5 Important Factors for Dining Room Design for Mindful Eating
In spirituality, the physical has been termed as not the most important part of one’s being. In fact, spiritual work starts beyond the physical. So, should we disregard the physical? Not at all.
In fact, you can only taste the non-physical or the primordial while being in the physical self. You can only get somewhere from where you are at the moment. So, body is extremely important. In Hindu traditions, human form has been termed to be the most important one. For, it is only in this form that one can experience the divine or the infinite. Serious spiritual seekers therefore, take good care of their body and mind, for they are the instruments that will aid one’s journey to the final destination.
In our modern era, the houses have elaborate and separate dining rooms. So, how should a dining room be to best take care of your eating and body.
Of course, the ideal would be to sit on the floor and eat. For, the very way you sit cross-legged impacts your digestion. The motion to eat and chew by sitting straight also energizes your abdominal region, making the whole process efficient.
In absence of such a place, one can at least take care of a few things that will help.1
Well lighted: The Dining Room – where one eats one’s meals including breakfast and lunch should be well lighted – specifically with natural light. Natural bright light helps one eat well and with a happier mood. How you eat – feeling positive and good – impacts how the food works for you. Also, studies have found that eating in a well lit room helps you to eat lesser calories. So, picking bright pendant lights could give your dining table that lovely lift, which is also great for your health and happiness.
According to a study done by Cornell University, people tend to eat on average 175 more calories in a brightly lit fast food restaurant than they would in that same fast food restaurant when it was dimly lit and played relaxing music. There was no difference in the types of food people ordered, they just ate less of it and were more satisfied with their meal. This challenges earlier studies stating that people tend to mindlessly eat more food when they are relaxed.2
Relaxed place: When one is eating, one should be completely relaxed. Given how the news – whether about global situations or local political scenario – tends to increase one’s stress levels, it is important to stay away from any access to news etc. If one eats in a relaxed place, the tendency to eat fat-inducing foods will be less and body will also store less of fat. It has been found that when people are stressed, their bodies store more fat than when they are relaxed. (Björntorp, P. (2001). Do stress reactions cause abdominal obesity and comorbidities? The International Association for the Study of Obesity, Obesity Reviews, 2 (2), 73–86.)3
Right Fragrance: Smells impact how one eats and how much one eats. Research studies have found that when people smell sweet things like chocolate and cake, the hunger feelings are triggered strongly and they end up over eating. Often binge-eating is also associated with these experiences. However, Neutral smells like say peppermint or lemon or green apple – tends to curb one’s appetite. In a study where participants smelled the neutral smells before eating actually lost an average of 5 lbs a month (30 lbs in 6 months!)!4
No Music, Please: It may sound counter-intuitive but one shouldn’t have any music on while eating. Eating should happen in quiet atmosphere. Why? Because studies have found that listening to music – irrespective of volume or type – increases one’s food intake. Engagement with music increases the duration of a meal and consequently volume of the intake leading to higher calorie consumption.5
Use Copper for Water: Water is an important part of one’s meals and body itself. Water is also impacted a lot by what we think, how it is stored and what state it is in. Since it is so sensitive, it is important to make sure that it is kept properly before it is consumed. It is said in the Indian yogic traditions, that one should keep water overnight in a copper vessel before consuming it. It energizes the water properly and also copper surfaces have shown to have strong anti-bacterial properties! In fact studies have found that copper surfaces placed in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) can kill 97% of the bacteria that may cause hospital-acquired infections!
Antimicrobial copper surfaces in intensive care units (ICU) kill 97 percent of bacteria that can cause hospital-acquired infections, according to preliminary results of a multisite clinical trial in the United States.
Designing the right room
Generally, one either doesn’t have the creativity enough or the resources to design the home one needs. It can often be overwhelming having to choose paint for the walls as well aswall decals
, furniture, lighting fixtures and so much more. Plus, with so many options to choose from, sometimes there too much choice, from wall art prints to beautifully designed tapestries! However, I have found that if you are in India, there is one very useful home design portal – complete with articles, products, professional designers directory and forums – Homify.in – that one can use. Check out its dining room options and designs for some great ideas.
Most importantly, use your own creative instincts and intuition. Because, after all, you need to be comfortable with the place where you will be building your and your family’s physical well being. What we eat is what becomes our body. So it is imperative that we eat consciously.
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