I began to realize the power of eating with intention about a year ago when my father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Prior to this devastating news I had been on the healthy eating and lifestyle path for several years but hadn’t fully thought about food and nutrients on an intentional level. Although the diagnosis was given too late and my father passed away just six weeks later at the young age of 60, the research quest I went on in those weeks before he passed away taught me about the healing powers of food and how visualizing your food healing your body as you eat it contributes to the healing process.
That same year I also had a knee injury that ended up requiring surgery. I was determined not to let the surgery hold me down for long so prior to the surgery and after, I ate a very clean diet of nutrient rich, low-sugar, anti-inflammatory foods and followed the steps below. I was riding a bike in just a week and back to surfing in just three weeks. The healing process was especially quick for me and I’m grateful to have the knowledge that when eating with intention, food can be even more powerful and medicinal. On a side note, I had the surgery without antibiotics (by special waver) and I also didn’t need any of the prescribed pain medications post-surgery. I attribute intentional eating and having a strong body and immune system to this being possible.
A few Keys to Eating with Intention:
Eat meals at the same time every day. Eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time every day helps regulate digestion. When digestion is strong and regular, your body will eliminate toxins and store less sludge. Healthy digestion contributes to ideal body weight, strong immunity and overall health.
Calm your thoughts. Most of us live within the hustle and bustle of a fast-paced schedule and have a million thoughts racing through our heads as we go about each day. Before sitting down to a meal, consciously take a few deep breaths in through your nose and let the exhale resonate through the back of your throat, keeping your mouth closed. Try this 3-5 times before taking your first bite. This practice will calm the mind and allow you to focus on the food entering your body.
Practice mindful eating. Try chewing your food very slowly and practice thinking positive thoughts while chewing your food. Observe every note of flavor, texture and how your senses are affected. Imagine that as you swallow each bite, the nutrient rich food you’re eating is traveling with a glowing white light through your body and making all your body’s cells sparkle and heal. If you have specific areas in your body to heal, visualize the nutrients making their way into that area with that same healing, white light and energy. This may sound “out there” to some but what we can visualize, we can manifest.
The power of presentation. A beautifully presented plate of food encourages slower eating, which improves digestion. Research and experience validates the old saying that “we eat with our eyes first.” Food that looks good is more likely to taste good. Some studies seem to indicate we even absorb more nutrients from food that is visually appealing. So, take some time to serve your food in a visually appealing presentation-even if you are eating alone. (It takes an extra 30 seconds) You’ll always enjoy it more.
Eat in a peaceful setting. One of the principles of Ayurveda is to eat your food in a quiet, beautiful setting free of distractions. For me, it’s on my deck or on the beach but it could be anywhere that brings you peace. So try it sometime. Turn off the TV, turn down the chatter and simply enjoy the magical energy that real food from nature brings into your body.
****Ayurveda is a scientifically proven mind/body assessment and holistic health approach that was developed by the sages of India.