What if we ate mindfully?

What if we ate mindfully?

Eating while multitasking is practically second nature, but considering the alternative - a more conscious approach to food consumption - may leave us better satiated

By Kari Heron

Published: Fri 23 Mar 2018, 8:10 PM

Last updated: Wed 4 Apr 2018, 4:54 PM

We have all done it. In fact, we have done it so much, we've not even been aware of doing it. At the theatre, while curling up in front of the TV for binge-watching sessions on Netflix, during marathon telephone conversations or intense lunch meetings, while driving to the next appointment, getting dressed in a hurry or while consuming social media on individual screens. We are all guilty of eating while otherwise occupied.

Eating is practically second nature for all living things. We source our energy from food and the act is so natural that it does not take any thought. However, food has become more than just fuel for survival and is a part of what truly enriches our lives - as well as it should. But when we eat without being aware of the act of eating, what we are eating, or why we are eating, it becomes a mindless exercise that throws back to our primitive days.

Food is fuel but it is also meant to be enjoyed. In our hurried, demanding lives with complicated - and competing - priorities, survival of the fittest has turned into a fast food grab. We have become disconnected from traditional systems of hunting and foraging for food, cultivating our own food crops and tending to our own animals in husbandry in order to provide milk, meat and clothing. Where growing and harvesting food used to be the sole daily pursuit of dedicated individuals, families, and villages, we now simply drive up to a window and select our food from a board.

Somehow, we managed to treat wholesome living as "uncivilised" and have ended up with a modern system that is, truly ironically, much more uncivilised than those traditional ways of looking at the growing, gathering, preparation and eating of food.
But what if we changed that?

What if we made the effort to apply some of the wisdom of our forebears regarding food, while still making them practical for our modern lifestyle? What if we stopped making eating a passive act, and convert it to a much more purposeful and mindful act? What if we paused before each meal to give thanks for the hands that grew, gathered, provided and prepared the food? What if we actually sat with people while we ate and enjoyed joyful, light conversation over our meals? What if we savoured every bite, taking in all the delicious flavours, smells, textures and the sheer beauty of the food, and our company, as we ate? What if we paused to appreciate those we share a meal with, thankful that we do not have to eat - or even, go through life - alone? What if we ate only when we were hungry and not to pass time, diffuse boredom or stuff down difficult emotions? What if we approached a meal as a sacred blessing of provision that many do not have and that we only have through grace? What if we treated our bodies as temples? What if we cooked only with love and never an ounce of resentment for having to stand in a hot kitchen? What if we invited strangers to our table, so that we could feed them with the same love that we cooked up in our kitchen? What if?

I think we'd then lead more mindful lives - and be far more mindful of ourselves as well as others. Food for thought?

Until next time, bon appétit!


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