Who hasn’t crammed down a chocolate bar while driving, sitting in front of the TV or typing away at work? It’s something everyone will be familiar with, but ask us five minutes later and most of us won’t even remember what that chocolate bar tasted like, let alone whether we got any real pleasure out of eating it.
The problem is that most of the time our minds are not on what we eat, they’re distracted by other things and this can interrupt the balance between our minds and our bodies, leading us to bolt down food too fast without really enjoying it. At best this means we are missing out on one of life’s most delightful pleasures, at worst it can lead to overeating, binge eating and weight gain.
Enter mindfulness as a tool to help break this cycle.
THE BENEFITS OF MINDFUL EATING
Mindful meditation is a practice handed down from Buddhist monks and is designed to make you more aware of your body and your surroundings in the present moment. There is evidence to suggest that mindful meditation can help with many health issues including stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia and high blood pressure.
Applying mindful techniques to eating simply means slowing down how you eat and taking the time to savour the smells, flavours, textures, colours and mouthfeel of your food. So rather than gobbling it down without even noticing, you take your time to chew on your food to get the maximum enjoyment from it.
By slowing down the process of eating you can aid digestion. It takes around 20 minutes for your brain to register that your belly is full, so if you eat too fast you may miss this natural cue and eat too much. This is why mindful eating may help to stop binge eating or overeating, as it resets your body helping you to tell the difference between emotional and physical hunger.
It has also been suggested that eating while distracted stops your digestive system from working properly. This could mean that you don’t get the full nutritional value from what you eat. Finally, by really tasting and thinking about what you eat it may help you make better choices, opting for more natural, less processed foods – like raw chocolate.
MINDFULNESS MEDITATION EXERCISE
There are huge benefits to paying more attention to what you eat. This is particularly true when it comes to the uniquely delicious flavour of raw chocolate. We take enormous care to use only the finest, most natural ingredients to create our chocolate bars, so gobbling them down in front of the TV hardly does them justice. Take the time to savour a chunk or two and you get all the benefit of the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in our organic raw chocolate, satisfying chocolate cravings in a healthier way for your mind and body.
To help you get started we’ve got a simple mindful eating exercise for you to try with some Gemini Chocolate:
A SIMPLE EXERCISE TO ENJOY CHOCOLATE – MINDFULLY
Make sure you are sitting comfortably with no distractions before you start this exercise. Spend around 5 minutes on this exercise.
First, just hold the chocolate in your hand. Imagine you had never seen a chocolate bar before. Feel the weight and shape of it. Touch the wrapper with your finger and really pay attention to how it feels. Notice how it sounds, examining the textures and colours. Look at it from different angles and see how this changes the way it looks.
If your mind starts to wander, don’t worry. This is perfectly natural; just gently return your attention to the chocolate bar. You might find yourself distracted by noises in the room around you, again just accept this and then focus back on the chocolate again. You may have to do this many times, but that’s OK, just keep coming back to the chocolate.
Now slowly unwrap the chocolate bar. Again pay really close attention to this experience. Notice the sounds as you unwrap the bar, the feel of the paper ripping or the foil wrapping being peeled away. Notice how your hand and arm muscles feel as you unwrap the bar.
Bring the bar up to your nose to smell it. Breathe in the scents and fragrances of the chocolate. Try to identify the different smells and notice if they trigger any feelings or emotions. You might find your mouth watering or you might want to hurry up and eat the chocolate at this point. Again, this is completely normal, just notice these thoughts and return your attention to the chocolate bar. It’s fine to feel frustrated that this is going so slowly, after all you are doing something your body and mind aren’t used to.
Now take a small bite of the chocolate. Don’t chew it, just hold it in your mouth. As the chocolate sits in your mouth notice the initial feel and taste of it on your tongue. As you move it around in your mouth pay attention to how these tastes and feelings change, notice how the textures change as the chocolate melts. When you swallow the chocolate notice how this feels. Savour any aftertastes or feelings once you have swallowed the chocolate.
We know doing this exercise really made us think differently about the taste of chocolate, so we hope it has helped you to experience the uniquely delicious flavour of raw chocolate too. Drop us an email or visit our Facebook page to tell us how you got on.