If you watch how a toddler naturally eats you will see that they are all little mindful eaters. When my three year old son is left to his own devices he naturally eats when he is hungry, has no interest in food when he is not and seems to be listening to his body in terms of balancing his nutrients based on his daily needs. One day he asks for protein rich foods, another day it is calcium rich food etc. One day he eats a ton of cucumbers the next day he won’t touch them. It seems we are born with the skills to eat mindfully. As parents it can be difficult to trust in our children’s innate wisdom regarding regulating their diet. We are used to taking the reins to ensure they have regular eating schedules according to the clock, eat based on the food guide and eat with good manner ‘trying a bit of everything’ whether this is in sync with their bodies particular needs or not. Imagine instead if we do as Hirschman & Zaphiropoulos suggest in their book Preventing Childhood Eating Problems and follow the lead of our children by asking and responding to, ‘are you hungry?’, ‘what do you want to eat?’ and ‘have you had enough?’ Think of how this approach could support children in maintaining their connection to their bodies.
Over time we lose connection with our bodies, for a number of reasons but it most certainly was once there. The changed eating habits and connection with our bodies that results from mindfulness are not therefore completely new to us. Rather it is a return to a more natural way of eating that may just feel foreign due to years of alienation from it. That is why session 1 of the Deeper Cravings course is titled ‘Reclaiming Home’, because it is a reclamation for us, these aren’t completely new skills, they only feel new because so many of us lost touch with them so long ago. If you observe closely you will see that babies and toddlers are little Zen masters and that we can learn a great deal from the wisdom they share from their high chairs.
© Deeper Cravings, 2012.