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Why Enjoying Every Meal Benefits Both Your Body and Mind

Why Enjoying Every Meal Benefits Both Your Body and Mind

We don’t just eat to sustain ourselves anymore; instead, we eat for pleasure. It’s a custom—a lifestyle. We have become obsessed with food, but that obsession doesn’t have to be bound by fear or uncertainty. Every meal can be a celebration, ensuring the ultimate well-being of both mind and body.

There are a number of ways that we can enjoy a meal in order to benefit both physically and mentally.

1. DIY

We need to start growing and farming our own food and sharing it within our communities through growers’ markets, small businesses and bartering or exchange systems. Veg Exchange is a great example. It’s about reclaiming our access and ownership of food.

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We have become accustomed to relying on what is being sold to us by supermarket chains. We no longer eat seasonally, we have a saturation of processed, prepackaged and fast food at our disposal, and we are driven by fads, coercion through advertising and fear. Regaining control and self-determination of how we access food will not only give us a sense of responsibility and peace of mind; it is also an opportunity for exercise, getting out in the fresh air and clean eating.

2. Having a Relationship With Food

We must ignite our passion for creating and consuming a meal. Gardening is not only an incredibly satisfying hobby; it also has immense health benefits too, from stress relief to reducing the risk of stroke.

Cooking and creating a meal from scratch is an art form in itself, exemplified by our infatuation with celebrity chefs. It allows us to explore our creativity and nourishes our propensity to nurture. Tasting different food from exotic cheeses to hybrid vegetables can be a mind expanding adventure and can inspire us to travel or enhance a journey we have already embarked on. Cooking a meal for someone is the ultimate way to show our love.

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3. Eating Together

Sharing a meal with someone is an opportunity for socialization and human interaction. If we look to other cultures and how they share a meal we see that throughout human history globally, people make an occasion out of dining and similarly, special occasions are organized around the consumption and presentation of food.

The Chinese, for example have very specific customs associated with eating. From ambiance to seating arrangements, meal times are a way for the society to order itself and the various rituals and practices help to solidify the social fabric and the participants’ relationships. So too around the world, dining etiquette is important and should be observed.

Whether it’s eating with your hands or sitting on the floor, doing it with someone from another country can teach us so much about their culture. Observing our own rituals and formalities, depending on the context of the meal we are sharing can enhance our experience also. It may be a casual lunch in a cafe with a dear friend, a nervous first date in a fancy restaurant or a boisterous family meal; food brings us together.

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4. Mindfulness and Joy

Eating mindfully is essential to our health and well being. It’s not just about eating slowly and really tasting our food, although that’s a step in the right direction; it’s about really experiencing food. Touching it, smelling it, examining every aspect of it, taking the time to really be involved in the act of eating. Due to a fast paced lifestyle, we are often forced to eat on the run and many meals during the day can just become a reflex of just shoving something into our bodies to stave off hunger.

It’s important to make space in the day for eating. It doesn’t have to be an exaggerated effort. Just preparing a meal yourself, even if you take it with you to work and then going outside to consume it, or going to a specific place to eat out, exercising mindfulness becomes a habit and even just 15–20 minutes can feel like an hour. The aim is quality of time over quantity.

Look forward to eating and enjoying food. Eating with mindfulness and joy eliminates the stress and guilt we have come to associate with food. Learning to choose a healthy option, but allowing ourselves to indulge in moderation lets us have a balanced diet that we participate in with ease and simplicity. We can eat whatever we want, stop over or under eating and evoke happiness and satisfaction instantaneously. We can pamper ourselves with elaborate table settings or throw a rug on the ground under a tree in the park. Eating all of a sudden becomes a devotion.

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5. Baby Led Weaning

If we start the habit of appreciating and relishing food in infancy, it doesn’t seem so daunting as we get older. We see this example in the way Europeans enjoy food. The best selling book French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano became a revolution and epitomizes the philosophy of enjoying food as a lifestyle.

In the same way, the theory of Baby Led Weaning aims to establish good dietary and nutritional habits in babies in order to promote a positive connection with food and the act of eating. Letting a baby feed itself suitable food from the age of six months aids muscle development to facilitate speech and encourages the development and appreciation of different tastes and textures ensuring a varied and healthy diet. There is nothing more satisfying than a child who eats willingly and does not turn every meal time into a battle.

The benefits of enjoying and appreciating meal times and food are life saving and pleasure enhancing without a doubt. Reclaiming our relationship with food will ensure a long and happy life.

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Diane Koopman

Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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