Thanksgiving is the one day a year when all we do is eat! Food occupies our minds on the days leading up to this celebration and for several days after, as we gobble down leftovers.  For some, this is just a celebration in passing and a rare occasion of indulgence, while for others, Thanksgiving is a feared stumbling block on the path to weight loss and self-control.  And how easy it is to lose self-control with Grandma’s pie or your favorite green bean casserole staring you down from the center of the table. “It’s only once a year” after all, you justify.

Well, this Thanksgiving, I’d like to offer a suggestion – perhaps one that will put your mind at ease and help you survive this holiday gathering. EAT CONSCIOUSLY.

Healthy eating is not just what we eat but how we eat. So often we eat mindlessly, stuffing our mouths with food while watching television, working at the computer or even driving. The pleasure of eating lies in slowing down and fully experiencing your food. Taking the time to enjoy your food will also help you digest and may just help you cut down on those after meal acid reflux and indigestion problems.

Additionally, and personally I’d just like to add that whoever does the cooking has spent hours in the kitchen. Conscious Eating shows the chef some respect too 😉

So, how do you eat consciously?
On average we chew each bite only eight times, which is practically swallowing our food whole.  It’s no wonder that many people have digestive problems. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where contact with our teeth and digestive enzymes in our saliva break down food. So the more work we do in our mouths, the less stress we put on our digestive system, which helps to improves assimilation and allows our bodies to absorb maximum nutrition from each bite of food. More chewing produces more endorphins, the brain chemicals responsible for creating good feelings. It’s also helpful for weight loss, because when we are chewing well, we are more apt to notice when we are full. Additionally, the more we chew, the sweeter our food becomes, helping to combat that mad dash for a brownie after finishing our meal.

Say thanks: Pause before each meal to say thank you to God, the Earth, the Universe, the animal and the cook.  Saying thanks shows appreciation for the abundance in our lives and allows you to slow down and separate your hectic day from your meal.

Experience your food:  Use all your senses to indulge in your food. See it, Smell it, Taste it and Touch it.  With the holidays around the corner, it is easy to overindulge, but experiencing your food will help you control how quickly and how much you eat – and you will enjoy it so much more!

These tips may be confusing and difficult to put into practice at first, since we are used to a steady stream of noise accompanying our quick eating habits. But as you create a new habit, you will begin to appreciate eating without rushing and that is a special gift.

After all, sweet potato pie comes around only once a year – so why not savor it?

From my family to yours – have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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