatedly demonstrated that fat is necessary to our health, particularly omega 3 fatty acids.  Omega -3′s are an essential fatty acid, meaning our body cannot produce them on its own.  These inflammation fighting fats must be obtained from our diet.  Two crucial ones, EPA and DHA, are primarily found in certain fish and pasture raised beef. ALA, another omega-3 fatty acid which can be converted to EPA and DHA in the body, is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds.  The benefits of omega-3s are well documented in the scientific literature.  Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet contains entirely too many Omega-6 fats from vegetable oils and processed foods.  We want to have a 1:1 balance of omega-3’s to omega-6’s.  Eating 2 deck of card sized servings of fatty fish like salmon, lake trout, herring or mackerel a week should give you all the omega-3’s you need.  Also, trans-fats like those found in processed foods should be avoided at all costs.

Avoid Processed Foods:   Processed foods include anything that comes in a package or has been altered from its natural state.  Processed foods often contain harmful chemicals our bodies don’t recognize,   rancid, inflammation producing vegetable oils and trans fats .  Read the labels on your food, if you see an ingredient you don’t recognize, return it to the store shelf.

Vegetables and Fruits:  Fill your plate with as many vibrantly hued fruits and vegetables as you can.  These nutritional powerhouses offer your body a host of benefits including cancer fighting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, fiber and a plethora of health promoting phytonutrients.  A good rule of thumb is to try to fill at least half of your plate with fruit and vegetables at each meal.  In particular, leafy greens pack a powerful nutritional punch.

Eat Mindfully:  Mindful eating is eating with attention to the food you are putting in your mouth.  It allows you to be fully present in the experience of eating.  It requires you to pay attention to the sight, sound, texture, flavors and taste of your food.  Put aside the phones, computers, newspapers and TV’s so you can listen to the cues your body is providing about satiety, making it more likely you will stop eating before you become over full.

Sit less:  Dr. Mike Lara asks his patients to think about sitting less instead of exercising more.  An important distinction because for many, the idea of exercise seems like a daunting task but most everyone can think about sitting less.  The trick is to avoid staying stationary for long periods of time.  Moving around activates the large muscle groups in your legs and back helping burn calories and keep blood sugar in balance.  Scientists are now recommending you try to stand up and move around every thirty minutes throughout the day.

What do you think makes for vibrant health?

Added to Live it Up blog hop.

Tiny Tip Tuesday: Eat with Attention

Photo by Tambako the Jaguar.

Photo by Tambako the Jaguar.

We have all had the experience of sitting down with a bowl of chips and salsa while watching the big game or sat down to eat breakfast with the morning paper only to look down a few minutes later and realize we have consumed the whole bowl of chips or eaten all of our breakfast with no memory of putting anything in our mouth.  Not only have we missed the pleasure of savoring the tasty food we have prepared for our self but we also run the risk of eating past the point of being full.  When we overstuff our stomachs, not only can it be extremely uncomfortable but it also makes it more difficult for our digestive system to function properly.

Mindful eating offers us a solution to this problem.  Mindful eating is eating with attention to what is going into your mouth.  It allows you to be fully present in the experience of eating.  It requires you to pay attention to the sight, sound, texture, flavors and taste of your food.  When you are eating mindfully, you can listen to the cues your body is providing about satiety, making it more likely you will stop eating before you become over full.

Here are a couple of tips to make it easier to start eating mindfully.

  1. Make sure you are actually hungry before you start to eat.  If you are only eating because you are bored or anxious then even if you fill yourself with a piece of delicious chocolate cake, you will still be bored or anxious when you finish.
  2. Choose food you are actually interested in eating.  If you are only eating something because it is “good” for you, it will be difficult for you to actually feel satisfied when you are finished.  This dissatisfaction could send you hunting in the fridge for something to fill you up.
  3. Create a pleasant environment for your meal.  Sit down at the table.  Don’t eat while driving or talking on the phone.  Choose a spot that is only for eating and have all of your meals in this space.
  4. Eat without distractions.  This means no reading the newspaper, watching tv or surfing the web.
  5. Take a few deep breaths before you start eating to center yourself and get focused on the meal.
  6. Allow yourself the luxury of time.  Put your fork down between bites and focus on chewing your food completely.  It takes about 20 minutes for your body to recognize satiety clues.
  7. Pay attention to your food.  Notice the taste, texture, smell  and appearance of every bite.
  8. Stop eating when you feel about 80% full.  Step away from the table as soon as you are done eating.
  9. Notice how you feel when you finish eating.  If you feel over full, don’t beat yourself up.  Remember you have another chance to make a different choice at your next meal.

For most of us, eating mindfully represents a shift in our relationship to food.  As with all new habits, eating with focus and attention will take some time to develop.  However, I am confident that if you keep working on this skill, you will notice a real change in your experience with food.

This post is part of The Party Bunch Linky party.

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