HEALTH

Practicing Mindful Eating with Alyssia Sheikh of Mind Over Munch

April 30th, 2019

Alyssia Sheikh is the founder of Mind Over Munch, an all-encompassing resource for food and fun. The community she’s created is built on three common principles: encouragement, passion, and positivity. She shares her mindful eating tips, incredible recipes, and meal-prep hacks on her popular YouTube channel, as well as in a series of ebooks.

Read on to get her take on the best way to eat mindfully, plus tips on easy swaps to make any dish a bit healthier.

What is the philosophy behind Mind Over Munch?

At Mind Over Munch, we want people to know they’re not alone. This health world is so confusing—it’s hard to sift through it all! We want to help people learn to trust themselves to make decisions about what’s right for their own bodies. We provide objective, dependable, and entertaining educational content to inspire people to make choices that serve them—and to get excited about it! We believe we can learn a lot more by listening to one another than we can by arguing. After all, no one can be an expert on you, better than you!

How did you get started as a content creator?

I started creating content five years ago. I was living in New York, fresh out of college, and working as a fitness instructor, personal trainer, and graphic designer. My boyfriend and I didn’t have money to eat out, so I started learning to cook. I became one of those people who only posted photos of their food on Instagram, and eventually decided I wanted to say more through video, which inspired my YouTube channel. I never looked back!

Why is mindfulness important to you when it comes to health and wellness?

I want to be better—I think most people do! I believe we can’t create new behaviors without awareness, and we can’t have awareness without mindfulness. Let’s say you have a negative habit or pattern you want to work on and change—you know you do it, but you can’t always catch yourself when it’s happening, right? I think that’s because we don’t have mindfulness down. It’s a skill that can be learned … or practiced, rather. Mindfulness practices have served every aspect of my life, but have had an especially positive impact on my relationship with food. Mindfulness has allowed me to be curious about that relationship and the food choices I make. Curiosity allows me to find clarity and compassion, rather than judging myself (and then emotionally running to Ben & Jerry).

What are your top three tips for “cleaning up your act,” specifically in regards to food?

It’s hard to pin this down, but I’d say …

  1. Focus on eating more whole foods and fewer processed foods.
  2. Learn as much as you can about food and nutrition. Knowing how food fuels you will help you make informed decisions. But remember to listen to your body, because you’re unlike anyone else.
  3. Practice self-compassion.

What are your favorite healthy swaps for traditional treats?

I tend to crave salty more than sweet. For chips, I love Siete Foods Grain-Free Lime Tortilla Chips—they’re the best tortilla chip substitute I’ve found! For sweets, I prefer indulging in baked goods more than candy or chocolate. Simple Mills has some really nice paleo baking mixes for muffins, cookies, cakes, and quick breads.

What are some of your favorite quick recipes to curb cravings?

Stuff a date with an almond and top it with cashew butter… heaven! I also love just having a spoonful of coconut butter–naturally sweet and so satisfying. (Beware: It’s easy to end up eating 10 spoonfuls!)

What are your favorite products that you always order, and how do you use those products?

I’m OBSESSED with Thrive Market’s Organic Raw Cashew Butter! I tell myself I buy it to spread on top of other ingredients, but usually it just ends up on the spoon before going straight into my mouth. I also love Califia Farms Coconut Cream & Almondmilk Better Half Unsweetened Creamer—it’s my favorite dairy-free creamer, and it’s twice as expensive at all of my local grocery stores. Thrive Market’s Coconut Aminos is another staple—I use it every single day in almost any homecooked meal. It’s more affordable, but honestly, it just tastes better… more rich and flavorful! I also love getting Wild Zora’s BBQ Beef Meat & Veggie Bars. I’ve never seen them anywhere else, and once I tried them, I was hooked!

What is your #1 tip for shopping success on Thrive Market?

Here’s how I shop on Thrive Market: I add things to my cart whenever it pops into my head that I need something, and then before ordering, I peruse once more for any new items or deals or free gifts. I’ve gotten some awesome free gifts that I wouldn’t have thought to try otherwise thanks to the Deals section! I always make sure I have enough in my cart for free shipping—most of the items I can stock up on, so why pay shipping if I don’t need to?

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Lily CombaLily Comba has never met a baked good she didn't like. When she's not baking, you'll find her writing, taking a Pilates class, or collaborating with the editorial and social team as a Senior Content Writer at Thrive Market.

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