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!