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.