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A Note From Katie: Mindful Eating + Spring Cleaning

The energy of Spring gives me a little extra hop in my step. Considering how much I commute all over the city for Unfold, I’ll take an energy boost any time I can get it! Most of the time I’m a nomadic yogi - walking from one client to the next with my backpack filled with my iPad, journal, and of course LUNCH.

So what’s in my lunchbox and how do I eat on-the-go? That depends...

Ideally, I would have an hour to sit and eat an organic vegetarian meal, lovingly prepared the night before and perfectly stored in a glass container. However, shopping, planning, preparing, and even finding the TIME to sit and enjoy food in an ideal way isn’t always realistic. But it’s not impossible, and I have proof! :)

Realistically, however, my lunches are usually a little more on-the-go. Sometimes I’ll have a protein bar and an apple as I’m walking from one class to the next or a lunch meeting with a prospective client to iron out the details about their wellness program.

While eating on-the-go and doing business over lunch might sound like sub-par eating habits, something that I can ALWAYS manage to incorporate into my meal is mindfulness + gratitude.

If I’m eating an apple as I walk between classes, I can choose to walk and eat with as much awareness as possible. I appreciate the bright red skin of the apple. I listen to its crunch and I take in the flavor of the fruit as I mindfully place one foot in front of the other. I even pay attention to the ambiance around me as I eat, just like you would in a restaurant. I might walk past one of Chicago’s amazing outdoor sculptures and savor its unique beauty as I continue on my way.

Sweet home, Chicago!

If I’m meeting with a client and we’re discussing a new program over lunch, I often take a moment and contemplate how food brings people together. I appreciate sharing a meal with another person. It can become the perfect venue to connect with each other about yoga, for example. I give thanks for the joy that social connection offers.

Sometimes I find myself without ANY time for lunch. If I know I have back-to-back classes (turns out lunch time yoga and meditation classes are our most popular!), carving out time for lunch may be difficult, or even impossible. On those days, I plan ahead and eat a big breakfast packed with healthy fats and protein, to keep me fueled.

A leisurely breakfast at home is a treat. I love taking a few moments to appreciate the flexibility and variability that my work offers. The ability to make my own schedule is a luxury that does not go unnoticed. I can enjoy a healthy breakfast in the comfort of my own home, together with my sweet dog and my (sometimes sweet, always savory) husband.

This time of year is a great opportunity to examine old habits that might be in need of a little spring cleaning. Spring is all about moving forward and connecting to the energy of LIFE. It’s time to clear out the cold, dry qualities of winter and invite a clean, fresh perspective into your body and onto your plate. Just like farmers till the earth, fertilize the soil, and plant crops, you can use Spring’s momentum to plant seeds of mindful eating habits that can bear fruit for you throughout year.

At Unfold, we’re so passionate about the topic of mindful eating that we’ve created an entire new program to help you integrate these tools into your life. This isn’t a diet! We’ll be dishing out all the yummy details next week, along with a very exciting addition to our team. Until then, here are three tips about eating mindfully:

  1. Let Go of Judgement: Mindfulness is about inviting the present moment into your life, without judgement. Food can trigger all sorts of unpleasant feelings and emotions like guilt, anxiety, and self-criticism. Do your best to eat healthy foods that fuel you and make you feel good, but don’t beat yourself up when (not if because this happens to all of us) you eat something cheap, easy, or not so healthy.

  2. Practice Gratitude: Being grateful for what you have helps to shift your perspective from everything you DON’T have (the perfect body, the ideal weight, the time to workout) and helps you to focus on everything you DO have (food to fill your belly, friends to eat with, and an amazing variety of food all year round). Eating a mango in the dead of winter in Chicago is truly amazing!

  3. Stay Inspired: Try cooking with a new spice, checking out a new restaurant, or creating a new recipe with a friend - keep it fresh! Food is a wonderful way to be inspired by the world around you. Get your senses involved, slow down, and savor every last beautiful bite.

What is your relationship with food like? Is eating a point of stress or joy? Do you want to become more mindful of how, why, and what you eat? We’ll discuss all this and more this month - stay tuned and happy eating!



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