Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Do You Eat Like an Animal?

When I feed my yellow lab Jackson he devours it. No chewing really, just crunch and swallow and done in under 30 seconds.  I can put his standard boring food or a steak and he treats it all pretty much the same, how fast can I get it in my belly and look for more. I love him but I cannot help but look at him with disgust every time.

Seriously have you ever caught yourself throwing such a huge handful of popcorn in your face that it overflows your mouth? I have. Or eating so freaking fast, like its your last meal on earth, that your stomach hurts and you have to lie down? Sometimes we cannot even recall what we ate for lunch because we worked right through it oblivious and uncivilized. Or we don't appreciate the color and beauty of the worldly array of food prepared for us because we were so completely lost in the latest episode of Modern Family.

What happened to our Western Society that we turned into such animals.  Many of us don't even grocery shop, cook our meals let alone sit down face to face with people to eat and chat unless its at a restaurant. You might not think this is particularly a problem, that only the quality and quantity of the food matters, but the message hear is that they are inter-dependant. If you aren't mindful about the entire process of eating then you will eat more poorly and be clueless to the lessons your body and mind are telling you about the food you just ate.  I am here to try to inspire people to get back to food basics.  To deeply enjoy natural healthy foods and respect the art of eating again.

There are only three steps and words you need to remember to change it all around:
Know it... Enjoy it... Feel it

Know as much as you can about your food and continually try to learn more.  Work backwards.  What are the ingredients in each dish? Macronutrients categories and amounts? General caloric densities? Nutrients contained? and you keep going deeper into Organics? Sources? etc. Get curious. Given the state of our food system, the more you know the more you will naturally want to know more as there is a lot of cheap food to watch out for.

Usually we move so fast through life trying to get more things done thinking that this will bring more  happiness.  Ehhhhhh!!!!! Wrong.  There is no need to rush when we could be taking better care of ourselves which will pay back much better dividends. I mean where are we rushing off to all the time really. Slow down and know what the hell you are putting in your magical body or it won't be looking or feeling too magical.  

It's our ability to enjoy life and be preset to everything we are doing that brings us more happiness, i.e. really paying attention, learning from both the healthy experiences and painful ones.

Here is a quick powerful exercise that both gets our mind fully into our food.  It also reminds us of just how magical the world is when we use the powers of our five senses to their full capacity.

First, prepare a healthy, all natural, balanced, colorful meal based on our eating philosophy. Take a moment with each ingredient, really look, smell, taste and touch it.  What does the plant look like? Where does it come from? We have lost touch with what the plants that grow our food even look like so google ones you don't know. 

Once the meal is plated as beautifully as you can go through each of your senses mindfully to get a full experience of the food.  You could also do this with takeout or at a restaurant of course. 

  1. See it (don't smell it yet): look at all the shapes , colors, textures, shine and overall feeling of the entire plate
  2. Smell it (close your eyes): try to distinguish the ingredients, odors, warmth, feeling of each dish
  3. Taste it: try to break it down and describe it as sweet, savory, sour, spices, flavors
  4. Hear it: listen to the chewing for sounds of crunching, munching, slurping, etc. which adds to the experience and knowing the contents: fats, fibers, etc.
  5. Feel it : as you chew, swallow and afterwards notice the texture for creamy vs crunchy, warm or cold, light or heavy in belly, etc.

Then just notice what emotions or states come about in mind, i.e. wired, sleepy, wanting more, satisfied, etc.  Really the only extra step is connecting how your mind and body feel after eating to the food you just ate.  We forget often times and the crappy food gets off scott free for making us feel crappy. Just holding a strong belief that food and mood are very much a cause and effect relationship should help tremendously.

Art of Eating Tips:

  • Eating Out - restaurants can really enhance your attentiveness to all the amazing details of your meal and your partner or friend just keep it special 1-2 nights per week.  Make sure it's a quality, quieter restaurant where you can focus on food and each other.
  • Recreate a restaurant experience at home. Get excited, cook something special, plate it nicely, add candles, pour wine, etc. really get into it.
  • Catch yourself when you are stuffing your face, eating in the car, etc. each time and those times will naturally become fewer and farther between.
  • Pause every few bites and drink water to slow the process down, help digestion and tune into the food qualities using the See, Smell, Taste, Hear, Feel right in the moment.

1 comment:

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