Be A Gourmet: A Practice in Mindful Eating

Gourmet vs. gourmand. Both are true food lovers.  A gourmet is someone who appreciates the flavors and beauty of great food.  He tends to have a more highly trained ability to taste, identify flavors, notice uniqueness, and seek out quality food to savor.  A gourmand, on the other hand, is all about the quantity.  Both love to eat, but the gourmand wants LOTS and LOTS while the gourmet wants QUALITY.

We can learn a lot about mindful eating from the gourmet.  She knows how to really be aware and truly enjoy and appreciate the food she eats. 

Try increasing your mindful eating by being a gourmet this week:

  • Sit down when you choose to eat this week---you're worth it! 
  • Notice the colors of your food. Does it make you feel good just to look at it, or not so much?  
  • Smell your food.  What fragrances do you detect?  What does it remind you of?
  • Take a bite and take note of the temperature.  Is it cold or hot? Warm or cool? 
  • Texture.  Is it creamy, crystalline, chunky, rough... Describe what it feels like in your mouth.
  • Chew and taste.  Sweet, sour, spicy, bitter...what does it actually taste like?
  • Critique.  Do you like it?  Does it make your mouth happy, your body happy?  How would you rank it on a scale of 1 - 5 stars?  Be that restaurant critic!
The more mindful we are of our food, the more in tune we become with our ability to sense when we are physically hungry and full. We are all born with wonderful hunger/full control mechanisms in our brains that actually work. Over time, so many of us have learned to override this function.  We learn to eat for every other reason imaginable: emotions, stress, the clock, peer pressure, it looks good, it's ice cream time...need I go on?  And then, we don't know when to stop. Mindless eating is a problem when it becomes a habit and food choices are unhealthy and gourmand-like. End result: your health suffers.

I'm reading a wonderful book called, "Mindful Eating, A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food,"  by Jan Chozen Bays, MD (it's on My Favorites List.) She writes, "Mindfulness is deliberately paying attention, being fully aware of what is happening both inside yourself---in your body, heart, and mind---and outside yourself, in your environment.  Mindfulness is awareness without judgment or criticism." 

Be mindful this week, mindful of what your food really is like. Taste it.  Experience it.  
Be the Gourmet! Be Healthy!