“Wolf…Wolf……..Wolf!” Can you hear that sound at workplaces all over the United States? It’s the sound of us wolfing down our lunches while we sit at our desks, trying to work and eat at the same time. Some of us are under tremendous pressure to produce more and more at work as a condition of keeping our jobs, and personal needs like nourishing our bodies fall off our priority lists. Almost all of us have lives that are over-scheduled to the point where we eat in our cars, eat standing up, rush through meals without tasting our food.
We deserve better.
Savoring our food is a radical act. There isn’t much cultural support for eating slowly enough to thoroughly enjoy food or even to be aware of what we’re eating. You may feel that it’s unrealistic or even weird to close your eyes a few times during a meal to notice sweet, bland, and sour flavors and to feel a crispy food become soft. However, doing this actually changes us. If we start chewing slowly enough to taste our meals and snacks, we begin to carry mindfulness into the rest of our day without even thinking about it.
I love grapes and had some for breakfast this morning. They’re from the farmers’ market and are especially delicious. If there’s any food that is worth eating mindfully, it’s these grapes. I put one in my mouth and closed my eyes. I wanted to eat them quickly because they’re so good. But accepting my desire to rush, I chewed them slowly. After a bit, the delightful sweetness faded, and I noticed how much I disliked that. The textures held my interest: very juicy, a tough skin, slippery beneath the skin. Who knew?
Try this exercise and see what happens.