Eating mindfully can allow your yoga practice to go farther than the four corners of your mat. The physical poses of yoga can bring mindfulness to your daily routine. However, once this attitude reaches your plate, the best way forward may be unclear. There are many food movements that yogis may follow. Yet no singular diet is the ultimate truth. Nonetheless, the most important and insightful dietary trends boil down to eating mindfully through awareness of our food choices.

Learning about food movements can provide a perfect chance to reflect on your dietary selections. This mindful, yogic reflection may allow you to make informed decisions guided by the social, environmental, and personal nutritional consequences of food. Read on for my top 6 food movements to follow and their insight into eating mindfully.

Slow Food Movement – Slow down

The simplest way to eat like a yogi is to slow down. Give yourself space each day to indulge in food. Rather than rely on packaged, processed foods for fuel, take the time to cook meals with care. Carve out occasions to enjoy the complete and unabridged process of food’s sourcing, preparation, consumption, and even clean-up. The principle of pausing is reflected in the Slow Food Movement. Since its grassroots Italian origin, the movement has gone on to promote social and environmental justice through advocating “clean, good, and fair” foods.  Yet at its heart, the movement was birthed to encourage consumption of traditional, regional cuisine by slowing down overcooking.

eating mindfully

Buddhist-Inspired Mindful Eating – Be present

By slowing down, attitudes toward food may inevitably shift to presence. Presence is one of the take-home points of Mindful Eating, an approach inspired by Buddhist mindfulness. Simply arrive at the plate to savor your full spectrum of ingredients. Consumption of Mindful Eating becomes a sensory experience. You may ingest to explore sights, smells, feels, sounds, and tastes or your eating environment. Subsequently, eating may grow into a process of introspection. You can contemplate your food without passing judgment toward thoughts. Development of this awareness may allow you to be in-tune with your appetite to avoid under-eating essential nutrients and overeating unhealthy foods. Nonetheless, mindfulness teaches self-compassion when and if unhealthy food habits arise.

Ayurveda – Treat food as medicine

Awareness of appetite is a starting point for understanding how specific foods interact with your body. Ayurveda, a traditional “knowledge of life” that originates from India, posits that food is medicine. Our bodies digest foods based on our physiology, which informs our energetic “doshas” in Ayurvedic terminology. Our ability attain nourishment from food is undoubtedly influenced by nutrition. Yet it is also shaped by the season, the time of day, our stress levels, and many other factors. Thus, by paying attention to how food choices influence your digestion, you may understand which foods nourish your body.

Veganism – Save the animals

The consequences of food do not end in our bellies. Each ingredient on our plates influences the vast and interconnected ecosystem of life on earth. Veganism was born from a collective concern to defend the world’s web of life by protecting its animals. Inhumane practices surrounding factory farming and its devastating environmental impact inform vegan philosophy. Vegans replace animal products in their diet, cosmetics, and wardrobe with a creative array of humanely-sourced alternatives. If you are interested in the movement, begin by mindfully understanding whether animals were harmed in the making of your foods. Next, take baby steps to add tasty alternatives to animal products to your plate rather than taking an all-or-nothing approach.

eating mindfully

Farm To Table Movement – Taste the land, love its people

Food choices impact all living beings, including the land and the people who tend to it. The planet and its people form the centerpiece of the Farm To Table Movement. This movement promotes understanding the supply-chain production of food, supporting direct sourcing from farmers, and choosing fewer food miles when possible. The movement comes amidst concerns that farmers globally are grossly underpaid. This poverty may cause reliance on better-paying practices that are environmentally unsustainable. Moreover, this movement is informed by the environmental impact of transporting food across the planet for easy-access year-round. As with the other movements listed, this one begins with cultivating mindful knowledge of food’s full story.

Haute Cuisine – Indulge in beauty

Highlighting unique regional taste is a common element of the Farm To Table Movement and of Haute Cuisine. This movement, which has its roots in gourmet French cooking, invokes sensory experience through artistically-prepared edible artwork. Less is more about indulging in these small plates of beauty. Food may be served in multiple courses in minuscule but richly-satisfying portions. Thankfully, you don’t have to be on a Michelin-star diet to be inspired by Haute Cuisine. Spend time on aesthetic preparation of food and grant yourself permission to indulge in its beauty. Before long you’ll be eating mindfully like the classiest of yogis in the world.

Lacey Gibson

Hi, I'm Lacey Gibson. I am a Boston-based food writer, and an RYT-200 yoga teacher. My mission as a researcher, a writer, and a yoga teacher is to inspire social change in the global food system through eating and living mindfully. Connect with me to learn more about my life as a vegan-baking foodie, running junkie, traveling yogini, and (most importantly) genuine human being.

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