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Sitting quietly before taking food has been practiced for centuries. Saying a short prayer or expressing gratitude is a powerful way to align yourself with the life giving energy of food and the source of that nourishment.

It is best to take time to shift your anger or negative moods before
eating

Good Mood = Better Digestion

While praying before a meal has often been part of religious practice, there are also health reasons for that practice of gratitude or silent connection. When we slow down before we eat, we allow ourselves to catch up for a moment. It allows us to shift from the activities of the day to a place of receptiveness. This receptivity allows us to “take in” all the nutrients and nourishment our food has to offer.

Eating when you’re stressed, upset, or angry can suppress digestion, causing fewer enzymes to be released while less hydrochloric acid is secreted to aid in the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Stomach acid is also what allows us to break down vitamins and minerals so they can be absorbed. If we eat while we are relaxed, our absorption and assimilation are maximized and we are less likely to experience gas, bloating, and even inflammation. It is best to take time to shift your anger or negative moods before eating.

Breathe Before You Chew

If we take a few slow, smooth deep breaths through the nose we begin to balance the nervous system and quiet the mind. This allows us to eat in a peaceful way that promotes good digestion and ultimately good health.

Mindful Eating

Growing food and even cooking for ourselves is a good way to reconnect with nature and rebalance our own health. If you are not able to grow or cook your own food, there is another way to establish that connection. It is through the practice of mindful eating. We can sit quietly with our food and give thanks to those who grew the food, harvested it, and brought it to us. Have you ever gone to someone’s house who has joyfully prepared food for you. There is something almost magical about how good that feels. That kind of joy and love can transform us.

Here’s a meditation to help you to reconnect to your food, nature and yourself:

When you sit down to eat, take a moment to close your eyes and imagine all the people involved in the food you are about to eat. Imagine the farmers who planted the seeds and nursed them along. Imagine the elements and how they supported this life as it grew. Expand your imagination to those who harvested the food and even become aware of those who may have transported it to you. Then imagine the person who cooked or prepared this precious food for you. Send the energy of gratitude to each and every one who was involved.

Now begin to connect to yourself and the breath as it enters and leaves the body. Make a transition from all the duties and responsibilities of the day. Relax deeply using the breath to let go of any tensions. Set everything else aside for this sacred experience of taking nourishment. As you eat, you can use the practice of mindful eating to continue this sense of connection and gratitude. 

May your heart be filled with joy, gratitude and peace as you eat.

Are there ways that you create a peaceful environment when you eat?

 

 

Contributed by

Susi Amendola
Stress Management Specialist

What have you done to remind yourself of the things that have meaning for you?

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