The average person makes over 200 food decisions every day. How do you choose the food you eat?
Mindfulness. To make a sustainable food choice, the right habits must be in place. We asked Jeanette Bronée, author of EAT TO FEEL FULL, to explain how mindful eating plays a role in a sustainable food system.
Bronée believes, “when we start eating differently, we live differently.” A healthy diet of whole, unprocessed foods requires more planning than a fast-food diet. We live with a greater awareness for the world around us and our decisions reflect this.
“Mindful eating is more about conscious choices.”
Bronée suggests working backwards from the table. How do you plan meals into your day?
Where are you getting your food from? Your routine may include picking up a croissant and coffee on your way to the office each morning, then ordering lunch from the corner deli. Consider where those foods are sourced, how they are packaged and how you feel after eating them.
Now consider a mindful approach.The routine changes to include coffee you brewed at home and carried in a reusable mug, plus a yogurt and fresh fruit. Lunch is a salad of ingredients you purchased at the farmers market and prepared at home. All foods are packaged in reusable containers. You know the source of each food,and you feel nourished eating them.
“It’s not only the resources of the food….also about how you care for more than yourself when you make a choice,” says Bronée. The mindful approach is healthier for both you and the environment.
Before hunger strikes, think about the cause and effect a particular food will have on your body as well as on on everything else, globally.
A relationship is established with every food choice. What kind of relationship do you want to have? Where does it come from? Does it come from a factory farm or does it come from a farmer? The source of the food is the first relationship.
We all have private relationships with the foods we eat. Bronée explains that it is about how we’re nourished. The experience of selecting food is as nourishing as the eating. Hand picking fresh produce for a family meal versus picking up a fast food meal; each offers a different type of relationship. And the food takes on a completely different meaning.
When our choices are in line with what we believe, it is easier to support a healthier food system. The fast food meal has a disconnect from source to consumer. Ingredient origin is unclear, hiding knowledge and compromising the food relationship.
Food knowledge leads to a good food relationship, where you choose food based on how it makes you feel. Here, Bronée prefers the term nourishment over nutrition. She views nourishment as the whole relationship between current body, future self and global impact.
Future Self, Future Planet
Take a long-term perspective. Think of the future self to inform your food decisions. Bronée says that, “our future self comes in when we start the journey.”
Organic produce is a good example. Price is often the deciding factor against it. Why spend more for an organically grown tomato? Pesticides. Over time those pesticides add up to hefty toxin loads in the body. What you save on tomatoes today will be spent towards medical bills in the future.
Honor your future self by planning for healthy habits now. “We have to push it back to the planning stages and begin to shift those habits,” suggests Bronée. Habit change takes mindfulness.
People don’t think of themselves as their future selves. Often it is how we feel in the moment and we act accordingly. Bronée says everyone has to have a strategy for change.
One strategy is selecting restaurants with a more sustainable approach to the food. Another is changing our kitchen so we feel more comfortable there and want to cook for ourselves and family. This is mindful eating by way of conscious choices.
The current food system is a result of daily choices and habits. In Bronée’s Path for Life Self Nourishment program she teaches how food knowledge, mindfulness and habits combine to change the way we eat. She says, “the beauty of it is, when you change your food, you change so many other things. It is integrated, it doesn’t change alone.”
Read more about Bronée’s approach in EAT TO FEEL FULL.
Jeannette Bronée is the founder of Path for Life Self-Nourishment Program, which includes personal counseling sessions to help individuals find their healthiest relationship with food. She is an expert on Emotional Eating and hopes to create a paradigm shift away from diet culture. Visit Path For Life online for healthy recipes, tips and tricks, and information about the9-step Self Nourishment Program.
Brittany Barton is the creative behind SparkleKitchen.com. Brittany offers real food recipes, sustainable living guidance and inspiration for others to become more sparkly versions of themselves.