Conscious Eating

March 28, 2019

I had a wonderful opportunity to sit with a fellow holistic healther (that’s right I mean healther-not healer), Erin Bishop who owns and operates A Breath of Wellness- She has been coming down to the Tide Water area of Virginia for a little over 4 years providing breathwork workshops. If you are in the Tide Water area or around the Annapolis area, I highly recommend you go to any one of her workshops. It is a wonderful experience. Erin has great energy. 

Our paths cross often as we are on the board together for the Bay Center for Spiritual Development. We both run around the area networking, teaching, and doing workshops to promote our practices. So, we got together for coffee this morning.

During one of our many topics of discussion over coffee, she talked about her experience at a workshop about conscious eating. Probably like many of you who are reading this, you assume the conversation is going to be about healthy eating, what we put into our body’s, organic, local, fresh, seasonal, and on and on. That’s what I started to think when she started her story. It took an interesting turn that made my complacent brain snap out of it. 

In short (if I can correctly repeat from memory her story), during this workshop, they fasted and at the end of the fast before they could eat they did an exercise. Everyone was split into groups that resembled a ‘class’-wealthy, middle class, and poverty. A loaf of bread was brought out and cut in half. One half was given to the wealthy table to be shared among only a few people who sat at that table (3-5 people). The other half was cut in half again for the people at the middle-class table to split which sat more people than the wealthy class table. The remaining portion of bread was cut in half a third time to be shared among the poverty table which had more people sitting at it than the middle class and wealthy class. Between each table or “class” the number of people sitting within that “class” increased as the portion of food available to share decreased. The exercise made you become visually aware of how real hunger and poverty is in our world.

Yes, we all know that hunger and poverty exist. However, how often are we ourselves faced with it? Let’s take conscious eating a step further. Erin continued on with a story about having met up with a friend and they were out to eat. Her friend would take bites of her food, sit back, and give herself time to enjoy what she was consuming while, as Erin describes, she sat there shoveling food into her mouth as fast as possible. Not being conscious or present to what she was enjoying. 

How often do you make breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner a priority? Not something you need to do to fuel the body and then jump in the car, get in the shower, go to practice, get into a meeting, and so on. But actually, say AND do; I am going to cook/order this, I am going to sit down, slowly eat to enjoy this meal, and relax in this moment of calm? Probably never. We so often sleep in as late as we can before we have to get up. Then we grab something quick as we run out the door or stop at our local spot to pick something up. We eat it in the car/bus/train in five seconds and then we are hustling with work until lunch. We do the same thing at lunch and the same thing at dinner. We shovel food in our mouths so fast that our stomach and our brain do not have time to connect that we are eating until (in some cases) we have overeaten. Then we are so full we can’t stand ourselves. 

In this conversation, I realized that (for myself) I am not truly, deeply, conscious of what I am doing. I am aware, I am present, but I am working so fast that I am not taking it all in. I am not SLOWING down long enough to really absorb or enjoy what I am eating, reading, listening to, working on…I am just trying to do it as fast as I can to get to the next thing. But why?! Why are we in such a damn hurry?

So, I encourage you to take a moment to think about this blog, think about your eating habits (not what you eat but HOW you eat), and your routines. Just sit with yourself for a moment and don’t roll your eyes and say to yourself “yea right, the kids need this, my spouse needs that, I’ve got to do/get ready for this, that and the other thing”. Tell your brain to shut-up; tell your spouse to leave you alone for 5 minutes and help with whatever. Take 3 deep breaths in and FULLY EXHALE. Then just sit and reflect, re-flect.

As I wrap up this blog, I’ll close with what I end most of my classes with…take the day as it unfolds, whatever you do not get to today, it will be there tomorrow, and you were not meant to get to it today. I will add, take time to slow down and enjoy/absorb what you are doing. 



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