50 times = enlightenment

I’m very interested in the practice of mindful eating, and have written about it previously.

However this wonderful post “Zeke + Buddhist Monk + Almonds = Enlightenment!” brought it to the forefront of my mind once again.

In the above post, David quoted a passage from one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books.  Part of this passage included the following advice:

To eat well, we should chew our food about fifty times before we swallow.  When we eat very slowly, and make the food in our mouth into a kind of liquid, we will absorb much more nutrition through our intestines.  If we eat well, and chew our food carefully, we get more nutrition than if we eat a lot but don’t digest it well….Eating is a deep practice. “


This really intrigued me.  

I can honestly say I have never chewed my food 50 times before swallowing.  And I was keen to try it out.  So tonight I did just that whilst eating my dinner.

And it was a lot more challenging than I was expecting!

I am used to eating my dinner on the go.  Most of my meals are eaten in front of the computer whilst working.

So tonight I sat down.  With no other distractions.  And practised chewing each mouthful 50 times before swallowing.

It was surprising how much my mind resisted this practice!  At first I struggled to overcome the strong urge to swallow my food, and quickly take the next mouthful.  To ease my hunger.  And because it tasted so yummy!

I kept persisting.  I even closed my eyes so I could fully concentrate.

I got to 30.  Then the next mouthful 32.  Then 40.  Then eventually I got to 50.

The whole practice was completely fascinating.

From my resistance to eating slowly and calmly.  To the effect on my mind and body (and taste buds!) when I did patiently stick with it.

The food tasted amazing!  As Thich Nhat Hanh promised it would.

And afterwards I felt satisfied, but without the indigestion I usually feel.

It was an immensely satisfying experience.  And very calming!

I urge you to try it, and let me know what you think!



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11 responses to “50 times = enlightenment

  1. I’ve always been a “slow” eater. I’m ok with it because it makes me enjoy my food more & helps me not overeat in one sitting. Who knew this was a great way to eat? 🙂

  2. Son

    I am currently on a diet and for the first time in a long time I am really determined to lose weight, but in a healthy way. So I am definitely going to give this a try 🙂

  3. I should try this as well! Thanks for the info! 🙂

    Subhan Zein

  4. brendamarroy

    This is good, Megan. It goes along with the focus of my facebook Streams of Consciousness page for this week. I’m writing every day about mindful eating and so I’m going to share this on my page so my readers can get another take on what I’m saying. Thank you.

  5. I usually finish eating while others are still serving themselves. I will try that

  6. If you ever visit a monastery, you will find they eat in silence as well. No tv, computer or mp3 players, this helps concentrate on the food.

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