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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 August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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