“If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy”.
Thich Nhat Hanh
This is by far one of my favourite quotes. It may seem excessive but just think: how many of us actually ‘savour’ the food that we eat? Amidst the maddening lifestyle, with each one of us racing against time, do we really ‘taste’ every morsel and acknowledge the flavours, aroma and textures? For some of us, eating is more about function than form, an act of sustenance as opposed to an experience. Is it because of time constraints, lack of interest or the sheer guilt of consumption?
There are some disheartening, and sadly, growing trends that I have been observing. One is the speed at which meals are eaten. Or should i say inhaled. Wolfing down large chunks of chow, without much chew, with the same enthusiasm as Sunday chores! I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I’m a foodie, or maybe it’s because I truly believe that eating is an event, and one should honour each meal by giving it the respect it deserves. Food isn’t just about sustenance and this isn’t the Stone Age where grub equals to survival. Seriously people, i urge you to eat well and proper! After all, anything that’s customary 3-4 times daily is of paramount importance. I understand that not everyone can afford the luxury of a 30 minute sit down feast. But if you can spare some time to paint your nails, drink wine, blast your co worker or shop for the perfect pair of jeans, then I’m positive that you can manufacture time to pleasure eat. Your palate will sing, your calorie count will drop and your insides will smile. 🙂
The second, rather unsettling observation that has often caught my eye is ‘Food Guilt’. The toxic, destructive relationship with food that some of us have resigned to. We have turned a potentially uplifting experience into a punishable act. The desperate quest to shun our lives from the threatening world of ‘Carbs’ and ‘Fat’. If we do commit the grave error of exceeding the count by the slightest amount, we hop onto the ‘dreadmill’ to pay penance for our crime against carbs, followed by starvation and maybe some more guilt. I personally feel that the pressures of society are the main culprits here. The barbie doll image which has shaped our perception of a sexy body type, the airbrushed cover Goddesses, the size zero divas that walk the ramp and the glitz, glamour, decadence and transcendence of it all. All cleverly layered with promises of raising your desirability and diva quotient. It can be easy to fall prey to this illusion, and all the exuberance it stands for. It’s not surprising then, that eating has become synonymous with sin!
Let me also add, that I in no way advocate unhealthy eating. I’m not encouraging you to devour a packet of cheese soaked fries everyday, or make pizza dinners the norm. I may be a foodie but I’m conscious about my daily intake and workout. What I’m saying is, develop a healthy relationship with food, and change the negative background voice that gnaws at you every time you pick up your spoon. And stop living behind the veils of guilt. As long as your eating habits are by and large healthy, you’re doing just fine. Focus on finding your inner balance and love yourself. Alot. You will automatically be drawn to a more balanced, yet pleasurable approach towards food.