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Mindless Eating - By Chris James

‘When walking, walk. When eating, eat.’ ~ Zen proverb

The average Westerner eats too much.  It’s a sad state of affairs, but most of our calories are derived from processed sugars, white flours, fried foods, saturated animal fats, sweet beverages, soda acid  bombs, commercial cereals, added sodium, added chemicals; in fact very little nutrition. While part of the problem is commercial advertising and the fast food industry as a whole, the main part of the problem is eating mindlessly. We do not eat because we are hungry as we used to, we eat out of habit.  We eat because we are stressed, we are tired, we are depressed, and when we are lonely. Food has becomes a substitute for love. Moreover we eat while we are watching television, while we are working sitting in front of the computer screen. We eat while talking with other people, while driving and on the move.  We do not know what we are eating, and we have lost our connection to our food.  We have become mindless eaters. And yet, the food we eat becomes who we are. Remember, it takes energy to grow and harvest and prepare and transport.  This in turn effects our long-term health; our wealth.

Practice 1:  Chocolate Meditation Take a single square of dark organic chocolate and put it in your mouth, but don’t chew and swallow it. Let it sit there, as you savour it, noticing its earthy notes, hints of citrus, richness of its texture as it melts in your mouth. You swallow it almost regretfully after letting it linger, fully appreciating its deliciousness.  As you allow the chocolate to melt and recede, give pause to think about the people who planted and grew the beans, who roasted and grinded them and hand-crafted them into this square of your happiness. The savouring of a square of dark chocolate is a great practice you can do once a day. I like to use tea too, because it is light.  You have to really pay attention to get the most out of it. When you savour a cube of chocolate, or tea, or a good meal, you slow down. You pay close attention.  The closer the attention, the more you’ll get out of your savouring. You don’t rush to the next thing, but stop and give some space to the activity. You aren’t worried about what you have to do later, you are fully in the present. Savouring food is just the start in fact: you can savour anything, and you should. It’s wonderful. And it changes everything.  

‘As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life.’ ~Buddha


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