The Mindful Meal Challenge

Updated: Apr 1, 2018

Too many of us claim to love food yet we never take the time to savor and enjoy it much less those who share our meals.

Most people are amazed to discover the changes that can be inspired simply by slowing down and experiencing their meals. Eating hygiene has an immediate and direct impact on digestion. The Mindful Meal levels up eating hygiene to enhance not only your digestion but your experience.

I was first offered this assignment during a 12-week yoga intensive, where we were required to practice a Mindful Meal at least once per day. I got so hung up on rule #11. No talking with food in your mouth, that I actually cheated for a while and practiced my Mindful Meal only when I was eating alone. When I decided to double down my efforts and practice again in community, I quickly recognized that when I was not talking with my mouth full I also was not talking over or interrupting others. Chewing my food gave others the space to talk and me the opportunity to listen and connect. I know of a doctor who used to eat McDonalds in his car quickly between appointments. Within a few days of practicing the Mindful Meal, he realized that when he had to slow down and experience his food he did not really like how it tasted. Many experience a reduction in reflux, heartburn, stomach upset, belching, etc. Still others find these meals help them connect more deeply with themselves and with others.

The challenge should you choose to accept it is to practice a Mindful Meal at least once per day for four weeks. Spend some time each day journaling about your experience. What was your experience of your food? What was your experience of your company? How did you feel (emotionally and physically) during / after your meal? Are you experiencing any changes? Did anything stand out to you?

The rules are simple (but maybe not easy)

1) Take 5 deep diaphragmatic breaths
2) Offer gratitude, prayer or appreciation to those you are eating with.
3) Mentally set an intention to experience your meal (Be careful not to set an expectation)
4) Fill your plate with the equivalent of two hand/fistfuls of food.
5) Take in your food with your senses. (Sight and smell)
6) Take a bite. Placing down your fork or food (if handheld) after each bite.
7) Chew your food at least 20 times.
8) Pick up your fork only after you have swallowed
9) If you finish and believe you are still hungry WAIT at least 5 minutes before getting more.
10) Take the equivalent of one hand/fistful.
11) No talking with food in your mouth but do take time to talk to those you are eating with.
12) Sip (do not gulp) liquids.

I would love to know how your challenge went. Did you find it difficult? What might you add or change? What new AWEsome did you discover?

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