An Exercise In Mindful Eating

If you have been following any of my posts this week, you can see that eating mindfully is a whole new way to approach food. I talk a lot about awareness with my clients and in the detox.  The more awareness you have, the less likely you are to make poor choices in food and in life.  Mindful eating is a significant piece of this, and may really be the final piece in healthy eating.

I know that I am personally guilty of mindless eating more than I care to admit.   Not so much in the way of  eating junk food, but in the way of eating on the go, rushing through meals while I multitask,  and not truly taking the time to taste  and enjoy my food.

The first time I  heard about mindful eating was a couple years ago from Jon Kabat-Zinn (one of my very first meditation teachers).   He has a very simple exercise he starts with when teaching meditation, called ‘The Raisin Consciousness”.    This is definitely an experience to try and if you don’t like raisins feel free to use another similar dried fruit.

Raisin Meditation

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair.
  2. Place a raisin in your hand.
  3. Examine the raisin as if you had never seen it before.
  4. Imagine it as its “plump self” growing on the vine surrounded by nature.
  5. As you look at the raisin, become conscious of what you see: the shape, texture, color, size. Is it hard or soft?
  6. Bring the raisin to your nose and smell it.
  7. Are you anticipating eating the raisin? Is it difficult not to just pop it in your mouth?
  8. How does the raisin feel? How small it is in your hand?
  9. Place the raisin in your mouth. Become aware of what your tongue is doing.
  10. Bite ever so lightly into the raisin. Feel its squishiness.
  11. Chew three times and then stop.
  12. Describe the flavor of the raisin. What is the texture?
  13. As you complete chewing, swallow the raisin.
  14. Sit quietly, breathing, aware of what you are sensing.

Jon Kabat Zinn explains the exercises purpose as follows:

“The raisin exercise dispels all previous concepts we may be harboring about meditation. It immediately places it in the realm of the ordinary, the everyday, the world you already know but are now going to know differently. Eating one raisin very, very slowly allows you to drop right into the knowing in ways that are effortless, totally natural, and entirely beyond words and thinking. Such an exercise delivers wakefulness immediately. There is in this moment only tasting.”