Mindful Eating

            In our fast-paced world, many of us fall into the habit of mindless eating. You know, those times when we’re quickly devouring a meal before rushing into our next meeting, munching away while driving the kids to school, mindlessly snacking while scrolling through social media or watching TV, or even eating at our desks while working. These common scenarios can lead to overeating, unhealthy food choices, and eating too quickly. Not to mention, not chewing our food thoroughly can cause digestive problems like acid reflux, heartburn, bloating, and abdominal pain, among others. It can also affect nutrient absorption and leave us feeling irritable, mentally foggy, or even experiencing skin issues.

            That’s where mindful eating comes in. It’s about consciously tuning into our bodies, minds, and senses to truly engage with the experience of eating. It means paying attention to how we feel before, during, and after a meal, and being aware of our emotional and physical responses. Mindful eating offers numerous benefits, such as:

            • Supporting digestion and nutrient absorption,
            • Reducing stress and anxiety by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (our “rest and digest” mode),
            • Helping us recognize unhealthy eating patterns like overeating, eating when we’re not truly hungry, or turning to food for emotional reasons,
            • Encouraging us to make more sustainable, healthy food choices, and
            • Increasing pleasure and enjoyment in eating.

            So, how can we practice mindful eating? Well, here are some steps you can take:

            1. Make time for eating: Set aside at least 15 minutes to sit and eat. Create a designated time and place for it.

            2. Minimize distractions: Tune out the distractions like your phone, television, computer, book, or magazine. Give your full attention to the act of eating.

            3. Get comfortable: Straighten your back, relax your shoulders, and place your feet on the floor. Find a comfortable posture that allows you to focus on your meal.

            4. Enter the present moment: Close your eyes or relax your gaze, and take a few deep breaths to bring yourself into the present moment. Let go of any distractions or thoughts about the past or future.

            5. Check-in with yourself: Take a moment to observe your thoughts and feelings. Are you feeling stressed, happy, content, or tired? Acknowledge your current state of mind.

            6. Connect with your body: Bring your attention to your body. Consciously relax any muscles that may be holding tension. Pay attention to physical sensations and any signals your body may be sending.

            7. Engage your senses: Smell the aroma of your food and notice how your body responds. Do you feel hunger pangs or salivation? As you open your eyes, appreciate the colours, presentation, and appeal of your food.

            8. Take mindful bites: Consciously pick up your cutlery or food, and take your first bite. Pay attention to the texture and flavour. Is it light, dense, moist, dry, crunchy, smooth, sweet, spicy, salty, or bitter?

            9. Chew thoroughly: Rest your cutlery next to your plate between mouthfuls. Chew slowly and thoroughly, allowing the food to lose all texture before swallowing. Aim for about 25 chews per bite.

            10. Notice your thoughts and feelings: Be aware of the thoughts and feelings that arise as you eat. Are you experiencing happiness, pleasure, nostalgia, or even guilt? Observe without judgment.

            11. Eat until satisfied: Aim for about 80% fullness and allow yourself to leave some food on your plate.

            Anatomy of a Healthy Plate

            Eating well doesn’t have to be complicated! Follow these four simple steps for a nutritious meal:

            1. Protein Power: Fill 1/4 of your plate (or palm-size) with protein sources like eggs, poultry, lean cuts of meat, fish, tofu, legumes (beans), nuts, and seeds. Avoid processed meats and/or plant-based alternatives.
            2. Veggies Galore: Fill 1/2 of your plate with non-starchy seasonal vegetables. Choose a colourful assortment of vegetables and fruits to ensure you get a wide range of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
            3. Smart Carbs: Fill 1/4 of your plate with starchy vegetables (e.g. potato, corn, sweet potato, pumpkin) and/or whole grains. When selecting grains, opt for whole grains like brown rice, black rice, whole wheat bread, quinoa, oats, or whole grain pasta. These provide more fibre, vitamins, and minerals compared to refined grains.
            4. Healthy Fats: Add approximately one tablespoon (or one thumb size) of healthy fats such as avocado, extra virgin olive oil, ghee, and nuts/seeds.

            Remember these additional tips:

            • Watching your portion sizes: Be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overeating.
            • Limit added sugars and salt: Choose options with less sugar and sodium (check labels).
            • Hydration is key: Make water your go-to drink and cut back on sugary beverages.
            • Moderation with treats: Enjoy discretionary foods sparingly and opt for healthier snacks. Discretionary foods are those that are high in saturated fats, added sugars, salt, and/or alcohol. These foods, such as cakes, biscuits, processed snacks, and sugary drinks, should be consumed sparingly.
            • Cook smart: Choose healthier cooking methods like grilling, baking, steaming, slow cooking, or stir-frying with minimal oil. These methods help retain the nutrients in the food without adding excessive fats.
            • Stay active: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

            Remember, everyone’s needs are unique. Consult a healthcare professional or nutritionist for personalised advice based on your dietary requirements, health goals, pre-existing allergies/intolerances, or diagnosed medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease).


            Australian Government Department of Health: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines

            The Principles of Health

            What is health? The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

            However, health is rarely fixed but instead is a fluid and ever-changing state reflecting our daily lives. Health is about maximising our balance and vitality in body, mind, and spirit.

            Disease and illness occur when there is a disruption, aberration, and/or blockage to the natural balance and flow of life that results in one or many symptoms.

            So how do you attain and maintain healthy balance and vitality in body, mind, and spirit?

            There’s more to healthy living than simply eating healthy food, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Many people have their own versions of principles (or pillars) of health. Here are the ones I live by and aim to demonstrate, provide, and instil in my children:

            1. Food
            2. Water
            3. Movement
            4. Hygiene
            5. Thoughts
            6. Sunlight
            7. Air
            8. Relationships
            9. Security


            Eat as close to nature by consuming mostly whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and protein (legumes, eggs, seafood, poultry, and meat). Eating as close to nature means looking for the shortest supply chain (i.e. the food’s point of origin to your plate) with the least amount of processing (e.g. additives, preservatives). Ideally, you want to buy local, fresh, and organic (where possible).


            Water is an essential nutrient for life. We can only last about three days without water. Approximately ~60% of the human body consists of water. Water is required for digestion, absorption, transportation, and elimination. It helps to regulate our body temperatures and is the medium in which all biochemical reactions within the body occur. It is important to drink plenty of fresh, filtered water daily. A good rule of thumb is to consume 1 litre for every 22 kilograms of body weight per day.


            Physical activity benefits every single body system. It helps our digestion, sleep, and energy levels. Aim to move your body for at least 30-45 minutes each day, even if it is just going for a walk.


            Good hygiene practice helps protect against infectious diseases, prevents infections, and protects against decay (e.g. dental hygiene).


            Thoughts create our reality. Healthy thoughts support healthy habits. Having a grasp on our mental and emotional well-being and self-limiting beliefs has a profound impact on the rest of our lives.


            Regularly getting out in the sun is crucial for helping to regulate our circadian rhythm and is our primary source of Vitamin D. Aim for at least 20-30 minutes outside per day.


            Ensure you are getting access to clean, fresh air regularly. Indoor air within many homes, offices, and cars is stale, lifeless, and can be filled with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Sources of VOCs include paint, carpet, vinyl flooring, upholstery, air fresheners, cleaning products, cosmetics, fuel, smoking, cooking, and burning wood.

            Short term exposure to VOCs may result in headaches, dizziness, worsening of asthma symptoms, or eye, nose & throat irritation. Chronic exposure may lead to cancer, liver/kidney damage, or central nervous system damage.

            Ways to ensure adequate air quality include:

              • Get outside and breathe fresh air daily

              • Keep your windows open as much as possible

              • Purchase indoor plants, which help to purify the air such as Peace Lilies, Snake Plants, or Golden Pathos (Devil’s Ivy)

              • Breathe deeply during the day, whether it’s upon waking or a midday meditation, or before bed.


            We are social creatures and crave community and a place to belong. Healthy relationships begin with the relationship we have with ourselves and extend to our family, friends, and the broader community.


            Safety and security are some of the most basic human needs, as per Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Do you have a safe place to live? How is your financial health? Are you able to meet your and your family’s most basic needs? If not, this is the first place to start.


            Sleep is a dynamic process for regeneration and repair. It is best to aim for 8 hours of sleep per night for adults and at least 9 hours for school-aged children.

            My Health Story

            My relationship with food has not always been healthy. I grew up as a “separatist child.” None of my food could touch, and the plainer the food, the better. When at a party, I was THAT kid eating several burger buns with nothing on them.  My main food groups were pasta/bread, dairy, and sugar.  My READ MORE

            My relationship with food has not always been healthy. I grew up as a “separatist child.” None of my food could touch, and the plainer the food, the better. When at a party, I was THAT kid eating several burger buns with nothing on them.  My main food groups were pasta/bread, dairy, and sugar.  My favourite vegetable was corn.

            When at a party, I would be THAT KID eating a burger bun with nothing on it. My main food groups were bread/pasta, dairy (milk/cheese), and dessert.

            As a young child, I suffered from seasonal eczema.  By the time I turned 12, my eczema was year-round and started to spread to my face.  My skin had thinned out due to the cortisone creams prescribed by my doctor; so every time I went out into the sun, the affected skin would become cracked and bleed.  As a result, I spent the summer of seventh grade sweating in long-sleeved shirts, which left me both very uncomfortable and self-conscious.

            By the time I hit Junior High, I stopped bringing a packed lunch to school, and my staple diet consisted of a typical Western diet laden with processed foods, an abundance of refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, etc), sugar-sweetened sodas and candies with minimal fruits and vegetables.

            A typical day consisted of:
            🧇 Breakfast: Frozen waffles drenched in syrup.
            🍩 Morning tea: Two doughnuts.
            🥖 Lunch: Spaghetti with butter and salt, garlic bread, salad, and a can of Coke.
            🍬 Afternoon Snack: Vending machine candy to satisfy my sugar cravings.
            🍨 Afterschool Snack: Ice cream sundae w/ sprinkles, swimming in chocolate sauce.
            🍗 Dinner: The one saving grace where my mom would cook us a standard meat and three vegetable dinner.
            🍪 Dessert: 5-7 Oreo cookies with 1-2 glasses of low-fat milk.

            Looking back, it’s no wonder that I suffered from severe acne, eczema, chronic fatigue, and depression at 12 years of age.

            At 13, my mom sought alternative help to clear up my skin. I cut out all refined sugar and started incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my daily diet. After about two years, my skin would only break out seasonally. Seeing such dramatic results just by changing the food I ate, put me on a path of self-healing during my teen years and young adulthood that taught me to treat food as medicine.

            Now that I have two kids of my own, I am passionate about educating and protecting them from the preventable health problems I experienced as a child. Their diets are far more colourful and nutrient dense. Yes, I let them indulge in treats on occasion, but I emphasize the importance of eating food that is closer to nature and not from a lab or factory.

            I hope that through my work, I can educate and inspire other parents, kids, and teens to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet so that they can work and play at their best.

            If you’d like to know how to improve your health, want to learn what healthy eating looks like for you, or just don’t know where to start, please reach out today.

            I offer complimentary 15-minute calls to discuss how I can help you and your family.