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The Importance of Mindful Eating: How to Eat for Better Health and Well-Being.

"Family dinners at home nourish both the body and the soul."

Displayed in the image is the dining area of my family home. Every evening our family of nine individuals, including myself, would gather around this table to reconnect, replenish our bodies, and express gratitude.

Regardless of the hectic nature of our schedules, there was always an unspoken understanding that we would all be present for dinner. As we convened around the dining table, we would relax, or be encouraged to settle down. At every meal we expressed gratitude for the nourishment before us, occasionally taking turns acknowledging something positive from our day as we passed around the table.

According to Dr. Simmons, it holds significance to gather around a table, unwind, express gratitude for our meals, and practice mindfulness while eating. When we consume our food in front of a television, at our workstations, or while standing, we miss out on establishing a connection with our food mindfully. We also miss out on creating an environment that supports our parasympathetic system. This helps in creating a restful, repair state for our bodies.

During my son's final year of high school, he held a part-time job at a golf course. Occasionally, he would arrive home later than usual in the evenings. To ensure he had a meal waiting for him, my husband and I would dine together and save his portion in the refrigerator. The second time this happened, we saw our son venture out onto the dock where we were enjoying the sunset. He wanted to know if we had eaten. We said yes. We tell him your dinner is in the

refrigerator. He looked at us and said, "Dinner is not reheating a meal in the microwave and eating without you folks."

We looked at each other and realized that in all the years we had spent sitting around the dinner table with no TV in sight and listening to calm, relaxing music, we had successfully followed both of our parents' examples. Food nourishes the body, mind, and soul.

As you journey with me, start taking steps to get back to the table. Choose 1 or two meals to eat at the table. Light a candle, play some music, say thank you for the food, and take time to enjoy your meal. If you live alone, it is still important to pay attention to your meal and rest at the table to nourish you. When we pay attention to our meals, our bodies begin the digestive process and create an environment that supports digestion, rest, and repair.

Here is a recipe I made this weekend for our family and friends. This is one of our favourite winter dishes; meatball soup. Give the recipe a try, but more importantly, sit around the table with family, friends or yourself and enjoy the blessing of the harvest and the food in front of you. Your gut, heart, mind, and soul will thank you.

Meatball Soup
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