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Mindful Living for Better Health and to Prevent Food Waste

posted Apr 5, 2019, 1:12 PM by Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, E-RYT   [ updated Apr 5, 2019, 1:36 PM ]
By Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, E-RYT


You might be wondering how mindfulness can prevent food waste? Well, if you consider that in the US we threw out approximately “33 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010” according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, then perhaps becoming more aware of what goes into the production and disposal of the food we discard will help you become more mindful to waste less food.  The mindful approach can also translate to a healthier you.  

Mindfulness can seem like an abstract term to many, and is even hard to attain in our busy, ever-changing world we live in.   Commitments and deadlines can take you further away from truly being able to enjoy daily living.  Taking mindful moments can help you keep things in perspective and allow you to approach life with more clarity and gratitude. 

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the state of being aware of all that is going on around you and within you.  By objectively observing all that is going on around us, we are able to respond calmly.   We become more productive and joyful throughout our day.  

Mindful exercises such as yoga, meditation and mindful eating can promote healthy blood sugar levels, healthy weight, blood pressure, improve sleep and reduce anxiety and depression.  

Mindfulness exercises such as yoga, meditation and mindful eating are all ways we can explore our surroundings with more gratitude and resolve.  In our Healthy Living and Diabetes Prevention session at the USDA this past March, we explored all three aspects of mindfulness, yoga, meditation and mindful eating.

 



Mindful moments we can do at work

Office Yoga

Trying yoga stretches throughout the day such as chair yoga can increase your flexibility both physically and mentally.   Try these apps on your phone or computer: Office Yoga, Daily Yoga; Chair Yoga

 

Meditation

Meditation takes on many different forms and can be done throughout the day. There are apps you can download on your phone or computer.  Headspace; Guided Meditation; Let’s Meditate.   Other ways to meditate are by following the suggestions that follow:   

*Simply sitting still for a few moments, focusing on your in-and-out breath.  When the mind takes us to distractions, we gently guide it back to our breathing.

*Taking a walk and observing nature is another way we can bring serenity and calm into our lives.  

*Some people find that soft classical music or nature sounds help them achieve a meditative state with more ease.  The idea of meditation is to train our minds to relax amid any distractions. 

 

Mindful eating

Have you ever been so focused on reading or watching a show while eating that when you finally looked down at the food on the plate it was gone?  This is mindless eating and can be a great cause of overeating as well as weight-gain.

Mindful eating allows us to see our food in a whole new light.  It allows us to enjoy every bite and helps us slow down eating.  It is reported that it takes twenty minutes for our brain to get signals from our gut hormones that we are full.  So, if we eat quicker than twenty minutes we will tend to overeat, because we have not received the satiety signals from our gut.

*Try setting a timer on your watch or, when at home, on your stove timer, to twenty minutes and see if you can take that time to finish your food.

*Chew your food thoroughly. 

*Avoid reading the paper, watching television or scrolling your smartphone while eating. 

 

Try practicing mindfulness everyday by taking mindful breaks throughout your day.  Mindful breaks can be one minute or as long as you need to get the mind and body calm and joyful.  Consistently practicing mindfulness can create more harmony and good health in your life.   For additional resources on how you can prevent food loss and waste click here.

 

Sources:

1.       Goldstein, C. M., Josephson, R., Xie, S., & Hughes, J. W. (2012). Current perspectives on the use of meditation to reduce blood pressure. International Journal of Hypertension, 2012, 578397.

2.       Appl Nurs Res. 2014 Nov;27(4):227-30. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2014.02.002. Epub 2014 Feb 10.,

The effects of mindfulness eating and yoga exercise on blood sugar levels of pregnant women with gestational diabetes mellitus.


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