Mindful Snacking, Gut Health, and You
Food In A Busy World
We all lead busy lives filled with distractions and multi-tasking, and eating can quickly become just another hassle that we struggle to scratch off our to-do lists. When eating and snacking become automatic tasks, we can lose track of the link between food and how our bodies feel: good or bad, full or bloated, satiated or dissatisfied. Mindful snacking and mindful eating are good ways to reconnect with our bodies, our food, and our guts.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness has a long and rich history that goes all the way back to Zen Buddhism, and it’s related to the practice of meditation. At its most basic, it means paying undistracted, non-judgemental attention to our surroundings and our actions, whatever they may be. Mindfulness allows us to be fully present and to experience the moment before moving on with our day.
Mindful eating and mindful snacking simply means applying the principle of mindfulness to consuming food. The good news is that this doesn’t involve much more than paying attention to your food as you eat it. However, while it may be simple, it’s not always easy, and there’s often more than just your mind to contend with.
Who’s Running This Show? Gut Bacteria and Sugar Cravings
At Fody, we’re all about staying in tune with our guts when we eat and making choices that promote healthy, happy tummies.
But making gut-happy choices is a two-way street. Over the past decades, research has increasingly shown that our cravings and nutritional impulses aren’t just a matter of what we feel like munching on: they’re actually complex interactions between our guts and our brains, dictated by our gut microbiome – the bacteria that live in our intestines.
Our gut flora call a lot of the shots when we’re deciding what we want to eat. An unbalanced gut flora where harmful gut bacteria thrive tends to be the result of the foods we eat. As a result, these bacteria cause cravings that make us reach for sugary, unhealthy snacks that make them feel great–but that leave us feeling tired, gassy, bloated, and even nauseous.
The good news is that mindful snacking and mindful eating can help you take control back from your microscopic hijackers. There are a few basic steps that can help us eat and snack mindfully.
Tips for Mindful Eating
Plan Ahead with Tummy-Friendly Snacks
One of the simplest ways to avoid letting cravings take over at snack time is to plan ahead. Whether you’re at home or on the go, having some pre-planned healthy, gut-friendly snacks on hand can help you satisfy your hunger and get on with your day.
Eat Without Distractions
Of course, this is easier said than done in a hyper-connected world. Most of us are used to eating in front of a screen, whether it’s spending a lunch break at the computer, or scrolling on social media when we eat alone. Mindful eating invites us to pay attention to our food without anything else taking up our attention. When we slow down and enjoy the taste, textures and experiences of food, it helps our bodies send our brains the signal that we’re full and satisfied, and prevents us from overeating.
Don’t Eat Because Of Stress
It can be very easy to use food as a way to keep our stress in check and to automatically reach for a sugary snack to help control our feelings. While this can feel like a temporary solution, it usually feeds our bad gut bacteria while doing nothing to help us solve our problems.
Mindful eating means checking in with how we’re feeling when we want to eat, and determining whether we’re truly hungry or having a different physical or emotional experience. If it turns out that stress is the culprit, you can interrupt cravings and stress eating with these five ways to beat stress, or even incorporate movement into your day as a way to cope and take back control.
Noticing Patterns and Making Changes for Gut Health
Just like our food choices have ramifications beyond the food we eat, mindful eating has benefits that go far beyond our next meal or snack. Over time, it can help us become more in tune with our eating habits, and paying attention to our eating can help us curb stress snacking and find different, healthier ways to respond to stress in our lives.Eating without distractions also frees our minds up to enjoy delicious food! If you’re looking for gut-friendly and bloat-free foods to enjoy, check out our products, or try out some of our favourite recipes today.