Do you taste your food? Weird question I know.....because of course you do! But do you actually NOTICE the taste and absorb it and delight in it or are you just registering it as data as it goes into your mouth and down your throat? We live in such a fast paced world that it's hard to remember to 'be in the moment'. And the fast food restaurants encourage us in that direction. I think we're all guilty of having eaten a burger or something on the way to our next meeting or else these fast food places would go out of business. When we're eating there are actually many things to notice. There's colour, flavour, texture, smell, environment and the company we're with that all influence our experience of a meal. In France people will often linger for hours over a meal and they take real pleasure in enjoying their senses while they do it. Some people think that that is one of the reasons that there is less obesity in that country. (globeandmail.com › Opinion) Taking this much time is usually only reserved for dinner parties in this country and the delighting in the taste sensations of the food may still get overlooked or superceded by the conversation. To truly enjoy the moment and enjoy your food try lengthening how much time you take to eat your meal. Even ten minutes more will allow you to really notice the flavours of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. You'll have time to notice whether you like crunchy or smooth better and you be more in the moment to enjoy your surroundings and the people you are with.
In an article by Leo Babauta on creating Zen Habits he says the 5 good reasons to eat slower are because you will:
- Lose weight. A growing number of studies confirm that just by eating slower, you’ll consume fewer calories — in fact, enough to lose 20 pounds a year without doing anything different or eating anything different. The reason is that it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full. If we eat fast, we can continue eating past the point where we’re full. If we eat slowly, we have time to realize we’re full, and stop on time. Now, I would still recommend that you eat healthier foods, but if you’re looking to lose weight, eating slowly should be a part of your new lifestyle.
- Enjoy your food. This reason is just as powerful, in my opinion. It’s hard to enjoy your food if it goes by too quickly. In fact, I think it’s fine to eat sinful foods, if you eat a small amount slowly. Think about it: you want to eat sinful foods (desserts, fried foods, pizza, etc.) because they taste good. But if you eat them fast, what’s the point? If you eat them slowly, you can get the same amount of great taste, but with less going into your stomach. That’s math that works for me. And that argument aside, I think you are just happier by tasting great food and enjoying it fully, by eating slowly. Make your meals a gastronomic pleasure, not a thing you do rushed, between stressful events.
- Better digestion. If you eat slower, you’ll chew your food better, which leads to better digestion. Digestion actually starts in the mouth, so the more work you do up there, the less you’ll have to do in your stomach. This can help lead to fewer digestive problems.
- Less stress. Eating slowly, and paying attention to our eating, can be a great form of mindfulness exercise. Be in the moment, rather than rushing through a meal thinking about what you need to do next. When you eat, you should eat. This kind of mindfulness, I believe, will lead to a less stressful life, and long-term happiness. Give it a try.
- Rebel against fast food and fast life. Our hectic, fast-paced, stressful, chaotic lives — the Fast Life — leads to eating Fast Food, and eating it quickly. This is a lifestyle that is dehumanizing us, making us unhealthy, stressed out, and unhappy. We rush through our day, doing one mindless task after another, without taking the time to live life, to enjoy life, to relate to each other, to be human. That’s not a good thing in my book. Instead, rebel against that entire lifestyle and philosophy … with the small act of eating slower. Don’t eat Fast Food. Eat at a good restaurant, or better yet, cook your own food and enjoy it fully. Taste life itself
So.....put your fork down. Lean back, sip and savour your coffee. Enjoy! That's what it's all about!!