Food is more than nourishment – how to taste the food?

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We often treat eating as merely an activity that is meant to satisfy a physiological need. When our stomach starts to growl, we usually don’t even think as we jump at the products that get in our hands. We eat in rush, while often doing other things at the same time. Meanwhile, in order to feel the true pleasure and satisfaction from eating, one has to taste it when focused.
Rush is a constant part of our lives. Every day, we have dozens of things to do, we think about many problems at the same time and do many things in rush. We often treat eating food as another annoying part of our daily schedule. We eat quickly, anything and anyhow. In the middle of the week it is often fast food bought on the way, sandwiches eaten in the upright position in the kitchen or sweet candy bars from the employees lounge. In fact, what we often doesn’t mean anything to us. We don’t focus on celebrating the meal, and we actually swallow it while running. There’s a Chinese proverb that says: „Your stomach doesn’t have teeth”. Although this proverb might sound ridiculous, it is completely true. In order for food to properly nourish us and to be easily digested by our body, we have to… chew it well. But that takes time, which we constantly don’t have.
Quality more important than quantity
Plenty of times, when we’re hungry, we don’t think about what we want to eat: „Doesn’t matter what it is, as long as there’s a lot of it!”. Meanwhile, even a big bag of chips or a large hot-dog won’t provide our body with as many nutrients as a single apple or a well prepared salad. When we eat in rush, we really do need higher amount of food to feel sated. It is because the signals about taking food only reach our brains after about 20 minutes since starting the consumption. Plenty of us are already done eating at this point – eating more as a result, as we don’t receive the impulses saying that the stomach has already received enough food.
A side effect of slow eating is… weight loss. Thanks to focusing on each bite and not rushing with chowing our portion down, we get full faster and eat less. We learn to receive the signals from our body and make friends with it. Eating stops being merely a consumption of food, and becomes a true ritual that results from caring about our well-being and health.
Can you focus on the food’s flavor?
When we swallow another meal in rush, we’re not very likely to concentrate on the sensations coming from that action. The food’s flavor gets put away – it’s about not having to focus a lot of time on anticipation and the consumption itself. That way plenty of things simply pass us by. The recently popular philosophy of mindfulness postulates that we should become fully aware of what’s going on around us as well as inside of us. In order to reach such state, we have to practice being attentive and focused. First of all, that way we start to recognize when we’re actually hungry, and when the need to get something to eat arises from boredom, sadness or stress. Secondly, we focus on the pleasure coming from eating. We carefully chew every piece and don’t focus on anything else in the meantime. We sense all the flavor tones creating a particular meal and derive pleasure from those sensations.
Multitasking doesn’t work
Our culture glorifies multitasking. From the earliest years we hear that those who can accomplish the most are the ones who can do several things at once. Since eating doesn’t occupy our thoughts quite that much, it seems like a perfect example of something we can do at the same time as other things. We eat while talking with our family, watching TV, reading a newspaper or driving the car to work. As a result, we are unable to celebrate the meal and derive the true pleasure out of it. In order to fully focus on a food’s flavor, try to find at least few minutes during which you can abstain from being occupied with other things. Turn off the radio, the TV and the computer, don’t pick up the phone, stop thinking about work and focus on what you’re eating. Each bite is a moment just for you – don’t let anything or anyone take it away from you.
In spite of stress
Living in rush and hurry every day causes us to always be tense and stressed. We can’t relax, we constantly thing about our duties, things to do and problems. That way a vicious circle is created: we keep getting more nervous, and on top of that we don’t give ourselves time to calm our thoughts down. Calm, non-rushed consumption of food can be relaxing and relieve stress. It is important to give ourselves at least few minutes during which we won’t focus on anything besides the pleasure coming from eating. Moreover, celebrating the meals often comes with a greater care about their balanced composition – which also prevents stress and has a positive impact on our health.