Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lessons from bed: Eating Mindfully

When was the last time you actually savored what you were eating? Took a good look at what was in front of you before you stuck it in your mouth? Smelled it? Inspected it? Appreciated it? Do you ever notice how a baby ponders new foods before introducing them into her system? Look at Jannah-Rae and remember how it was with first foods: a discovery, an adventure, an experience for the senses, an exploration.

Before bed rest I was lucky to even have time to eat. I was constantly rushed through meals, skipped meals, or ate whatever was on hand at the time. Like most moms, sit down meals were a luxury, not a right. When I had a chance to eat in silence, I would scarf down whatever I had microwaved and move on to the next item on my list. Eating was just "another" thing to get done, nothing worth "engaging" in, "appreciating" or "talking about." Even when Jeff and I went out to eat, I was in a hurry; in a hurry to order, in a hurry to get my food, in a hurry to eat, and in a hurry to get the check. It was never about the experience; food served one purpose: sustenance.

That was then. Now, I have all the time in the world, and pretty much nothing to do. So, what I get a chance to do, I do well. No more cutting corners, rushing through tasks, or running on empty. When I eat, I do it with purpose: to nourish my body and the growing body inside of me. I pace myself, take small bites, chew slowly and swallow consciously. I actually put the fork down between mouthfuls, and carry on a conversation during a meal.

I now start and end my meals almost at the same time as Jannah-Rae, when in the past I would sit waiting for her to finish her meals. This has made meals more enjoyable. I no longer feel like it is a "waste of time" to eat, but rather look forward to sitting at the table for however long it takes for the two of us to finish our meals joyfully.

I am eating less, I noticed, and differently. Although I have always been aware, and picky, of the food I eat, I now choose my food even more carefully: more rainbow colors, less medium rare; more fresh, less fried; more natural. less refined. What I eat matters for two, and being on bed rest is a constant reminder to bring mindfullness to every aspect of my life, including food.

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