After recently reading Geneen Roth’s “Women, Food, and God” (cover to cover in a 48-hour span), I have been reflecting on her words about mindful eating. Do you love food? I love food. I love food enough to day dream about it and spend my free time googling new recipes to cook (thank you pinterest). I love food enough to restaurant hop around the world, finding the best dish in each city I’ve visited (Carte Blanche in Portland-check). I love food enough to remember meals from a decade ago (like that platter of sushi during happy hour with my bestie in college, or that Iranian crispy rice dish my friend’s dad made from scratch).
However, sometimes my love for food turns into an unhealthy desire. In her book, Roth describes the difference between obsession and awareness, and how they cannot coexist. She ties in the importance of mindful eating, which includes the awareness of your body’s needs and the experience of eating. How often do I sit at my computer desk to eat? How many times do I rip open a bar to chomp down quickly while driving? How many carrots did I already eat while typing this post? Mindless eating is unfortunately a part of our culture, but that doesn’t mean we should subscribe to it. Although many factors certainly contribute to the health issues present in the U.S., I would argue that mindless eating isn’t helping. What would happen if we all stopped and paid attention to our food?
Eating can be an intimate experience. I’ve tried this exercise before–eating purposely slowly with no distractions. You might want to try it too. Spend time with your food. Look at its detail; notice its colors, smells, and textures. Be aware of how you feel when you take a bite. Did it taste as you expected? Chew slowly. Take rests between bites. Relish in the experience of eating. Love your food with every bite. As Roth describes clearly, “When you love something, you spend time with it. You pay attention to it. You enjoy it.”