Updated: Apr 29, 2020
Do you actually chew your food? Like, really chew your food? I know I don't.
I have a really bad habit of eating fast. We even joke at work about it being an ambo trait.. we are so used to our pagers going off whenever we sit down to eat that all of us scoff our food - at every meal!
The problem with eating quickly is that you move on to the next mouthful before properly tasting or digesting the first one! This can not only lead to accidental over eating and weight gain but also cause physical symptoms of reflux, abdo discomfort and bloating. Paying attention to chewing your food is known as conscious chewing. There are several concepts that are involved in the idea of conscious chewing. Ready to get funky with me?
This is theory for me at the moment but I am trying to integrate these pointers into my eating habits.
* Set the scene for eating.. sit at a table, light candles, turn off the tv... do whatever it takes for you to be comfortable enough to fall into stillness whilst eating.
* Close your eyes... turn your attention inwards and tune in to your headspace. What thoughts come up with your fork in your hand?
* Take the first bite, but don't chew... feel the food in your mouth, breathe and absorb the essence of what's being released. Saliva should pour over the food before chewing.
* Masticate... (get your mind out of the gutter!) Chew your food until it is liquid and you're naturally inclined to swallow. This may seem like an effort at first bite but, the more you practice it, the more natural it becomes. Observe every thought that interferes with your intention. Acknowledge the thoughts but don't allow them to stay and distract you from the act of really chewing and tasting your food. If necessary write a list of the thoughts that pop up whilst you are eating, so that you can go back and action them after you have finished eating.
* Swallow and repeat.
What I have noticed when trying to practice these techniques is that (1) it actually takes me a full 10-20 minutes to eat a meal, not the usual 5 minutes I can normally demolish a full plate of food in and (2) meal times are really quiet when you are properly chewing and focusing on your food!
Give it a try and tell me what you think!