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Try an Experiment in Mindful Eating

To get a feel for how mindful eating can enhance your eating experience, try this sequence the next time you’re ready to sit down to eat something that you love. Cheese ravioli is used for this example:

  1. Before you do anything else, stop and be grateful for what you have and for what you’re about to do.

  2. Cut into a piece of the ravioli with a fork.

    Before you put anything in your mouth, notice what cutting perfectly cooked cheese ravioli feels like. Tune in to the texture of the pasta, observe and appreciate the cheese inside, and marvel at the bright color of the sauce in the bowl. Savor the aroma in the rising steam.

  3. Place a forkful in your mouth. Feel the heat and the response that your mouth has.

  4. Now comes the hard part — put the fork down.

    This is more challenging than you may think because that first bite feels and tastes so good, and the rest of the bowl is beckoning. You’re hungry, after all! This experiment in eating, however, involves looking past the instinctive urge to plow into the rest of the bowl like a starving dog. Leave your fork on the table.

  5. Chew slowly. No talking.

    Savor the texture of the pasta in your mouth and the contrast in flavors among the cheese, pasta, and sauce. How sweet, tart, or acidic is the sauce? Where do you feel it on your tongue? What are the sides of your mouth doing as you chew?

  6. When you’ve chewed thoroughly and taken in all the new sensations you can for now, go ahead and swallow your first bite.

    What does it feel like as it passes through your throat? What happens in your stomach?

  7. When you’re done noticing, pick up your fork and cut another bite.

    Continue this way throughout the course of the meal and you’ll experience the third eye–opening pleasures of the practice of mindful eating.

The concept of mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist teachings. Many Buddhist teachers encourage their students to meditate with food because it’s an easy way to practice every day. Paying close attention to the sensation and purpose of each morsel expands your consciousness and appreciation. If you enjoyed this mindfulness experience with food, try practicing more mindful awareness during a walk after dinner!

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