Today in the era of ‘fast and instantaneous’ we have almost forgotten the value of slowing down and being present when we consume food. Most of us eat mindlessly to pass the time or to temporarily sate our hunger because we are so preoccupied with crossing things off of our to-do lists and meeting deadlines. But eating your meals should be a total experience where you engage not one but all of your senses to create a wholesome experience for yourself.
According to Ayurvedic philosophy, eating while using all of your senses is similar to meditating because it provides our valuable bodies the time to actually register the food we eat and, over time, improves digestion. It serves as a symbol of showing respect for your body. Even if you prepare the healthiest meal known to humankind, the nourishment will still be lacking if you don't take the time to integrate all of your sensory elements.
Here’s how you can eat with all your five senses-
Whenever you sit down to eat, the first thing to do is to engage with the gift of sight. Take a good minute before you start, and examine what is present on your plate. What does it look like? What are the colours that stand out? Does it look appetizing?
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It is undoubtedly a gift to humankind to be able to smell things and recognize various scents, fragrances, and scents. We rely heavily on our sense of smell to help us enjoy our meals. Simply passing by a cake shop reminds me of my birthday due to the sweet scent that it expels. After engaging your sense of sight, concentrate on the food's smell. What scent does this have? Does it have a delicious smell? Pungent? Spicy?
Traditionally, people in India didn’t use spoons and forks to eat their food. The only way to eat was the one with their hands. The awareness that touch creates in unparalleled. Ayurveda recommends eating without spoons and forks and digging in with your hands. What is the texture of the food I am about to consume? Is it rough? Is it soft? Is it too hot to consume?
4. Tongue/ Mouth
When the food enters your mouth, close your eyes for a second and try to pay attention to the different flavours exploding in your mouth. Is that sweet? Is that sour? Did it taste the exact way my brain anticipated when I engaged the other senses? Chew the food properly and slowly, don’t be in a hurry to gobble it down quickly.
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Your ears are quite an underrated sensory organ when it comes to eating your meals. Does one wonder what work the ears have? And how can one engage their ears in this wonderful experience? While consuming food one should be mindful of not being in a chaotic surrounding with too many background noises. Hear the sounds when you bite into something crunchy like papad or an apple. Hear the sound that it makes as you gulp something down.
Be aware and see the difference yourself!