Friday, July 31, 2015

How To Eat Slower

Photo: Viktor Hanacek

Not long ago I had lunch with a sweet friend I haven't seen in awhile. We met during her lunch break at a small café. When the waiter brought our food, she scarfed it down. Feeling like she must be on a time crunch, I hurried and ate my lunch too. I didn't want to have to say goodbye to her while I was still eating.

We both finished and the waiter cleared our dishes. Then we sat and talked for another half hour. I was confused by her rush to eat. 

If you've read my blog for any length of time this year, you know the emerging theme has been slow down. I've purposed over the past couple of years to slow down with my eating, and not because I'm a scarf-it-down kind of person. On the contrary, I'm often the last one to finish. When I was a kid I’d get in trouble for picking at my food, often being the last one done.

But more than just eating slow, I'm slowing down to notice my food and surroundings. I try to turn off electronics to eat and not eat on the go; I want to experience the blessing of what God has provided with a grateful heart.


Here is an exercise to follow when you eat. You don't have to do this all the time, but once a day or once a week purpose to slow down and notice your food.

Look At It
What does it look like? What color is it? Notice the fibers or texture. Is it dry or juicy? Think about what it took to grow it - rain, sun, dirt, hard-working farmers.

Smell It
What does it smell like? Does it smell savory or sweet? Does it smell like outside, as if you can imagine it growing in the sun?

What is going on in your mouth? Is it watering in anticipation of your first bite? 

Touch It
How does it feel? Soft? Hard? Squishy? Define it.

Put It In Your Mouth
But don't bite yet! Roll it around and feel its texture on your tongue. Describe its texture: rough, smooth, bumpy, mushy, cold. 

Chew It
Chew slow and notice how your tongue moves it around. What does it feel like between your teeth? 

Taste It
What does it taste like? Sweet? Sour? Juicy? Delicious? Horrible?

Swallow It
What happens when you swallow? Feel the tongue push it to the back of your mouth and notice what happens with the throat muscles.

Take a minute to think about what you just experienced. What did you learn about the process of eating, chewing, swallowing? What did you notice about your food that you didn't know before?

Take a minute to breathe and give thanks to Jesus for how intricate He created us and our food! 

Now try this experiment again with the next bite!

As you eat your meal, eat slow. Chew deliberately, put your fork down between bites, take a sip of water, notice nature, enjoy conversation. Eating isn't a race to see who can finish first; enjoy the experience!

And you'll eat less if you eat slower!

What kind of eater are you? Slow? Fast? Has this exercise been helpful to you? Share your thoughts below or via Twitter or Facebook!