13 Ways of Reducing Refined Carbs
Purabi Gunjal (she/her)

Purabi Gunjal (she/her)

Jan 18Nutrition

13 Ways of Reducing Refined Carbs

Indians practised mindful eating in the olden times. But today, it is a bygone and forgotten concept. With the rise of life-threatening health problems, it is about time that we start being conscious of our health, food and nutrition. Read to find out ways to eat mindfully and its benefits.

Nowadays, due to our fast-paced lifestyles, we have stopped giving importance to food and nutrition. We hurriedly eat our meals without chewing them well, order fast foods and desserts to curb our cravings, and don’t eat our meals on time. When we order food from outside, we do not have much control over the quality and hygiene. These may seem like small problems, but in the long run, are deteriorating our health.

What is the importance of food and nutrition in our lives?

Our body needs food and water to function optimally. In other words, food is fuel for our bodies. Our performance also relies on the kind of food we consume.

What were some of the healthy Indian food practices in the olden times?

Ancient Indian traditions were inclined towards mindful eating. Some of these practices are outlined here:

  • Sitting down for meals: In the earlier times, before the entry of dining tables, Indians used to sit down on the ground in the ‘Sukhasana’ or the cross-legged position to eat their meals.
  • Having a proper breakfast: Breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Within an hour after waking up, everyone would have a hearty breakfast before starting their day.
  • Using useful utensils for cooking and eating: People served food and water in brass or copper utensils instead of glass, ceramic or plastic ones. Indians also cooked in iron vessels. It aided in increasing the iron content in the food.
  • Using earthen pots: Instead of refrigerators, people used earthen pots to store water, which acted as a natural coolant.
  • Consuming fresh food: Food was always prepared and consumed fresh. That is why the nutritional value of that food was much higher.
  • Eating without distractions: Everybody used to sit together while having meals and catch up with their lives. There were no other distractions like electronic gadgets, films or other entertainment.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is being present in the moment and being aware of the things happening with and around you. In other words, it means that one should not be thinking of other things when involved in a particular activity. Every task, be it eating, working, shopping or watching movies, can be performed mindfully.

What is mindful eating?

Mindful eating is a technique or method that can help you gain control over your food habits.


How can one practice mindful eating?

Here are some of the ways you can bring changes to your eating habits.

1. Eliminate all distractions:

The first step is to consume your meals without doing other activities like watching television, texting, calling, reading or similar distractions. Keep everything aside to be aware of what you are eating and enjoy your food.

Benefits: It allows you to focus on your meal, thus improving your relationship with food.

2. Sit in a positive environment:

The way you eat your food also matters. Many eat food during meetings or while travelling. If possible, sit down on the floor for eating your meals as that has many benefits. If not, at least sit in a clean environment while eating food.

Benefits: In a quiet environment, you are relaxed and can eat your meals peacefully. You will also understand how much you should be eating.

3. Eat healthy, fresh meals:

Eat healthy meals with ample nutrients that our body needs. Include more fibre, proteins, and healthy fats in your meals and avoid replacing this with refined foods.

Benefits: Eating healthy foods will help you to maintain a healthy weight. You can even try mindful eating if you want to lose weight. A healthy meal consumed mindfully will also reduce your episodes of binge eating. When you have eaten enough, you will not feel overfull after your meals. Thus, you can avoid complications associated with overeating like acidity, constipation, bloating, and indigestion. Freshly cooked food has more nutrients than previously cooked, packaged, and processed foods. Your body will be able to function more optimally.

4. Chew your food well:

Chewing food well is of the utmost importance. Take small bites and patiently chew them. It will take you more time to eat, help you understand when you have eaten enough, and prevent you from overeating.

Benefits: Digestion begins in the mouth itself. When you eat mindfully, your digestion improves. Once you slow down, you will also eat less than what you would eat in a hurry. Thus, you will be able to maintain a healthy weight. You will also feel fuller and will not crave snacks in between meals.

5. Do not overload your plate:

Some people have the habit of taking a lot of food at the beginning of the meal but cannot finish it. Hence, take small portions, chew it well and if required, take another serving. However, it is possible to practice this only when there are no distractions.

Benefits: It will not only prevent the wastage of food but also save you from overeating.

6. Use all your senses:

  • Sight: Look at what you are consuming; this is possible when you get rid of other distractions.
  • Smell: When you take the food near your mouth, acknowledge the fragrance of the various ingredients used in cooking.
  • Touch: Eat with your hands whenever possible.
  • Taste: Chew your food well and understand the different flavours produced in the mouth.

Benefits: When you are eating with awareness, you will start enjoying the taste of the food. It will enhance the joy of eating.

7. Practice mindful grocery shopping:

Choose healthy and nutritious ingredients whenever you go shopping. Do not buy any processed foods to avoid craving it. So, whenever you are hungry, you will reach out to healthier options.

Tip: Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry or craving junk food. Because of not being in the right frame of mind, you may end up shopping for foods that are not healthy for you.

Why should you practice mindful eating?

Apart from the many benefits mentioned earlier, there are a few other reasons why you should be practising mindful eating.

  • Medical conditions like PCOD/ PCOS, diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, thyroid, or obesity can be managed or controlled if you start eating mindfully. If you do not have any complications and you eat mindfully, you can avoid getting these problems.
  • People following a strict diet regimen or having eating disorders or disordered eating habits tend to have a negative relationship with food. When they start practising mindfulness, it will improve their relationship with food.

In today’s day and age when everyone is bound by technology, how can you convince people to eat mindfully? Nowadays, no one is giving much importance to their health. People in their late 20’s or early 30’s are suffering from hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, and cholesterol - conditions that usually occur in people above 45 years of age. Only when they are affected by these conditions is when they start focusing on their health. Health should be your first and foremost priority. You can approach the best doctors, nutritionists, or trainers, but until you decide to change and adopt a healthier lifestyle, no one can help you. 

Disclaimer: This information is educational and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes or adding supplements.

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