Six Unusual Meditations for a Mindful Meal

Eating is too automatic. These challenges should spice things up.

Choosing good food, preparing it with intention, and sharing it with loved ones provides a nourishment that goes beyond ingredients. But being mindful about what you’re eating goes beyond preparation, goes beyond even the meal itself. It’s as much how you eat your food as what you’re eating. Changing the way you eat—even just once—can help you to appreciate and be grateful about the act of eating. Here are some meal meditations worth a go:

Chew, Chew, Chew (x 32)

Once food gets into your mouth, do you just gulp it down? Chewing more can help aid digestion, control calorie intake, and boost nutrient absorption. A good place to start might be 32 chews per bite—one per tooth–as espoused by form British Prime Minister William Gladstone (though make sure not to take it too far). Even the simple practice of counting your chews before swallowing will really slow you down and get you thinking.

Eat Blindfolded

This is such a powerful exercise that even some restaurants have caught on. Food isn’t a sensual experience limited to taste: The way we hold our utensils, the feel of the table, the sounds of other diners, and, of course, the smell of the food all influences the way we eat. When you can’t see other diners around you, you experience the food in primal, basic way that allows for new sensations—and tastes!—to come to the fore that you may never have noticed with sight.

Eat With Your Hands

While in many cultures eating with your hands is considered rude, in others it’s required practice. Allowing the tactile sensations of your food to influence your experience with it can help you feel closer to the food you’re eating—literally. Savor each messy bite and allow yourself to get a little dirty.

Picture Where Your Food Came From

As you chew, imagine the field where that kale took in its first ray of light. Place yourself deep in rain-drenched forests where that banana was born. This is a particularly challenging and meditative practice if you’re eating meat—don’t hesitate to give thanks to the animal who is now fueling your day or night. Hold in your mouth the entire journey of the food: from farm to table, without skipping steps in between.

Go Non-Dominant

Getting food from plate to mouth is so easy, we can just shovel it in without a second thought. Try using your non-dominant hand and notice how that step in the process starts to stand out!

Switch it Up

If you’re the type of person who eats all of one thing on her plate before moving on to the next dish, or vice versa, the type of person who portions each bite so that there’s an equal amount of everything at the same time, pull a switcheroo! Food, and the way we consume it, reveals no small bit about our personalities and our psyches.

Try these while you eat to really dig deep into your meal, and learn something about yourself and your habits in the process.

Written by Lisette Cheresson for Luvo