Mindful eating, at its simplest, is about paying attention to the what, where, when, why, and how’s of what you eat.
The blogosphere and Dr. Google are overflowing with mindful eating promises. But…will they work for you and how’s a Christian woman supposed to know if mindful eating is even okay?
This post will provide mindful eating practices that work, while still honoring the God who made you and the food He created to nourish His temple, your body.
What is Christian Mindful Eating?
I want to start by reminding you that modern mindfulness practices are about you becoming aware of the present and you solving your own problems.
It doesn’t matter whether that problem is stress, a crazy schedule, your kids, or struggles with food – Christians aren’t supposed to solve their own problems.
Yes, you should be aware of them but God’s Word tells us to:
“Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
This verse means that no matter what your burden is, even if its food, you’re to give it to God.
Christian Mindful Eating
There are four main steps and several sub-steps in Christian mindful eating.
Be fair to yourself and don’t expect to read this post and suddenly put each of these things perfectly into practice, even if you’re already doing some of them.
Show yourself some grace. Maybe start with step one and once you’ve mindfully incorporated that step into your life, move to step two.
Maybe you only want to do step three or four – that’s a-okay.
Before you even get to the act of eating mindfully you’ve got to plan with mindful eating in mind.
- Why are you wanting to eat mindfully?
- What’s next weeks schedule look like?
- How much time will you honestly have for meal prep?
Busy weeks shouldn’t be an excuse. Because no matter how busy your week is, with a few minutes of planning, mindful eating is still possible.
So, with your mind stayed on glorifying God, plan your meals.
Everything of value in life requires some degree of sacrifice.
You know your reasons for wanting to eat mindfully so ask yourself:
- Is my reason worth sacrificing some “me time” so I can set myself up to win?
I’m betting you’re saying yes.
Preparing involves a few different things.
1. Your grocery list and trip.
Make a grocery list based on what you’ve planned to mindfully eat. Then when you’re at the store, focus on the list and be mindful about who you can engage with or pray for while shopping.
If you’re eyes are focused on smiling at, and praying quietly for, everyone you pass, temptation will avoided.
Plus…who knows what God will do!
2. Proactively plan your restaurant meal.
Every restaurant has an online menu so look at it before you head out. Be mindful of your mindful eating goals and reasons as you’re looking at the menu.
3. Prep your food.
After you get home from the grocery store take the time to
- wash and chop veggies,
- portion out proteins, and
- get any other make ahead items done.
This is a great time for turning on worship music or a Christian podcast.
Then, while you’re mindfully prepping your food you’ll be mindfully fixing your thoughts on things above. Win!
Fair warning – this one has several subheadings because there’s a ton that falls under eating.
To mindfully eat as a Christian you have to begin with…
Take the time to pause and pray before picking up your fork. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognize when you begin to get full and ask Him to give you the power to stop eating when that happens.
2. Distraction Free.
Even if your only option is to eat at your desk, you can still eat distraction free.
So…Turn off the computer. Put away the phone. And instead, focus your mind on God and the 5 senses He gave you.
3. Start Small.
Dinner plates in America should really be serving platters. Grab a salad plate and make it your new dinner plate. Then put a small portion of food on your plate, leave the prepared food in the kitchen, and go sit at the table.
4. Eat with Your Senses.
- How does your food look, smell, sound and feel?
Continue to pay attention to these things as you move each small bite of food into your mouth and as you’re chewing.
5. Take Small Bites.
This is not a sprint ladies. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain and belly to get on the same page about nutrition needs and fullness. Give them time to talk with each other.
Take a small bite and then set your utensil down. Be mindful of how the food tastes and what it’s doing for your body, the Spirits dwelling place.
6. Chew and Chew.
In order for your body to get every last nutrient out of the food you’re eating, you’ve got to make chewing a priority. You need to chew so well that you “drink your solids and chew your liquids”. This means you’re chewing until solids become liquid and “mock chewing” your liquid food so it makes contact with the enzymes in your saliva.
4. No Bad Food
Choosing not to eat foods because of ethical or health reasons is a-okay but other than that, I want you to consider all food fair game.
Your brain works against you when you make food off limits and before you know it, all you’re thinking about is the food you can’t have. Granted, there are plenty of foods lining grocery store shelves that should be avoided at all costs but with mindful eating, no food is bad.
Consider these things when you’re struggling with whether or not you should eat something:
- Spend a moment in prayer and then mindfully consider why you might be wanting that food.
- When was your last meal? Is it possible your body is hungry and just needs a snack?
- What’s going on emotionally?
- Are you tired?
- When’s the last time you had a glass of plain ‘ol water?
If you mindfully considered all of these things and still want to eat the food then eat it, following the mindful steps in step 3.
There are so many great reasons for pursuing mindful eating and maybe you googled mindful eating
- because you’re wanting to lose weight,
- because you recognize you’ve developed some unhealthy habits with food, or
- just because you want to slow down and focus on God.
Regardless of your reason, remember to keep the focus on your Heavenly Father.
We’re part of a society that lives and breathes “fast”. Everything done at lightning speed so that more and more can be done in a day.
But throughout Scripture Jesus modeled slowing down and taking the time to sit and eat with friends and enemies.
With every meal He always focused Himself and those with Him, on God.
Being mindful of God is how we ensure we’re walking in His footsteps and following His lead. As a Christian you should want this in all areas of your life, not just eating.
This is the way Christians should do mindful eating. My prayer is that this post has shown you how to pursue mindful eating that does just that.
Until next time…
“Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house. The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” Psalm 45:10-11
God is enthralled by your beauty woman of God, set your mind on Him for He is your Lord.