I love a lot of things in life. I love travel, I love people, I love animals, I love adventure – but one thing I really, really love is food.
I love the socializing part of food, connecting the special food on special days with special people and the special conversations and memories that often surround food. It’s …well it’s … special.
I love thinking about what the food is going to taste like and anticipating what food I will get to enjoy next. Sometimes, I go to bed thinking about food and sometimes I wake up thinking about food. Hmmm, maybe I should get out more.
Nonetheless, I recognize that not all my thoughts about food are productive – in fact the more that I think about it – it may be bordering on obsessive and that’s never good.
But lately, I’ve noticed that I am not mindfully enjoying my food – with the emphasis on the ‘joy’ part of enjoy.
I realized that when I eat too fast, take too big of bites, stuff, grab, pick and nibble it does not serve to create that joy or great eating habits and I don’t feel as good, look as good or act as good as I know I should.
I think back to the ‘why’s’ – why am I mindlessly grabbing? What am I putting into my mouth? Where am I when I am eating it? Who am I with at the time of stuffing? And how am I consuming said food?
And the answers tell a story…
Why do I grab? Because I am hungry? Sometimes, yes. Mostly though because I like to eat, I feel like crunch in my mouth, I am rushed or stalling or procrastinating on something else that I don’t want to do. I’m rarely bored but rather at these times I am involved in busy work, non-urgent things to do that don’t require a lot of concentration, so I can eat at the same time. Interesting – why do you grab food?
Where am eating the food? I eat it standing up, in the car, on the move, at the counter, almost always with other distractions present. Rarely, if ever, am I consciously sitting down at the table. Hmmm, more interesting news.
What am I putting into my mouth? Something processed, in a wrapper or a package, something easy, something quick, something that requires very little if any, prep. Something crunchy, salty or sweet – preferably all three. Something that doesn’t have to be peeled or washed or prepared. This is my lazy coming out.
Who am I with? I am by myself. I am alone. Always alone when I have this seemingly uncontrollable urges to stuff.
How am I consuming my food? In large quantities, in big mouthfuls, hurriedly, unconsciously.
Fasinating and telling answers for questions asked far too infrequently. Interesting answers that all lead back to the same conclusion. Unconcious eating, mindless eating.
And so today I ask myself – if I love food so much – why am I in such a hurry to eat it? If I enjoy food as much as I claim to, why do I choose not to slow down, take small bites and saviour each mouthful?
If I want to spend more quality time with my honey, connecting with my friends and nourishing my family wouldn’t cooking together be a nice way to make that happen – turning what can be seen as a chore into one on one time. If I think food makes things special, why aren’t I making it so?
With our fast-paced lifestyle and an M & M’s chicken finger dinner becoming a home cooked meal, I’m starting to wonder if I’m missing out on something here. How can we start loving our food again?
Maybe the answer is in the questions or more to the point, in the answers to the question that I asked. Hmmm, did that make sense? What I mean is, if I don’t like what I have been doing, I can flip it around and do the opposite.
Why do I grab? When I feel the urge to eat, I can challenge myself to notice and even write down what I am feeling. The big question at this point would be, ‘Am I actually hungry’?
Where do I eat my food? I sit down at the table and enjoy my food.
How am I eating my food? I eat in small bites and chew well. I eat slowly so that I can notice the texture, nuances, flavours of the food and perhaps most importantly notice, when I a feel satisfied versus when I feel full.
What am I eating? Products as close to their natural state as possible, as fresh as possible, as wholesome as possible.
Who am I with? I eat the same when I am alone as I would eat in front of my friends.
If you are so inclined, ask yourself the who, what,when, where and why questions around your food habits, you never know what you might uncover.
As for me, I cannot promise what tomorrow will bring, but for today, I pledge to be purposeful, intentional and deliberate about what I choose to put into my mouth. If I do not love it, I will not eat it. I will not stuff, or rush, I will learn more about food choices and options and preparation.
Care to join me?