Happy Hanuukah! As latkes and lights illuminate, I admittedly find myself a little verklempt with the many indulgences that are so readily available this time of year. I’ve found that with just a few simple reminders, there are ways to bring ourselves into the present moment and ultimately authentically enjoy ourselves without the guilt and frenzy. And so as holiday soirees and togetherness kicks into full gear, here are some of my favorite tips to eating mindfully this holiday season.
1. Engage your senses: Before taking part in either a meal, walking into a cocktail party, or even snacking on hors d’œuvres, just take a moment to pause and check in with each of your senses. What are you hearing in this moment? What are you feeling in this moment? What do you taste in this moment? What do you smell in this moment? Simply by checking in, you will be in a more relaxed state where you will be able to enjoy where you are in the given moment.
2. Give some gratitude and think beyond the plate: Before you are about to take a bite or sip of something, just take a moment to contemplate the many miracles that made it available to you in that moment. For example, let’s think of a glass of wine. It didn’t just appear, it has a whole history to it. A while ago someone planted a grape seed, it began to sprout and grew into a vine. There was soil, sun, and water. The vine grew and grew and ultimately sprouted fruit. There were humans that tended to the grape. The farmer who planted the seed, the person who picked the fruit, the truck driver whoe drove it to the store, all the people whose lives helped make this moment possible. You get the idea. Just try to take a moment to appreciate the deep connectedness to everything that is available for you so you can enjoy yourself in that moment.
3. Chew, chew, chew: I come from a family of food shovelers. We can take down a meal in 5 minutes flat. What I’ve learned by observing myself and others in my family, is that when we eat super fast, we forget to chew and as a result risk choking. So when I find myself with people outside my family that keep a more civilized eating pace (no judgement), I find really focusing on chewing helps me to slow down. It helps to think of chewing an extra 5 bites before you think you are ready swallow. What you’ll discover is there is always opportunity to refine the art of chewing.
4. Choose a food mantra: I know this sounds a little woo woo, but stay with me. Choose a kind phrase or word that you can use to infuse your eating experience. It could be love, peace, gratitude, or anything that feels nourishing and kind. Silently repeat the phrase or word with each bite. Over time, this will help keep us in the present moment while eating and ultimately enjoy our food even more. As a bonus, it will likely override feelings of guilt or judgement during moments when we choose to indulge.