Earlier this morning I had sensory therapy. Today it was focusing on the sense of taste. In front of us they had laid out a number of different snacks, sweet and savoury/salty. We were paired up and the took turns to choose a number of snacks and then hand our blindfolded partners the food to try.
Yes I know it sounds very 9 1/2 weeks, and could have been very sexy if I had had a young Mickey Rourke type feeding me, but alas that was not the case!
It is an exercise I’ve done before on a recent mindfulness course I attended and it is a reminder that eating is an area in our lives that we all can choose to slow down and really concentrate on. In today’s world we are so busy all of the time. Work/life balance barely exists anymore, technology is such an intregal part of lives that it is taking over. How many of us can say that when we sit down 3 times a day to eat, that we really concentrate only on the food we are putting into our mouths? In fact put your hand up if you actually sit down and eat at a table 3 times a day! Not many of us do. Surely in a 24 hour period we owe ourselves at least three lots of 20 minutes to sit, concentrate and refuel our body and souls. The Italians and French know the importance of this, we can learn a lot from their attitude towards food.
Paying attention to the food we put in our mouths and chewing slowly means we actually taste it. At your next meal try it. Before you put the food in your mouth look at it, think to yourself, how did it get to my table? Who grew it? Where did it originate from? Smell it, no, really smell it. Take a moment to take in the smell, does it smell good? What can you smell? Are there herbs in there? Which ones? When you put it in your mouth really taste it. Put your knife and fork down. Chew slowly, move the food around your mouth. Taste all the different flavours. Yes it sounds ridiculous and it will take you a long time to finish your dinner if you do this with every mouthful, but you might surprise yourself how different a meal you’ve had numerous times in the past actually tastes when you concentrate fully on eating it. If doing this with a full meal sounds too arduous then try it with a piece of fruit, an orange maybe. Take time out and concentrate fully on the process of eating, and remember the joy of taste. You might also find you eat less because your stomach has had the chance to really connect with your brain as you eat. Your stomach is called the second brain for a reason. When your brain becomes intune with your digestive system, you realise you are satisfied earlier than before, so therefore eat less.
There are plenty of websites and blogs out there that give more information on the benefits of mindful eating and how we can incorporate it into our lives. It’s a small easy change that can huge health benefits.