When you hear Mindful Eating what do you picture? A group of monks contemplating the grains of rice in front of them? Of course, it is not the other extreme of driving, yelling (in love) at your kids in the back seat to quit fighting, while eating the burger you picked up in the drive-thru.
Mindful Eating is not about having candlelight at every meal - but it is about the emotional environment you create.
Let’s go back to your high school biology class. (I know: moan, groan.) Remember the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems? Only one of these systems can be dominant at a time. When you are agitated, excited, upset, in crisis, angry, or stressed the sympathetic nervous system is kicking into gear. This means that the parasympathetic system is not able to function well. You may recall that the parasympathetic system controls your digestive system.
Uh, oh. We have a situation. The exciting movie you are watching with dinner, the argument you just had with your teenager, the mulling over what your co-worker did, the worrying about whether someone accepts you, or the report that is due at work tomorrow each keep you from digesting your food well. Even just looking at the picture above probably tenses your stomach.
Living in peace and joy is important anytime, but especially at mealtime! God wants you to be healthy. He knows that for you to digest your food well, which allows you to absorb the nutrients to “renew your youth,” you need to be joyful and peaceful when you eat.
This also includes allowing God to be the emotional lift that you need. Many of us (especially those of us who were chronic dieters) have trained ourselves to dull (or distract) negative emotions through eating. When you are angry or sad or bored, before you open the pantry out of habit, tell God what you are feeling. Ask Him to show you how to process your emotions. God will give you strength to tolerate the discomfort until it naturally passes, which it often does. He will give you wisdom to change the thoughts causing the emotions. He will show you answers to stressful situations. God will heal your heartache.