Taking the Time to Eat

As part of my yearlong nutrition exploration, I’m trying some new things. The “habit” I’m supposed to implement for the next two weeks is eating slowly. They recommend stretching my meals out to 20 minutes. Yesterday I timed my meals, and even with slower eating, my meals averaged about 10 minutes each. Apparently, the body doesn’t register satiety until 15-20 minutes into eating. I wasn’t even close.

So, today I got up and decided if I was going to take so long to eat, I would eat first thing. I got my entire meal ready at once. Normally, I drink some kefir while I’m making coffee, drink my coffee and then grab something to eat after. This morning, I set the table with all of my food including my morning kefir and my coffee. I felt like 20 minutes would be an eternity but I was going to give it a go.

I’ve been eating soup and vegetables for breakfast for the last month, and I’ve started to love the taste of those hearty foods early in the day. So, this morning I had leftover split pea soup with sauteed onions and mushrooms.

In order to stretch it out, I took a bite, put my utensil down and chewed my food. I must say the taste was totally different from when I’m inhaling my food. I could distinctly taste each of the ingredients in my smorgasbord. The bite of the red onions complemented the creamy mushrooms perfectly. And I had never noticed the texture of barley! It’s a bit crunchy but chewy on the inside. I overcooked the zucchini, but the carrots were perfect. And the kefir tasted so good as a palate cleanser.

While I was looking at my food in between bites, I found myself wondering who picked the peas and the mushrooms. I thought of the workers at the frozen food processing plant here in Coloma that processed the frozen mushrooms. I wondered if a majority of the hands that sorted, cleaned and processed the ingredients in this meal were immigrants. I wondered how many might have been illegal in this country, searching for work to feed their family. And I wondered how my future meals might be impacted by the current political environment. I was so grateful to these people that worked so hard for me to have a meal on my table with minimal effort on my part.

My mind wandered to the magic of growth and how peas and carrots and zucchini grow from a seed into a plant suitable for consumption. I remembered my grandfather and his love of plants and farming. I wondered if I would ever like farming and experiencing the magic and art of producing my own food.

As my mind wandered to all of these places while I chewed and tasted my food, my patient dog sat staring at me. She normally cleans my plates in a doggy prewash when I’m done. I looked at her once, and she looked really impatient. Why are you taking so long?! I’m not sure she’s as into this as I am.

Yesterday the meals were torturous. I stared at my food, and my mind begged me to just finish the meal and get on with it. I know all the reasons for eating more mindfully. It’s better for your digestion. If I’m into meditation, this is a great complementary practice. I’m happy today was a better experience. I do feel a bit better. The caffeine hitting a full stomach is less like a hammer. I just feel a bit calmer and more connected to the Universe.

Oh yeah… my meal was just under 15 minutes. LOL. What will I think of to get to 20?

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