Do You Taste Your Food?

  1. Chat with a friend, spouse, coworker, family member, {insert other acquaintance here} who you are dining with
  2. Surf the Internet
  3. Watch TV
  4. Read the newspaper
  5. Talk on the phone
  6. Drive a car
We all do it. It has become a habit and an accepted part of our lifestyle. The next time this happens (i.e. some time later today), I want you to take notice of something. After you finish your meal, think about how much you actually tasted the food you ate. Really think about it. Do you remember eating most of it or were you so engrossed in the other task you were doing that you don’t remember much of the actual taste and texture of the food at all? I am willing to bet that you went through the motions of eating, but can’t clearly recall much of the experience. I joke around with my dog (yes, she likes to joke), teasing her that she eats her food so fast that I bet she doesn’t even taste it. The ironic thing is that we do the very same thing. It sounds so silly to say, “Do you remember the experience of eating your meal”, but when we stop and think about it, how many of us really experience the food that we eat on a daily basis? Even those of us that say we truly enjoy food, many times find ourselves multi-tasking and doing something else while we eat. We shovel away, bite by bite, until the food is gone or we are full because, well, that is what we are conditioned to do. Eating has become almost like breathing - we do it without even thinking about it. We do it while we watch our favorite TV show. We do it while we catch up on the latest stories in the newspaper or on the net. We do it while we connect with friends and family. Not to say that any of these things are bad things at all. We just forget to pay attention to the art of eating, which adds to the vicious cycle of never feeling satisfied with food. How often do you find yourself thinking ahead to the next meal? Sometimes almost immediately after finishing the last one, right? Fantasizing about what to eat next because you still feel hungry or have a craving. What if that “hunger” or “craving” was actually due to a lack of tuning into the food, rather than an actual physical need for it? How much of our society’s issues with food could be solved by just tapping in?

Tap In

The next time you sit down to a meal. I want you to do the following. It’s going to feel really strange at first, but just trust me.
  1. Get everything you need for the meal before you begin. This means your napkin, silverware, drink, vitamins, etc - everything you need, you must have in front of you before you begin eating.
  2. Eat alone with no distractions. This means no phone, no TV, no newspaper, no people. Just you and your delicious yummies.
  3. Sit at a table. No standing at the kitchen sink, no lounging on the couch with a TV tray table. At a table.
  4. Savor the flavor. Begin by taking your first bite. Think about how it tastes. Chew it completely before swallowing. Eat slowly. Set your fork and knife down as you chew. Be present in the moment. Make noises if you want to, really get into enjoying the taste. You think I am joking. {I just tried searching for that soup commercial, with the “num yummy” guy, but I can’t find it anywhere. He is a perfect example.}
  5. Don’t think about anything other than the taste of the food you are eating. Focus on how you feel eating this meal. Is it good? What is good about it? What are your favorite aspects? Think about how it nourishes your body and delivers the nutrients and vitamins to your cells, your muscles, your organs, and whatever parts of the food that are not needed to fuel your “machine”, will be passed along and out of your body. This food will give you nothing less than the body of your dreams. It will provide you with the energy, strength, and clarity that you need for wellness.
  6. Continue on with each bite of the meal following this process. If you find that your mind starts to wander, just bring it back to the present. Bring it back to the enjoyment of the experience.

Live In the Moment

I have a personal example for you. Every Saturday my husband and I make our two grocery store trek to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (yes, we go to both). The highlight of the journey is a special treat - Pecan Nuggets. Three words - Heaven. On. Earth. They are sooo good. Let me explain. Pecan Nuggets are like pecan pie perfectly packaged into a little ice cream scoop looking ball of wonder. I stumbled upon them one day, while perusing {read: drooling over} the glass display case of cookies, pastries, and bagels in the Whole Foods bakery. I saw them, and I swear one of them twinkled at me. Each week we buy one for each of us. We pay for our groceries and get out to the car, take out our nuggets and savor the flavor. I can’t even tell you how many times people waiting for a parking spot have gotten irritated because we get in the car and then we don’t leave. We sit and enjoy our once a week treat. I’m telling you, I am “that girl” that makes the mm-mm good noises when I eat this. I close my eyes and think about all the flavors I can taste in each bite - the distinct pecan flavor, the brown sugar, the cinnamon and nutmeg. I open my eyes to examine the nugget, trying to figure out how the inside can be so soft and gooey, while the outside is almost like a chewy shell. By the time I am done, I am full (from one little 2” x 2” cookie), I am content, and I had just enough. One is all I need when I allow myself to fully focus on the moment. I don’t want a bag of them, where in the past, I am sure I could have polished off at least 4. I just want one. It is so difficult for us to do things like this because we are so used to being on the go, or doing multiple things at once. If we consciously take the time to enjoy the food that we eat, we will find that we end up feeling satisfied, full, and content. Take time today to enjoy and experience your food. I am positive you will see what a difference it can make.
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