“If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it yourself. If you want to know the theory and methods of revolution, you must take part in revolution. All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience.”
– Chairman Mao Zedong
The desire to plow through our meals can be overwhelming. In a society of excessively large portions and the ideology “you aren’t finished until your plate is clean” feeling the need to eat “our heart out” can become seemingly ingrained into our being. Putting down the fork and chewing for another 10 bites can feel extreme. However, a practice that has been a part of Buddhism, dating back centuries, illuminates a means for deeper connection with food and in return our bodies.
When we use food as meditation our mind is more inclined to listen to the body’s response to what we are consuming. Making the Japanese principle hara hachi bu – eat until only 80% full – a much easier adaption to meal time. When we eat until 80 percent full our stomach is at ease, our enzyme secretions happen in rhythm and our food is easier digested. On average we consume much less and the body’s ability to get the nutrients into the cell for cell rejuvenation is more effective. What does this mean in general for the body?
Studies on mindful eating concluded lower cholesterol levels, decreased bp, increased physical activity & weight loss. Thus, making intuitive eating an effective treatment for a variety of conditions.
- Take three deep breaths to steady the mind and calm the body.
- Become aware of the colors, smells and texture of the food. Celebrate the meal.
- Offer a blessing for your meal. Give thanks to the creator, the farmers, the earth, the rain, and the sun.
- Sip warm or room temperature water. Cold water makes the stomach work harder to digest the meal as heat is required for digestion.
- Chew your food well. Chewing breaks your food down from large particles into smaller particles that are more easily digested. This also makes it easier for your intestines to absorb nutrients from the food particles as they pass through.
- Eat silently or engage in uplifting conversation.
- Eat a modest portion. Leave about ¼ of the stomach empty to aid in digestion.
- Rest a bit after the meal, enjoy good light conversation or relaxing music. – Argonaut Cafe Coloma,CA