Many years ago I attended my first Vipassana (‘mindful meditation’) retreat where I was instructed to eat my meal very slowly and thoughtfully, chewing each bite at least 20 times before swallowing. We were also forbidden to talk with our tablemates – audibly or even with facial expressions or body language. But the meals took quite awhile anyway with all that mastication!
Here’s what I learned from the experience:
- My body is satiated with far less food than I previously thought possible. If eating too quickly, I don’t notice my body’s signals that it has had enough nourishment.
- When I take the time to focus on the food going into my mouth, it becomes a far more sensuous and enjoyable experience. Emotional/psychological needs are ALSO fulfilled much faster.
- Eating becomes the perfect time to contemplate gratitude, and honoring myself is almost automatic when I remain completely aware of my food, my body, and the environment in which I am nurtured. Blessings abound!
- Chewing thoroughly is a boon to digestion. And I am less likely to burp after eating if my mouth remains shut while chewing (no talking, or swallowing too early in order to speak up!)
Why not try this out to see what you learn about yourself?
But at a minimum make it a habit to slow your mealtimes down; take time to enjoy your food, whether alone or with family/friends. Doing so will better nourish your body, spirit, and everyone present.