Step 3: Now We Eat!

Flanders, Netherlands

Flanders, Netherlands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Breathing air and drinking water will only sustain us for so long.

We are not ethereal cloud beings. We need  to eat. The food we eat provides first of all energy to keep us alive, and energy to let us work and play. Food also provides what our bodies need to grow, heal, and thrive. Whatever goes into us – becomes a part of us.

In the previous post I hinted at the concept of mindfulness – the focus of ones awareness on this moment in time, and observing that which is around us. Mindfulness is something we should do when we are eating. Since eating is something we need to do to stay alive – we are ready and willing to engage in consuming whenever possible. Two of our senses are obviously engaged when we eat and directly make eating pleasurable – our entwined senses of  taste and smell. But there is more than taste and smell involved in eating. The sight of food can stir our appetites; or completely take it way. Food has texture and the tactile sensation of food in our mouth enhances the enjoyment of eating. Even sounds are part of enjoying a bite to eat – from a satisfying crunch of an apple to the sizzle of something cooking on the grill.

Think about a food you enjoy and the way it looks. Imagine it is about to be cooked on a grill. It slips onto the hot grill and sizzles and pops in the heat. The smell of  the cooking food primes us for eating – making our stomachs growl in anticipation and our mouths salivate in desire. We watch it cook and see the outside brown and char. Perhaps we sprinkle on some spices and get another waft of heat and desire. It is slipped onto a plate, and we admire the colour and look of the freshly cooked food. Finally we taste our labour of cooking – our mouths happily engaged by the flavors and textures of the food.

There is a sensuality to food that goes beyond merely meeting a need. In a world of abundance we forget how to enjoy food, and the cost of getting food to our tables. We forget that food takes a long journey through time and space as it is planted, grown, harvested, sorted, shipped, packaged, delivered, purchased, prepared and finally consumed. Even so called “fast-food” takes a lot of unseen time to actually deliver to the counter where we are waiting.

Next time you eat – take the time to focus on what you are eating. Appreciate the wonder of that food that is in front of you. And enjoy!

Don’t just eat to stay alive – be alive in your eating!

 

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