According to the Centre, mindful eating is:
– Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom
– Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body
– Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgment
– Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating
Here are my tips for eating mindfully today and every day! 1. Listen to your hunger cues. We’ve all turned to food when we were feeling stressed, bored, lonely or upset. Mindful eating encourages us to ask ourselves if we are truly hungry before we automatically reach for a snack or meal. 2. Listen to your fullness cues. My general rule of thumb is to eat until you’re about 80% full. What does 80% feel like? Well, you’re not stuffed and you don’t have to loosen your belt. But at the same time, you’re not hungry anymore. 3. Eat with all of your senses. Can you taste the natural sweetness of those roasted carrots, or the hint of ginger in the butternut squash soup? Savour the flavours, colours, sounds and textures of every meal. 4. Plate it. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl, even if it’s two cookies or a handful of grapes. That way, you’ll have a good sense of your portions which is tricky to do if you’re eating straight out of the cookie bag. 5. Take your time and enjoy! Eating is one of life’s greatest joys, so don’t rush it. Sit down, relax and enjoy each bite!
Feeling sleepy after your Thanksgiving meal? Don’t blame it all on the turkey.
Like all protein-containing foods, turkey is made up of amino acids. The amino acid of particular interest in turkey is called tryptophan. Tryptophan is a component of serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that helps us feel calm and relaxed. Serotonin is also used to make the sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin.
As we digest foods containing protein, the amino acids enter the bloodstream and make their way over to the brain. The problem is that tryptophan is a big, bulky amino acid. So it has to compete with other amino acids to get into the brain. Imagine this as a long lineup of people waiting to get into a concert.
Enter carbs. The carbs you eat from the stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and other typical Thanksgiving fare stuffing actually triggers the release of insulin. This action removes most of the amino acids from our bloodstream, but not the tryptophan. It’s as if all of the people in line for that concert have been pulled away, except for tryptophan. This of course makes it easier for tryptophan to enter the brain and start it’s effect on serotonin and melatonin to create that sleepy effect.
So if you’d like to avoid the ZZZ’s after your Thanksgiving meal, try to ease up on the servings of carbs on your dinner plate. It doesn’t hurt to go easy on the alcohol too. Otherwise, grab a pillow for a Thanksgiving ticket to nap land!