Have you ever noticed that in America we eat like we are in some sort of marathon eating event? I sure have. It’s like the eating race began years ago and it slowly programmed us into always being in a rush. “Let’s grab a quick bite to eat,” we say, as we run off to gulp our next meal, barely talking to one another.
Take being in a restaurant for instance. It’s like the rules have changed. We are rushed in, brought our food, asked about 100 times if we need anything else, and then as we drink our after lunch cup of coffee the bill is being stuffed under our noses. Let’s analyze this for a moment. We go into a place to eat and we PAY for the table, the food, and the service. Part of going out is the fellowship and the ambiance of being out in a place where food is prepared for us. Somehow the restaurants have taken over how fast we have to eat and be done.
We are geared toward being in a hurry. They want to fill our table as soon as possible and if we linger we are bombarded by continual interruptions from a waitress who has been taught to do this to us (no judgement here).
In Biblical times and in ancient Egypt, a meal was a blessing and a sacred time to spend with others we love and to honor God. Whole festivals were created surrounding the harvest of the grains for their meals. Offerings were given to God in gratitude for all He had supplied them. Meals were an event to be languished over, with laughter, fellowship, and the food was to be savored.
Somehow we lost the ball on this practice. We gobble our food down and before we know it we are filled with much more food than we really needed. No wonder so many suffer from intestinal and GI problems. Our food never has the opportunity to be broken down properly by the body because it gets stuffed into us way too fast. This also leads to overeating.
Eating is meant to be a slower process. I want to introduce to you “Mindful Eating”. This means taking the time to savor every bite of our food, chewing it adequately before swallowing, and eating only until we are full. You see, the saliva in our mouths is the first process of digestion and the breaking down of food. Eating slower and more mindfully helps to create adequate saliva for the digestion kick off. Eating mindfully and slower allows us to use all of those great taste buds that are in out mouths. We are meant to really taste our food!
Then comes the swallow. When eating is done slowly it also allows our stomach to produce the stomach acids needed to further break down our foods as we eat. The other great affect of eating slowly is that we eat less because we have the sense that we are fuller faster. Our brains have a place inside that tells us when we are full and then we stop eating. Eating slowly allows that trigger to happen more effectively and we tend to get full faster and eat less food. If we gobble too much too fast, our brains think we still need to eat more and we end up over eating before it has the chance to tell us that it is enough!
If we practice mindful eating we don’t need a diet. Our bodies tell us when we are hungry and when we are full. Its really easy. Just listen to the signals. I can imagine the look on a waitresses face after telling her I am mindfully eating and I might be here longer than expected! Actually, it does not take that much more time. In fact, you will be full faster and more than likely ask for a doggie bag and be on your way.
Next time you are out, give this a try. Eat mindfully. Savor ever bite. Be thankful for what God provided and allow your taste buds to really relish the flavor of the food! Allow your body to naturally do its job and you will see that your eating habits will change. Your body has been created to tell you when to eat, when to stop, and what foods it really wants and craves. Listen to it carefully and you will never speak the word “diet” again!
“Today, I will mindfully eat my food, taste every bite, and be thankful for all that God has supplied to me. I will allow my body to tell me when I am full and when the next time to eat is. When I am hungry my stomach will rumble. When I am full, my brain will shut me off and I will push away the plate. Today, I will take a step toward better digestive habits and pay attention to what my body is asking for and what I do not need. Let my bodies intuitive gifts guide me in my eating habits.”
Loving you from here,
Jenine Marie Howry