On Saturday, I ate a sandwich.
I was having a hankering, and realized that I had everything handy for my favourite tempeh reuben, so I went for it. I whisked up a marinade for the tempeh, and let it soak. I sliced up some cheese, grated a beet, drained some sauerkraut, toasted some bread, and arranged a pickle on my plate. I panfried the tempeh, spread a slick of mustard on the bread, and melted the cheese under the broiler. It was a really glorious sandwich. A sit at the table, leaning over the plate, juices dripping down your elbows, delicious sandwich.
And I was cramming it into my mouth so fast I could hardly taste it.
Sometimes, I think, when we’re eating some really good – a treat, an indulgence – we can forget to eat it mindfully. So here’s what I do when I catch myself in one of those moments: put it down.
Think about it. How often do you eat without ever putting it down? And if you’re not eating a hand-held food like a sandwich, how often do you eat without putting your utensil down between bites? How often do you eat without ever really tasting the food? I mean, you taste it, but do you taste it?
I’m all about planned indulgences, but what’s the point of that delicious, drippy sandwich, that slice of cake, that piece of pizza, or that bowl of ice cream if you’re not going to really taste it? So put it down.
Put that sandwich down as you chew your food. Consider the different flavours rolling around your mouth. Think about how good it tastes, the love that went into making it, and the pleasure you’re experiencing by eating it. Before you take your next bite, take a pause. Take a few deep breaths. Take a sip of your drink. Consider how long you want this experience to last, the pleasure of this food, and eat at a pace that honours that.
This kind of mindfulness around eating, especially around indulgent eating, isn’t always easy, but the more you practice the more naturally it will come. And if you catch yourself in the moment, eating so quickly you won’t enjoy it, give yourself a gentle reminder. Put it down.
The putting food down/putting down the cutlery technique is one that I recommend (and we practise during our mea!) at my weight management classes, and it has such an impact on people. But it is something that nearly all of us have to mindfully practise b before it becomes a natural behaviour. And it isn't easy to do if we let ourselves get starving-hungry, is it? So guilty of wolfing whatever I am eating if I get too hungry. It is reassuring to know that you can fall prey to this too!
It is indeed a tough habit to break, and one I remind myself of often. Just put it down! Last night we made a delish pasta from scratch and I had to remind myself several times to put my fork down between bites. It's like we're afraid the food will disappear!
The timing cannot be better for this post ! This is an area that I have been striving to work on with no success, despite knowing quite well the benefits. It's so easy to lose track of how much you chew your food amidst a busy day's work. Last week I decided that I am gonna have to come up with a strategy to chew my food much more than I do now. And this is just Bingo ! ☺️ Great post !
Timing is everything, Poorna! And sometimes the answer is so simple - just put it down!
Thanks for this post! I have acid reflux, & I am supposed to eat small meals, very slowly, instead of the usual large, fast meals that I eat. I have started using smaller plates & bowls, too. It is really hard for me to change this bad habit. Please feel free to remind us about this whenever you feel like it. If I read a tip enough times, sometimes it sticks! So, thanks!!
Using small plates is such a good habit, something more of us should do on an ongoing basis. Glad you found this reminder helpful, Lori!
Linda @ Veganosity
So true! I'm generally a slow eater, but my husband eats so fast that he's usually finished with his meal before I've taken my fifth bite. He needs to read this. 😉
I think we all need to think about it from time to time. I know I do, especially when eating a really decadent treat. But it also holds true for everyday meals!