There was a reasoning behind saying grace at dinner, making mealtime a traditional ritual and observing it on a daily basis. All meals had this component, but it was always the last meal of the day which carried the greatest significance. This ritual honored the human family by getting us to slow down for a few minutes, so that we could share with one another.
We are beginning to understand that such rituals at mealtime served another purpose, they made us eat more slowly. Eating too fast has been the subject of discussion in modern nutrition and health circles. Because the benefits of eating more slowly have been studied and documented in recent years, showing significant results.
Eating Too Fast in Modern Times
The following question was asked, as part of an online Q&A with Women's Health Magazine, "I eat really fast. I know it's not good for me, but I often don't really think about the fact that I'm doing it until my food is gone. How can I slow down and be more mindful?"
Brittany Kohn, R.D., an expert nutritionist from Middleberg Nutrition in New York City, NY answered the question. She gave a holistic viewpoint that is characteristic for a nutritional specialist,"You're right that inhaling your meals isn't healthy. Because it takes at least 20 minutes for your body to begin registering fullness, wolfing everything down makes you prone to overeating and potential weight gain."
Kohn points out, that in our hectic new age with fast food rewards around us everywhere, it is hard to be nutritionally disciplined. Today is filled with a million temptations and choices that encourage us to gorge, as part of our daily health diet. Still there are some ways we can learn to eat more slowly, so we get the full benefit of the food we consume.
Learning How to Eat More Slowly
The pace at which we eat is dictated by several factors, but we can change them consciously. Here are some of the most important things that dictate the pace of our eating.
One reason you may be eating ravenously, could be your lack of sustenance throughout the day. Make sure that you are eating breakfast and lunch, but if your schedule makes this difficult, then be sure to snack several times a day. It is possible that your eating pace is being dictated by hunger, rather than an inability to slow down.
Taking time to prepare your meals sets the overall tone of eating. Even if your meal is packaged or in a carry out container, take a moment to unpack it and set it upon a plate. Make eating something more formal than playing a video game or answering e-mail. Also shut down mobile phones and other devices that might break the mood you are setting for eating.
Always prepare a beverage or water to drink, both are an equally fine choice. Using a beverage to break up the pace of your meal is a way of making time pass, it also helps wash down the food and cleanses the palette after each bite. Don't gulp down your drinks, but rather try sipping them. Also make an attempt to drink at least 2 full glasses of your chosen beverage, this will also help slow down your pace.
Finally, learning to eat slowly begins with the most fundamental of our mealtime actions, the activity of chewing our food. Try chewing each bite you take, a minimum of 10 to 15 times. While chewing, it helps to place your fork or spoon back down on the table. Allowing yourself the time to savor each bite, take in the full sensations and the food's flavor, your enjoyment will be increased. Also using these techniques will be sure to slow down your eating pace and make your mealtime a memorable experience.
We Can Learn From Eating More Slowly
According to Consumer Health Digest, the theory of eating more slowly isn't a new one, it goes back to our furthest human history. Nearly every culture has created rituals that observed mealtimes and reserved this time to reflect, share, laugh and eat together. It was so important to human history, that ritualistic eating has become a part of all the major religious movements, military organizations and government institutions.
Today, we are beginning to see that learning to eat slowly maybe important for our personal health, because it gets us to relax and let go of our daily stress. It also insures that what we eat is able to nourish our body, mind and spirit. This is the lesson and benefit of learning to eat more slowly. It's a concept that has as much relevance today, as it has throughout all time.