Bringing Mindfulness into Your Meals (Guest Blog)Posted: August 31, 2016 | Author: jhansbrough
About our Guest Blogger:
Laura Andromalos, MS, RD, LDN, has been helping people achieve healthy weights for 7 years. She lives in Boston with her husband, Mike, and works as the Bariatric Nutrition Manager at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She studied Nutrition Science at Cornell University, received a Master's degree in Health Communication from Boston University, and completed her dietetic internship at Mayo Clinic Florida. She enjoys breaking down the research studies behind news headlines to help people understand what really matters in nutrition and health.Her website is http://www.lauraandromalos.com/.
Our Guest Blogger: Laura Andromalos
I had the pleasure of meeting Father Leo when I was visiting Baltimore for a nutrition conference a couple months ago. I snuck away from the conference for Sunday morning Mass and happened to walk to the same church where Father Leo was serving as a guest presider for the day. When he told us about Grace Before Meals, my mind started churning with ideas of how I could support his mission. After Mass, we exchanged contact information and here I am today, thankful to share some health tips for your meals.
I have been a Registered Dietitian for 7 years and I have focused my career on helping people to achieve and maintain healthy weights. I have worked with many people who have been successful over the years and they all have one thing in common: they are willing to make tweaks to their lifestyle (sometimes a few, sometimes several) that they can commit to for life.
Ever eat out of boredom or for emotions? You don't have to and shouldn't.
Mindful eating is one of the keys to healthful eating. Mindful eating means eating with purpose and awareness. We can think of the opposite of mindful eating as mindless eating. Some examples of mindless eating are nibbling between meals when not hungry, eating for emotions or boredom, finishing the food on your plate because it’s there (not because your body needs it), or munching on snacks while watching television. Mindless eating often leads to extra calories which can lead to weight gain. When we eat mindlessly, we are not eating for the purpose of nurturing our bodies and we are not fully aware of why we are eating or how much we are eating.
One way to bring purpose and awareness to eating is to add a simple sentence into your pre-meal prayer. Maybe “Let us eat with mindfulness and thankfulness” or “Let us appreciate each bite of food at this meal”. If you sometimes eat without praying, whether it is a full meal or a snack between meals, adding a prayer can help you to achieve two things: you can thank God for the gift of food and you can pray for mindfulness to truly appreciate your meal.
Being mindful about what we eat can make a major difference in our health and even appreciation for God's providence.
Becoming more mindful with eating can help you tune into what your body really needs. Instead of eating due to anxiety, boredom, or sadness, you’ll learn that you need to seek support from family or friends because eating doesn’t actually solve those problems. At meals, you might find that you feel fuller sooner than you did before and that you don’t need to finish all of the food on your plate to be satisfied. When watching television, you’ll find that you can enjoy a show without snacking and that you can better appreciate your food when you are not distracted.
As with any new habit, it takes time for it to feel normal. Maybe you start with one mindful meal per day or per week and build on from there. You might lose mindfulness midway through your meal but it will become easier with practice. Plus, just thinking about mindfulness, even if you’re not being mindful yet, is an improvement from mindless eating. With time, mindful eating can become a routine, just like saying grace before meals.
Click the image for Laura's recipe for Black Bean Feta Tacos.
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