by Kurt Johnsen
You’ve seen them. You may even be one of them — I know I have been. I’m talking about those folks hunkered over their food, shoveling it down as if someone were trying to take it away. Not only is it unsightly, it’s also unhealthy.
Our digestive system starts in our mouths, not in our stomachs as you may think. Special enzymes in our mouths begin to break down our food and prepare it for digestion from the moment we take a bite. But often, in our fast-paced, fast-food world, many of us — including myself — wolf down our meals and snacks like a greedy seagull, cocking our heads back and gulping down whatever is in front of us. We barely take the time to chew — much less enjoy — our food.
Besides taxing our digestive systems, speed eating often leads to overeating, because the body can’t keep up with the massive intake. Our brains only receive the “report” that our stomachs are satiated far after the fact. From a yogic stand point, scarfing down food takes away from our awareness of the elements of the food, such as taste, color and smell, as well as some of the energy we can derive from it, such as appreciation.
So my challenge is simple and effective. (I often find those two go hand in hand.) For the next week, set down your eating utensil between bites. If you’re eating with your hands (e.g. a sandwich), set down whatever it is you’re eating and rest your hands in your lap for a moment. Even if only for a few seconds, this practice will slow you down and bring an increased awareness to your mealtimes. You will eat more efficiently, you will enjoy your food more, you will find yourself more energized after each meal, and you might find you enjoy the company you keep during meals.
Republished with permission from YOGANONYMOUS.