Mindful Eating – A Key Practice in Functional Medicine Enjoy

Nutritional Therapist Shakela Shan’s top tips for eating mindfully with a bonus recipe to keep you warm after a chilly night of trick or treating!

Eat each meal slowly and chew your food thoroughly, around 20-30 times before swallowing – the more it is broken up in the mouth, the easier it is to digest further down the digestive tract and the more nutrients you will absorb. This helps nourish the body helping you feel satiated until your next meal.

Take a moment to connect with your food – before eating your meal, express a prayer of gratitude for yourself or those who prepared it. Focus on deep breathing to help your body switch to a state of calm and prepare the body for the secretion of stomach acids needed for digestion. This results in greater absorption of key nutrients, which are needed by the body to carry our vital bodily functions.

Are you eating instead of drinking? We can often mistake hunger and cravings for thirst, which is why it is important to keep hydrated with healthy fluids throughout the day. I often talk about seeing the stomach in thirds – a third for liquid, a third for solid foods, and a third for air and space.

Listen to your body cues and stop eating when 80% full to avoid unconsciously overeating – it can take about 20 minutes for the gut to signal feelings of satiety to the brain.

Know the difference between emotional acts of eating – get in touch with what is the driving force of your relationship with food, than eating when you feel bored, stressed, sad or lonely.

Make mealtimes enjoyable – you are more likely to absorb and digest your food better if you consume it in ‘your happy place’. Mine is sitting cross legged on the floor in a sunny spot surrounded by houseplants with other fun-loving people.

Food is nourishment – connect with whole food and fall back in love with cooking and joyful eating. Pay attention to the colours on your plate and savour the flavours bringing all senses to the meal. It doesn’t have to be perfect or complicated, just one small step such as a kitchen cupboard detox, adding a seasonal vegetable to your plate or growing a favourite herb can be a good place to begin.


Warm Golden Turmeric Drink Recipe

Serves 1

250ml milk of your choice

½ inch fresh root turmeric grated or ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric powder

½ inch fresh root ginger grated or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger powder

Pinch of ground cinnamon powder

Pinch of black pepper

Natural sweetener of your choice (optional)

  1. In a small pan add all of the above ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer on low for 5 minutes.
  2. Pour into your favourite cup using a small sieve.
  3. You can also add other spices of your choice such as cardamom, saffron, cocoa, nutmeg and star anise. Enjoy J