The thumbnail is the photo of the canteen @ St John that we had our meals at.
Living in a fast-paced world, we fell in love with multitasking so much that even eating isn't spared. People tend to watch or read on their mobile phones during meals and some like to eat right in front of their computer, hoping to be more productive. I'm always guilty of this as I always felt that eating through my favourite drama or movie makes the meal nicer.
It is, however... the opposite.
Thinking back, during my 10 days vipassana retreat I used to take my time with my meal. Maybe we're on an island with nothing but ourselves. Maybe it's the effects of a total mental isolation. I have 0 distractions during my meals and it's only me and the meal alone. Since we can't interact nor can we speak with anyone, we are actually forced to practice mindful eating, or I guess, it comes naturally on my side as I experienced it before I know it.
I find myself eating more slowly and "carefully", part of myself thinking that eating slowly could help kill off some time. (It can be pretty hard to kill off time as we have nothing with us, I even tried planting seeds of fruits around the island)
We're living in a world of distractions that some sensations have become "white noise", we tune out of the little things such as tiny goosebumps, pores interacting with the air around use and even slide aches/movement of muscles.
Maybe we don't consider this important, and hence we decided to tune them out, but then again, meditation is about being in the present.
Eating mindfully not only allow us to properly savour the food, have enough bites, and we would learn to be more aware of what we're feeding our body with. Not just that, even the Chef who's preparing the mood makes a difference, as we could feel the energy of the food (no kidding). You know when they say, if you're a passionate Chef, your customers would feel your passion through the food. Yep, that's the way it is.
You might find some technics and exercise might felt weird, such as noting the texture with your lips and holding the food in your mouth. But mindfulness to me is to just be aware of all sensations and take your time to consume the food.
Take enough bites, stop your mind from wandering during eating and slowly consume and savour the food. It might sound slightly exaggerated, but sometimes during consumption, I'll feel how saliva is secreted and how the food slides against the wall of my throat.
Here are some simple steps to help
1) Put away your gadgets and have a decent me-time meal
2) Experience your food as you notice the flavour sensation in your mouth as you chew.
3) Chew slower, and never make yourself feel rushed. Take all the time you need.
(i know it's hard as everyone like to gobble up their food)
I'm still no expert as I'm trying to eat mindfully every day even though sometimes I might give in to temptation whenever the seaweed shaker fries make it's way back to the menu of McDonald's. Worse, still, I watch videos while eating Mcdonald's, that's a double whammy.
Maybe the next level would be also considering where the food is from or only eating when you're truly hungry. This made consumption a need, not a want, and we don't give in to cravings, temptation and also we would prevent bingeing.
Knowing where the food comes from might also cause us to make a healthier choice as well, as we're more aware of what are we putting into our body, we would put less junk/snacks into our stomach.
At the end of the day, maybe you'll like mindful eating, maybe you'll not, but once you're aware, you'll find yourself enjoying your meals more as you notice your food felt more flavorful. Given the way we're living, I try to do this at least once every few days, even though sometimes tight schedules don't really allow me to just "eat", but then again, it is always good to be mindful.