• Michelle

Mindful eating

Within these uni classes I am doing there is a fair bit about mindful eating. The Monash University Food as Medicine course had a whole segment on mindful eating that was about being in the moment, savouring your food and really enhancing your enjoyment of eating. I have just started my second term, they call it a trimester at Torrens, and my two topics this term are Understanding Health and Human Nutrition 1.

Understanding Health, well, I thought that would be about this is how our bodies function and this is how we keep them healthy. It isn’t. So far it seems to be about the concept of health as a whole entity, the health care system in Australia and around the world and how people can fall through the cracks. My poor soft heart is already wobbly from the first lot of reading so please excuse me if I do not wish to talk about that.

Human Nutrition 1 though, well, that is a whole nother thing. I have only just started the topic and already I am a fish on a hook. Since starting my reading last night (quite late, was a long pie day in the Cookie House), I have been turning things over in my mind, masticating the information slowly, like a cow, and I think that a lot of it comes down to common sense and mindful eating.

One of the things that jumped out at me was the understanding that every time we put something in our mouth we are making a choice to influence our health, either for better or worse. Just a smidge, just a tiny bit. If you have eaten 20,000 meals in your life time, one green Aero bar while you are reading your first module of Human Nutrition 1 is not going to hurt you. But....think about this, if we make just one negative food choice every day, that is going to accumulate over time to be detrimental to our health. Over a year that is 365 bad choices, over ten years that is 3650 bad choices, and that doesn’t even count leap years! Now I am not advocating that we all be squeaky clean all the time, I think about what my Mum would say about that, probably that we might not live any longer but that it sure will feel like it! I think that one of the biggest problems that we face in modern society is that we have lost the concept of the treat.

A green Aero bar is a treat, that does not mean I can have a Twix or a Kit Kat the next day, and the day after, and the day after. Take away for dinner is a treat, but should not be a common thing. One of the things I read last night was that on average we spend half of our food budget on convenience foods. Foods that take minimal or no preparation. At first I said, NO! But then I thought, well, probably, many of us do.

We have spoken about food audits on this blog before and they are a great way to check what we have had each day, but an advanced audit is not a bad thing to do either. I went to do a little shopping after my physio appointment today and I carried into the shop that feeling of mindfulness. What am I going to eat in the next three days that is going to contribute in a positive way to my health? I bought two scotch fillets, a bag of red potatoes and a great pile of veg plus a bunch of water cress and coriander. This awareness that every meal is either contributing to or detracting from my health over the course of my lifespan is not something that has ever occurred to me and it is powerful. Even to me, who, as you have probably figured out by now, has a bit of an obsession with food and nutrition.

So for me, this is what I took away from my readings last night, a treat is okay, as long as it is an occasional thing, and every single thing we put in our mouth impacts on our health in a positive or negative way. Something to think about.


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