I've been a pescatarian since 2016. People would ask me, "What do you mean pescatarian?" I would jokingly answer, "I don't eat animals with legs." Until someone raised a valid point that squids and octopuses have legs — and I do eat them. So I changed my statement. "I don't eat creatures with toes."
I was lucky that becoming a pescatarian wasn't forced upon me. It wasn't because of any health issues, nor dictated by religion. It was a decision made by my gut after coming back from my Yoga Teachers Training in Mysore, India.
India has the largest vegetarian population. And Mysore or Mysuru is the yoga capital of the world. Even yogis who visit this place are mostly vegetarians or vegans. And we all know that cows are sacred in India. So I was deprived of meat during my whole stay.
I thought that coming home to two grown men who are carnivorous would easily make me flip to my default meal — which was all-day breakfast. Yup! Spam, sausages, corned beef, sunny side-ups, and garlic fried rice. But to my surprise, when I eagerly tasted a tocino (cured pork) lying on our breakfast table for the first time after a month of no meat, I almost puked. Now, aside from being pescatarian, I would hardly eat rice.
Changing our eating habits is really difficult. Especially for Filipinos whose pastime is eating, snacking, munching, dining, and anything that would keep our mouths busy and stomachs happy.
Here are three A's to help you practice mindful eating.
Aim: Ask yourself what's your intention — based on the timing and amount of the food. Your answer should be because it's time to eat and your body is telling you that it's hungry. Which means you need to nourish it.
Attention: When you're eating, make sure that you put yourself in the present moment. Know that it takes our mind 20 minutes to process that our stomach is full. As much as possible, pace your eating, chew your food well before swallowing, and savor your meal.
Access: Don't make it convenient for you to grab sweets, chips, or any bad food that you have decided not to eat. Make sure you don't buy them and ask your housemates or colleagues not to leave bars of chocolates for example lying around the house or office tables.
Food is meant to help us live a happy and healthy life. And it's also meant to be enjoyed in the company of the people close to our hearts. Anything that's excessive will do us no good.
Let's be in control, and eat mindfully.
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