In a couple weeks, here in the U.S., it will we will be time for the Fall Harvest Feast. A holiday that brings people together to share a meal, laugh, and reconnect with loved ones. It’s also a time to recognize and be grateful for all the gifts we have in our lives. While it can be a joyous day, it can also be one of overindulgence. A day in which we tend to please our emotions and often tune out the needs of our body. Transforming active, joyous energy to lethargy.
How do we walk away from the table feeling mentally and emotionally happy while our body still feels energetic? With room to digest the nourishment it just received.
One practice is connecting the mind and the emotions with the body through actively engaging the five senses. Using our senses to direct our mind and emotions towards love and appreciation. If we do this prior to taking the first bite, it can help bring us into the moment. Focusing our attention towards the gift of a meal and helping to prevent mindless eating.
The practice also helps prepares the body by releasing digestive juices prior to the first bite. Helping the nutrients from the joy of the day and our food digest, assimilate and absorb.
Here some tips on how to activate the sense of smell, sight, touch, sound, and taste to help bring us into the moment.
Smell: This is an easy one. You probably already practice this by recognizing how good the house smells after a day of cooking. Go deeper and see if you can smell the spices, compliment the chef, or tap into the memories that the aroma brings to the surface. Share your feelings with friends or keep this pleasure to yourself. However, you choose to practice, taking in and appreciating the aroma will begin to release the digestive enzymes. Prepping the body for the nourishment is about to receive.
Sight: Food is beautiful. Take a moment to appreciate it’s beauty through appreciating the array of colors, compliment the chef on how the table is arranged or the food is presented, and explore the various textures of each dish. Does it appear soft, wet, cold, warm, crispy, oily, water-y, etc.. All three help set your digestive track’s expectations—we all like to prepped and set-up for success, so does our body.
Touch: Feeling your food by eating a bite or 2 with your hands like, veggies, a piece of lettuce, or various appetizers is a great way for the body to feel food’s texture. Is it moist, dry, hard, soft, or oily? Now that you know how it feels, begin to visualize how the texture will feel to your internal body. If it’s fibrous, give it a few extra chews. Digestion begins with the mouth, it’s like a mini-stomach. The more we chew, the easier it is on our digestive track. Through touch, we now engage another sense and deepen our understanding of what our eyes see or our nose smells. Helping to broaden our sensorial vocabulary.
Taste: There’s something special about the first bite of a meal you may have waited an entire year to enjoy. It can bring up memories and feelings we had forgotten. Remind us of the joy certain flavors bring. Enjoy it and take your time. Compliment the chef and appreciate the time it took to make this fabulous meal. Really savor each bite. Remember how it felt in your hand, and how it will feel traveling from your mouth to your digestive track. Appreciate the results from the hours of preparation. These practices will help to slow down and prevent overeating.
Sound: Listen to the sounds around you—are they helping to release joyous hormones. Is your mind or emotions dictating your next bite or is it your body? Appease the mind and the emotions with the pleasurable sounds that are released engaging the sense of smell, sight, touch, and taste. It will help bring a sense of satisfaction and can allow you to distinguish between the mind’s sound versus the body’s sound. There is a difference. when you tune inwards. Often the sound of our mind leads us to eat more than our bodies can manage. Remember, the digestive tract works best when it is about 75% full. Give it the space it needs to digest and to allow for air to circulate. Helping process, assimilate and helping keep the digestive fire kindled.