Food For Thought

One of the topics at a recent, certain meeting that I attended, was about the actual experience of eating food. Of actually paying attention to what you are eating, and tasting your food - as opposed to scarfing something back while you answer emails at your desk, or mindlessly gulping down dinner while watching the news (or quite often in my case, the Canucks game) without even really - I mean really - tasting each bite. Another part of the discussion was that we should chew our food entirely before swallowing. I think I remember my grandma telling me this years ago.

I sat politely through the meeting, nodding my head at the appropriate times - and then went home and inhaled Subway while I watched the hockey game, talked on the phone, and painted my nails.

In fact, I didn't think too much about this topic at all until sometime Sunday while I was experiencing the Deathbed Hangover. Now, before I elaborate further on this I want to clarify that I am not blaming my "illness" on what I ate on Saturday night (as much as I would like to) - I readily admit (as difficult as it is for me) that I drank too much wine.

While I spent most of my day laying in bed, staring at the ceiling and praying for death to come - I did have time to think about some things. As much as I tried to push any memory of wine or oysters out of my head, *gag* I did think about how I slurped back those raw oysters the previous night without so much as biting them twice (you're supposed to bite them once).

And I thought, "That can NOT be good for the digestive system".

(And then I thought that drinking a bottle of wine is probably also not good for the digestive system, but that's a topic for another day.)

A fact that I remembered being discussed at the meeting was "digestion starts in your mouth" and that food should be almost liquified by the time you swallow it. So how hard did my digestive system have to work to process those whole, unchewed, cold, slippery, RAW oysters? And liquified? I'm guessing that washing them down with wine really doesn't aid in the liquification process.

Eating food like this - even if that's how oysters are supposed to be eaten - can not have done my body any good what-so-ever.

And so at tonight's meeting, when the topic was touched upon again I listened a little more closely (yes, still feeling the effects of Saturday), and I payed more attention. The people who tried experiencing the food that they ate, and who chewed and chewed and chewed their food before they swallowed - they said that they found the food more satisfying and got full before their plates were empty.

I figured after last Saturday, I owed it to myself to at least try it out.

When I sat down to start my meal this evening, I was really quite hungry. I put the usual amount of allotted calories on my plate and sat down to nosh. Ok, I'll admit that the hockey game was indeed on (baby steps) but I still managed to concentrate on chewing, tasting, eating my meal. I chewed my food until it was liquified. I actually put my fork and knife down between bites to prevent myself from mindlessly loading another shovelful into my mouth before I had swallowed the last one. I chewed and chewed and chewed. (And I washed my meal down with water instead of wine).

I'm happy to report that I could did not finish my meal. My belly felt comfortably full before my plate was empty and so I stopped eating. It felt really good to be able to do that. And to realize how mindlessly I eat sometimes. (Even when I'm not slopping back a bottle of wine).

And there's me, taking something as terrible as a Deathbed Hangover and learning something valuable from it. Makes it all worth while.... not really.