Do you Eat Consciously! Conscious eating has Unlimited benefits
Conscious eating or mindful eating means notice your thoughts, feelings, Respect, awareness & sensations should be on food while eating. Food is an important part of life for a living. It builds our body and mind. We have been being careful about diet and nutrition. In addition to it, some holy person observes whether the food we take is earned through right effort and source or not. But there is an important aspect that we are missing. This is a simple but very effective technique for the better life. That technique is “consciousness” while eating. It does not matter of dieting but way of living. The word ‘consciousness’ is also understood as awareness, mindfulness etc. The awareness can be applied to all the activities of life. Mindfulness gives unlimited benefits in life such as-
- Increased immune power
- Proceeds towards perfect health- physical, mental and spiritual health
- Higher brain functioning and intellectuality
- Clarity of thoughts and perception
- Better body function
- Wisdom and knowledge awake
- Experience of peace, harmony, and blessedness
- Gives the understanding to discover the meaning of life etc
Lord Buddha wants everybody to be conscious each moment and for each activity for enlightenment. He teaches to be mindful of breath and sensation of the body and gradually to all the activities. He wants people to conduct life and its activities more consciously (conscious eating, conscious walking, conscious working etc). Being conscious means remaining at the present. Change is possible only at present. You can neither change in the past nor in future. You can nothing in past as it has already been passed away. You can do nothing in future because it never comes. You have this moment i.e. the present moment to change. If we simply move hands unconsciously it moves in one way. If we do the same thing i.e. moving hands- it moves in another way. If you just speak or throw out words unconsciously it happens in a way, if you throw words with awareness it happens in another way. In the same way, taking food consciously it happens in one way and taking it unconsciously it happens in another way. So, the meaningfulness of life is hidden in mindfulness in life and its activities, including the food we take. If you develop mindfulness while eating, you will find a great change in life.
Now, let us be identified with conscious eating. There are some elements for conscious eating or mindful eating-
Sight on food while eating: In conscious eating, the vision should be on the food. Moving the eyes here and there; watching television etc will distract the consciousness.
The smell of food: Try to feel the smell of food more and more. It does not mean that bringing the food close to nose and smell. It is ridiculous. The food emits out the odor. Our work is to be connected with the odor while eating.
Taste of food: Of course, food has varieties of taste. Experience all the flavor of the food. Try to feel the different types of taste that you get with the food.
Sensation while eating: As you touch the food, you will get a sense of touch on fingers. The temperature of food can also be felt. When food is taken into the mouth; lips, tongue, teeth, and skin of mouth get the touch sensation. Notice the texture and sensation. Try to feel this sensation more and more. As you start chewing pay attention to chewing, the sound of chewing, feel the saliva, producing in mouth etc. Try to enhance your consciousness with every bite of food. After chewing, food enters towards the stomach. Feel the point of swallowing. Feel the impulse to swallow. Experience the passing of food. Do not miss any sensation and taste that linger. Try to understand how food made you feel. Be watchful with the reactions of food in your body and mouth.
Movement of mouth: When you chew, there occurs movement on the chin. Feel all types of such movements that occur while chewing.
Be silent: It is not good to talk while eating food. It is useless to wander the concentration for listening or watching anything else.
Be free: Be free at least while eating. Do not be engaged in any activities while eating.
Respect to food: It is said that you are what you eat. Food saves your life. Food builds the body. Mentality modifies as per the food you eat. Food is the lord. So, food is always respectable and lovable. Develop an attitude of gratitude for the food. Taking the food with love and respect gives a better result.
Observation of the level of mind: Mind should be peace, quiet and restful while eating. If the mind is agitating, stressful, tensed etc. then there will be a problem in digestion. It also may create different other problems. But if you observe the mind and thoughts, these impurities will be cleared. Be watchful of own mind- how it is reacting towards food. Observe the reaction of mind for the food we eat and also the relation of mind with the food.
If we are conscious while eating, then we can never eat neither a wrong thing nor in a wrong way. This will make a habit of eating in a right quantity as well. Normally, the health of a person degrades due to wrong food, wrong way of eating, the wrong quantity of food, taking food at a wrong time. These things start being correcting due to awareness. Sometimes we may feel to take such food which is not good for health due to habits. But the consciousness rubs these unnecessary habits.
As you start to implement these things in your eating habit, the level of awareness increases. The food taken consciously has a potentiality to transform your life. Day by day your transformation begins. Gradually, your life shifts towards full awareness. Then whatever you do, that starts to become a part of consciousness. You start doing every work consciously. The mistakes in life start reducing. All the mistakes are happened due to unawareness. There is no mistake at all during aware state. It means there cannot be any mistake when you are conscious. The perfectness, completeness or totality is hidden in consciousness.
Food Mind Relation | The positive & negative effect of food in mind
There is a famous saying in English-“You are what you eat”. In another word it is said as- “What you eat so you become.” In Hindi it is also said as-“Jaisa khaae ana waisa bane mana” i.e. whatever the types of food are taken, the mind tends to become such, so food mind relation is the direct relation. The food we eat determines our mind. Food is the primary factor to form our mentality. There are various ways to view how food has relation over the mind.
An ideal and logical philosophical on food has been revealed by many philosophers and spiritual leader. The food that is earned through right action makes the mind happy (positive food mind relation). It builds health and makes intelligent and creative. It leads towards the right path. The food from a wrong source or unwholesome income destroys the level of mind (negative food mind relationship). It makes the blood cell. Such food is the root of all negativity and diseases. Fear, tension, anxiety, anger etc. are the normal problems in mind due to the food earned through wrong income. The sources of wrong income are stated as- bribe, theft, robbery, earned by deceiving other, earned by harming other, earned by lying other, income without fulfilling the duty, food given by other which was earned with wrong source etc. If one has the capacity to earn, but if he still becomes dependent on other; then it is also not good. As far as possible, one should be dependent on own efforts. No matter, whatever healthy food or balanced diet is taken; unless the earning is not from the right source, it will be the origin of negative mind.
The concept of food regarding the consciousness is very subtle. Normally, we get food from plant and animals. The latest scientific research has stated that-“As far as possible, food should be taken from such source with the lower level of consciousness. The Animal Kingdom has more developed mind than that of plants. The plant kingdom is less conscious than the animal kingdom. The level of consciousness of the plant is very low. There is no other thing to eat besides from the plant. Non-harming anyone is our motto, but we happened to be compelled to harm the plants to make it our food. As the level of mind on plants is primitive, the plants get least affected. Animals have a higher level of mind. So, killing animals, taking meat etc. are not good. As the level of mind is developed in animals, the mentality of animals affects human when meat is taken. When animal consciousness resides with human consciousness, the level of human consciousness will have a problem to develop. Another thing to remember is that- Animal gets pain when it is killed; and; the law of karma says that whatever is given to other, same will return). Giving pain to other will reverse the pain back. As the level of the plant is low, it does not get pain like that of animals. However, there are some rules that are to be implemented while receiving the food from the plant. Whatever the plants’ yield, it wants complete maturity. Each plant item has to be fully developed for human consumption. Every tree wants the fullness of its living, wants to live its full age. There occurs disturbance in the life cycle of plants if grain or fruits are plucked without complete maturity. For example- mango, guava, papaya, banana etc. can be plucked when it gets completely ripen. The same rule is applied for all plant products like grains and vegetable as well. If the plant kingdom is disturbed without its maturity, then it is violence. Some people take green chili, green beans etc. which are immature. It is a harming to the plant. The plant was striving to complete the life cycle, but human interrupts. Harming other’s life for our food is not logical. However, the stage of complete maturity of the plant is the phase of completion of the life cycle. Thus, there is the least harm or equivalent to non-harming if food items are consumed after the maturity of plants. There are two normal disadvantages of taking immature plant products(negative food mind relation with immature plant products)-
- If one harms others’ life, his life also gets degraded. There is invisible law- whatever we do to other, the same thing will return to us. If one helps to flourish others’ life, his life also improves gradually. So, non-harming, and helping others is the best religion. The food, absorbed after harming others, will definitely spoil our mood and mentality.
- Matured seeds, matured plants products are composed of a high amount of calorie and nutrition. This nutrition is very important for human health and to promote human consciousness. As the nutrition in immature food is underdeveloped, it is not fit for health.
In addition to this, we need to be aware of some food elements to know how food element has a connection with the mind (to know the food mind relation).
- Gluten: As it interferes serotonin, it lowers the mood. It is difficult to digest. Consumption of gluten in excessive amount causes intolerance i.e. celiac disease. It may create mood swings and irritability.
- Carbohydrate: Complex carbohydrate which is abundant in vegetables, fruits, and seeds are good for both mind and body. However refined carbohydrates are devoid of nutrition. It creates a problem like vascular swelling, blood sugar spikes, and disturbance in insulin. Carbohydrate, derived from white sugar, white flour, and high-fructose corn syrup is the worst for the brain which spoils brain health and interrupts normal neurotransmitter release. Scientists have stated on white sugar-“If you want to make your child stupid, then please give them white sugar.” However natural carbohydrate helps in keeping brain healthy, to produce serotonin. Serotonin is a powerful neurotransmitter to feel-good, and to balance sleep-wake cycle. Complex carbohydrates and gluten-free grains like buckwheat and quinoa etc. are found to be the best nutrition to keep neurotransmitter healthy and active.
- Caffeine: Some people understand that caffeine is bad. It is true if it is consumed in an excess amount. Overconsumption of caffeine causes adrenal burnout, exhaustion. However, the right amount of caffeine (up to 400 mg per day) makes mentally alert, provides true energy. Although some research has shown excess caffeine may cause a temporary mood boost, long-term use may induce nervousness and anxiety. Caffeine found in a psychotropic drug may block adenosine receptors in the brain and cause negative mental symptoms and mood depression if taken for a long duration.
- Whole Food: Processed food, pre-packed food etc have no vitamin, mineral, and anti-oxidant. To get this nutrition, whole food is considered to be nectar. Whole seed and whole food contain Omega-3 fatty acids (helps in maintaining a steady mood, supporting cognitive function and neutralize anxiety function); B-Vitamin (manages brain health, cures depression); and Iron (its deficiency causes depressed mood, lethargy, attention problem).
- Iodine: Iodine is the tonic for thyroid, and, thyroid is the monitor of the mood balance. Iodine is normally found in whole food and matured seeds.
- Chocolate: It is good if it does not contain white sugar, or contains a very limited amount of sugar. Organic and dark chocolate is a nutrient-dense food mixed with antioxidants and anandamides, which stimulate brain work. Tyramine and phenylethylamine in chocolate stimulate and support mood. They are helpful especially in depression.
- Drugs: Drug has a direct impact on the mind. Its addiction has spoiled human till the worst condition.
In this way, food mind relation is deep with each other. The mind is also affected how much food and water we take every day, duration of food taking and food gap, time-table of food etc.