Feeling Groovy

We’ve all had those moments - mid-day, computer in front of us, gobbling lunch down and not noticing what we are even eating, let alone how much. Or, rushing through breakfast or dinner to get to the next event. We can become used to the feelings of discomfort - feeling stuffed, or still hungry, or experiencing bloating and discomfort in the abdomen. In this way, our meals don’t seem to be granting us any good. 

Food - too easily - gets relegated to the utilitarian. Instead of eating for enjoyment, we eat for fuel and nutrients. Nourishing ourselves - luckily - offers endless opportunities to change our relationship with food. A plate of spaghetti bolognese could be fuel today and, tomorrow could be an experience of love. 


The mind-gut connection

For a variety of reasons it would do us all well to value our food and separate eating from other activities, in addition on a distinct physiological level, mindfulness while eating improves health and wellness.


There is a super highway of nerves and hormones that communicates hunger, digestion and satisfaction. The state of our minds reflects the state of our stomachs and impacts how well we digest, how nourished we feel and how well we eliminate. The less aware we are of our eating process, the less benefit we get from our meals. 


The digestive process takes ~20 minutes to register the food we have eaten. Only then it signals to us that we’ve had enough. If we front load our mealtime by eating quickly we can end up regularly overeating or feeling digestive distress from our digestive process being rushed. Not only do we not get benefit from our meals, we can end up inadvertently harming our health. Awareness of what we are eating, the smell and taste of our food and noticing how we feel while are eating can markedly improve our digestive experience. 

We do not need to our meals to achieve 20 minute marks to experience a change in digestion. It serves us to know our physiology so we can think differently about how we eat. Small steps do not go unnoticed by the body. Incremental changes in timing and awareness will be appreciated.

It is not easy to change our eating habits. The context in which we learned to eat began at a very young age. Mix personal history into career expectations, work/life/family time constraints, sedentary shifts in the nature of work, smartphones that fill downtime; and our mind-gut connection becomes fraught. Outside of daily activities, food is part of our socializing world - we talk, laugh, argue, and cry while we dine. The community connection to food is enriching and satiating to our lives - and if we can experience our eating with awareness, then the socializing becomes an enhancement, not a distraction to our digestion.

I’ll offer the lesson from Simon & Garfunkel to remind us how to approach our meal times.

Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last.” 


Mindful Spoonfuls. 

While eating mindfully for an entire meal at every meal may be in a distant future, the near possible is to choose to eat ONE spoonful at any point in the day with a structured awareness. 

At any point, in any day as you pick up your fork or spoon - just once -

Look at your spoon and what’s on it.

Take one deep long breath in. Then take one slow, long breath out.


Next, Bring the spoonful to your nose. 

Take one deep long breath in. Then take one slow, long breath out.


Next, Put the spoonful and its contents in your mouth.

Take one deep long breath in. Then take one slow, long breath out.



Take one deep long breath in. Then take one slow, long breath out.



Take one deep long breath in. Then take one slow, long breath out.


That whole sequence, just once. Once in a while. Aim for once a day, or once a week. 


That’s how simple it is. 


Here are two key things to remember:

You cannot do this wrong. You are practicing. You are shedding light on your own awareness no matter the outcome. Whether you stop halfway with boredom, or fall into the zone with the smell of the strawberry, you are practicing awareness.


You cannot “forget” to do this, since it is an action you choose when it comes to mind, you are always remembering! The goal is to have it come to mind more often.


Wouldn’t it be nice if each meal eventually left you feeling groovy?