Sometimes, it’s now what we eat. It’s how we eat. Fast, hurried, and without a thought for the food that is going into our bodies. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to slooooow down. But that’s easier said than done.
Once, I had a doctor tell me I had to chew my food 30-60 times. My next meal was pure torture. First, instead of concentrating on the food, I was too busy chewing it. Then as the meal became this ball of mush in my mouth, I was just pushing it around with my tongue and waiting for it to slide its slimy existence down my throat. Needless to say, I went right back to wolfing down my food at my next meal.
Now, through time, I’ve reprogrammed my body to take its time while eating. I probably DO chew my food the required 30-60 times. But it’s a much better experience now. The video link below tells the 5 tips I unwittingly started to apply that helped me. But if you’re not a video person, just read my 5 simple tips below!
For many of us eating is a task, not an experience. In a society where food is plentiful, it’s easy to not appreciate the food we eat. After all, it’s everywhere! But food is meant to be lingered over, enjoyed, and appreciated. The problem is, many of us are not enjoying real food. Or worse, we are overfed and unappreciative. But BILLIONS of people are malnourished and underfed. Even wealthy Americans! So if you find yourself not appreciating what you’re eating, look at two things. 1) Are you eating real food? Or Chemicals? and 2) Are you getting real nourishment from your food? Or just a full, bloated belly? If you answered yes to the first part of the questions (Yes, I’m eating real food with real nourishment!) then just simply realizing that fact can get you to slow down and be grateful for this nourishment. (And grateful to whomever prepared it!) But if you realize that you’re eating mostly man made chemical foods, then perhaps the reason you’re eating so quickly is simply for the brain rush. Or to make the hunger pains in your tummy go away. In that case, start rethinking what you eat. Then slow down and see if you enjoy it as much.
Make Your Food and Your Plate BEAUTIFUL.
We eat first with our eyes. Then with our nose. And finally with our tongues. So make your food look beautiful! Give your salads color. Choose smaller, white plates. Put a sprig on top of your chili. I’m not being silly! I’m being serious! Help your brain to realize that eating is an experience. Not a task. Do that by giving your eyes something to feast upon first.
SMELL your Food
Fifty percent of our enjoyment comes from smelling our food. In fact, studies have shown that people who can’t smell their food actually eat more of it. So take time to smell what you are eating. If you are eating something fresh, it will have a wonderful, lingering scent. But if you are preparing boxed or chemical “foods”, the leftover smell will not be so wonderful. So remember, “the nose knows!”.
Put Your Fork DOWN between Bites.
This was the hardest habit for me to adopt! I held onto my fork like it was my weapon and I was at war! (This may in part be true. I had a lot of hungry teenage boys at my high school lunch table.) But by putting down your fork between bites, you get to actually enjoy the experience much more. It sends a signal to the brain to relax, take its time, and to process what is currently in your mouth. Not just what’s to come.
Pick it UP, AFTER You Are DONE Chewing.
Lastly, DON’T PICK THAT FORK BACK UP until you’re completely done chewing. People treat their fork as if it’s a guitar and they are a folk singer performing. Ever notice how many singers just keep that guitar there as comfort even when they are just singing and not actually playing? Your fork is not a guitar. It does not need to be constantly in your hand even when not in use. Eating is not a performance. It’s an Experience. Take time to chew. Then enjoy a sip of water…or wine 😉 and THEN pick up your fork. I guarantee this will likely be the most difficult habit to implement! But it will really help you to slow down, enjoy your meal, and help ward off nasty indigestion and bloating!
I hope these five tips have really helped. If you’d like to see my video on this same topic, here it is!