How Are You Eating?

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Most of the time, I eat in an extremely hurried way. I try to start the day with a leisurely breakfast, but that rarely happens (need to get to work, deadline to meet, phone calls to make, bills to pay…..). From there, I’ll grab lunch on the go, and evening meals are more often than not a social get together with friends which usually means chatting more than concentrating on eating. If I’m home, often, I’ll be too tired too cook, so it’s more about assembling the easiest, healthiest option. It wasn’t until I went on a silent retreat recently that I realised this rush, rush, rush was a big part of the reason I often feel sluggish, bloated or dissatisfied after a meal.

At the retreat, I’d eat totally alone, continuing my silence. The table would be laid out with a proper table cloth, co-ordinated napkin, place mat and fresh flowers for each meal, and a candle lit in the evening. I had the time to take in the details and that was just one way my eating experience was enhanced. Also on the table was a little manifesto – a kind of step-by-step on how to eat a meal mindfully. I read this sheet every day (well I had no one to talk to!!), and faithfully followed the routine. To begin with, sitting, relaxing and taking full, deep breaths. As the meal arrived, taking time to contemplate where the food was from, appreciating the work which had gone into the growing and preparation and being thankful for all those things. Then, savouring each, small mouthful, noticing the textures and flavours to enjoy the food to the maximum. Read More…