What Is Mindfulness?
Put simply, mindfulness is about being consciously aware of what’s happening around you at a certain moment, without worrying about the past or the future.
Along with meditation, mindfulness is a Buddhist concept that focuses on existing in the present moment. If you are considering or pursuing veganism, mindfulness can be one of your strongest allies.
Not only can mindfulness help you get the most out of your workout, it can also help you with keeping a healthy and holistic approach to nourishing your body. In this article, we’ll be looking at how mindfulness can help when following a vegan diet. Moreover, we’ll explore why mindfulness and veganism actually go hand in hand.
How Are Mindfulness And Veganism Connected?
Below, we’ll look at just a few of the connections between mindfulness and veganism.
1) Veganism is inherently mindful
Doris Lin debunks the notion that veganism is a fad diet and refers to it as a philosophy that excludes exploitation and cruelty in all forms. Vegans eliminate all animal-based foods and food products in their diet. Vegans also ensure that their clothing, household products, and energy are ethically and sustainably sourced. More than a diet, veganism is a way of life, rooted in compassion towards animals and others. Similarly, mindful eating is the practice of becoming aware of each bite we eat, and in particular of how the food we eat has gotten to our plates.
2) Mindfulness allows us to show ourselves compassion
Pursuing a vegan lifestyle and maintaining a vegan diet comes with unique challenges. At times, we can feel frustrated with ourselves for our choices, for living off of snacks, for going too long without eating, and generally for our relationship with food. Living mindfully means not being judgmental in how we see ourselves and our relationship with food. Mindfulness allows us to extend compassion to ourselves, much like we extend it to animals and to other humans.
3) Mindfulness means eating deliberately and purposefully
Eating mindfully means cutting out distractions when having a meal, such as turning off TV or our phones. This allows for a deeper relationship with the food, looking at it beyond a source of nourishment. Veganism adopts a similar ethos. It sees eating as more than just sustenance but an expression of values and beliefs. Mindfulness teaches us to be sensitive to whether our actions, values and thoughts are aligned. For example, we may be against animal cruelty and exploitation but choose to eat highly processed meat products. This misalignment with our beliefs and actions is something that mindfulness helps us pinpoint and process. Thus, we become more deliberate with our actions, eating more purposefully in relation to our values.
4) Mindfulness means increased awareness of food production
Only recently have people started becoming more attentive to how their food is produced and with what, exactly, they’re fueling their bodies. Vegans are inherently mindful of their food, looking at everything from how it's produced to where it's sourced from. Vegans consider not just how food affects their bodies, but also how it affects the planet. Ultimately, increased awareness translates to us becoming more responsible in our food systems and on our dining tables.
5) Mindfulness means nourishing your body with real food
Nutrition expert Carrie Forrest states that mindfulness helps in promoting a diet consisting of whole, real food. When you’re practicing mindfulness with food, you’re more likely to reach for a healthy plant-based snack than something convenient and processed. Mindful eaters notice how food makes them feel, which leads to them nourishing themselves with real—and often vegan—food, rather than ultra-processed food. Beyond our beliefs and values, mindfulness teaches us that becoming a vegan is also beneficial because it makes us feel better and more in tune with our bodies, as well as helping us stay on top of things like anxiety.
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