A couple of weeks before my son turned six months, I introduced him to solid foods. And this reminded me of the raisin exercise, which we did during the first class of the mindfulness course. The raisin exercise aims to teach us how to eat mindfully. It starts with touching a raisin with your hand. Before eating it, you smell it, you touch it, you look at it. You appreciate it, every single detail. Then, you put it in your mouth, suck on it and experience it with your tongue. You look out for sensations in your mouth. You chew on it. Eventually, you swallow the raisin and observe your feelings while swallowing. When was the last time you ate in such a way? When I did this exercise at the mindfulness course, I was unable to recall when I ate in such a way.
Being in a hurry, to get to places, to achieve things at work and in daily life, it is so easy to forget to enjoy our food. This often leads to eating more and, as it has been in my case, the weight gain. Getting pregnant and giving up smoking made it even worse. So I am working hard on eating mindfully, just like babies do in order to come back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
So, in order to eat mindfully, as adults, we have to unlearn bad eating habits. When babies are given food, they appreciate it ( or not!). They look at every single piece as if it was something completely unique. At every mealtime, my son explores his food. Sometimes my partner and I think that he does not like something as he makes a funny face. But unless he spits it out, we know that he is simply exploring the new flavour. You can see appreciation in his eyes. Touching and even throwing food, as annoying as they are, are all part of the exploration process. Our family meals take now a very long time. But this is how long meals are supposed to last.
Food should not be eaten in a hurry. It is so wrong that our lives are often so busy that we can not even properly focus on family meals. However, as parents, we don’t have a choice, as we can not leave babies alone when they are eating, as they could choke. And this is one of many joys of parenting. I guess that having a baby provides a great opportunity to learn to eat mindfully.
Below is the picture I have worked on over the past couple of weeks. It is called Joy of parenting.