by Ally Aletha

When unregulated, stress has us reaching in the wrong direction, toward toxic people, places and things as a means of comfort. For many, this means processed foods that do more harm than good. To manage our food choices, we must manage our mood choices. Mindfulness is the key to success in this and all areas of life. Here are a few powerful practices to help you become more mindful before reaching for something. Indulge in these!

Go to your pantry and choose one processed item, such as a box of pasta. Next, go to your fridge and pick out one piece of produce, such as an apple. Place one item in each hand, and turn your attention to the breath. Lift each hand slowly, holding the items out in front of you. As you continue to breathe deeply, invite a dialogue between your body and the food. Ask your body which one it would like the best. Now, mindfully take your gaze back and forth between the two items. Notice the differences in texture and color, size and shape. Feel these foods in your hands and feel their energy. You will begin to notice something very interesting. Your body will feel lighter and happier as you look at the apple. It will feel heavier and more fatigued as you look at the processed food, all of this before you’ve even had one bite. Why? Whole foods are closer to the earth, their source, and have more life in them. This is what your body truly wants. Your body will always crave the foods with the most life! But this isn’t magic. The magic happens when you choose from this place of power. Stop. Breathe. Observe. Eat.

Find a string of beads; any kind will do. Sit in a comfortable position while holding the beads in your lap. Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath. When ready, place one bead between your fingertips. As you hold it, think about something that makes you happy. This can be absolutely anything, even a simple cup of coffee. Just summon any thought that makes you feel good and milk it. Massage it. Dwell until satisfied. When ready, slide to the next bead and repeat the process. You are now in the Gratitude Zone, where miracles happen, where there is no limit to how good you can feel. Consider spending a few moments with your beads, and nourish your soul before eating.

Getting into the Flow
Stand up tall and bring your feet together. Place your arms down by your sides with your palms facing forward. Relax your shoulders. Soften your jaw. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Be here. Be present. Feel the earth under your feet supporting you effortlessly. Then, slowly inhale as you raise your arms overhead, reaching out across the horizon. All the while, affirm that you are filling up with life, love and prosperity. As you complete the inhale, bring your hands and intentions together in a prayer position overhead. Next, begin your exhale. Release the breath in a steady stream as you bring your hands first to the forehead, then to the lips and lastly to the heart. Just for this breath, let go of fear. Let go of judgment. Let go of suffering. Pause. Feel amazing because you are! Repeat this sequence as many times as you like. You are now in the flow. You are strong and flexible. You are beautiful and unlimited. You are fueling your body in all the right ways.

With mindfulness as our main objective, friends, we can do anything! We can listen to our bodies and respond with love. We can appreciate the beauty all around us and watch it multiply. We can go with the flow and enjoy the ride. We all get the same 86,400 seconds each day, each one as decadent as we choose. Savor the moment, and you will make the right choices, in and out of the kitchen.