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Thread: Mindful Eating

  1. #1

    Mindful Eating

    Something I came across in my readings was mindful eating. I am sure that this has been discussed in another post here. In theory it is a very simple practice, eat slow, taste every bite, dont hold untencils while eating, a peaceful way of eating. In reality it is extremely hard for me to do. I typically eat very fast and am the first one done. Some say it is like I inhale my food like a vacume. Switching to this way of eating is very difficult for me. Anyone else having this difficulty or am I the weird one

    Gassho,

    James

  2. #2
    I don't know if it is American culture or just how I was raised, but I scarf down my food too. Mindful eating is a tough thing! Until recently I ate like half of my meals in my car. That being said, there is starting to be some research on applying mindfulness to eating. Might be a promising practice.
    I took an art class once in high school. I just could NOT draw that damn bicycle. Teacher told me, "Stop looking at the page. Look at the damn bicycle."

  3. #3
    Senior Member YuimaSLC's Avatar
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    Hi James

    I'm a fast eater, too. Ever since childhood. My whole family seemed to be. I would joke and say, "I tried to get done fast, clean my plate for washing, so I didn't have to hear my dad talk "at" me....and I could go out and play some more. Hee hee. Then it became habit.

    There are some cautions to mindful eating if it becomes a self-indulgent, zombie-zen, all about me, me, me eating this, this, this savor, savor, savor.....ending in yet another superlative experience that ends up getting shared on the proverbial social network.

    Formal eating in Buddhist monasteries, especially in Japan, is not some languid, savor-the-moment event. Mealtimes are efficient.

    Have your tried chewing each bite a certain number of times....like 25-30 times? The value is that is mashes the food almost to the consistency of liquid and practically disappears from the mouth
    by itself. Some say it mixes with important enzymes in the mouth and aids greatly in digestion. Plus the food particles are so pulverized that the stomach likes it too.

    Eat less, chew more, get some exercise and adequate sleep. With those four directions, most of us don't need to buy book after book of the "latest" that will set us on the road to optimum health.
    These four directions are the foundation of any wholesome program. The rest, well, I think it just makes the author our latest celebrity.

    I usually practice mindful eating when I'm alone (spouse is at a workshop or whatever). I have to clarify that I use some of the oryoki bowls for this. I don't put down the spoon and bowl while chewing every bite. I am respectfully holding the bowl at an eating height, with spoon in hand, carefully taking the next spoonful, receiving it, sensing flavors, textures, temperature, color, et al...being grateful for what it provides....but staying away from any "indulgence". I chew, chew, chew.....efficiently but I don't languish in-the-moment.

    In gassho

    Richard

  4. #4
    Senior Member Nameless's Avatar
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    Some great advice Richard! Eating slow and chewing each bite over 20 times is an efficient way to be healthy. I've always eaten like the food's about to run away from me since I was young, so mindful eating definitely doesn't come naturally to me. If you eat slowly you often tend to eat less as well. The stomach has time to process some of it, telling the brain, "Okay, buddy! That's enough!" When we eat fast, we tend to eat more than necessary.

    Gassho, John

  5. #5
    Great post, Richard, and great advice there!

    Sawaki Kodo used to eat very quickly. Some Soto guys eat at turtle speed these days. The point is to be aware of what you eat and if you tend to rush, go for chopsticks, it helps to slow the whole show down.

    Please, don t go overboard and make things too sacred.



    Gassho


    Taigu

  6. #6
    This is truly a constant struggle. A few years ago I had the Lab Band installed to help me lose weight. With the band, it adds physical restrictions that slows the passage of food. It is basically turning your stomach into a funnel. Slow eating is mandatory otherwise things get stuck, which results in a unpleasant burp up of food. Two years later. I still woof my food down.

    Lesson to this: we are creatures of habit. Food habits are some of the strongest to break down. Mindful eating is now part of my practice. Like my zazen, I often become distracted and don't do what I ought to do. But, that is why it is practice. I hope I finally get it down, but it could take 30 years or a lifetime more.

    Gassho,

    Richard

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    go for chopsticks
    This is great advice ... I use chopsticks for almost everything I eat.

    Just don't hold the bowl of rice to close to the face, too easy to shovel it in.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  8. #8
    I wasnt meaning for mindful eating to be a sacred event or for it to be really anything more then a more peaceful way of eating. In a world that can be fast paced and hectic mindful eating was just a way to slow one more thing down and take it easy. Which I wasnt doing prior as mealtime always seemed rushed.Thank you everyone for your comments!

    Gassho,

    James

  9. #9
    Hi Taigu,

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    Sawaki Kodo used to eat very quickly. Some Soto guys eat at turtle speed these days.
    Very interesting! I remember having seen a documentary about Antaiji where the Abott (Muho) said they eat quickly there.
    IMHO there is a tendency nowadays to think you have to do everything in slow-motion in order to be mindful.
    In fact, I have even experienced the opposite! When I do something fast, I automatically have to concentrate more and then I am not as easily distracted.
    Actually, I tried this when washing the dishes, and it really worked. Not hectic, of course, but just fast. It was just an experiment though, usually I like things more relaxed and laid back...

    Gassho

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cumminjd View Post
    I wasnt meaning for mindful eating to be a sacred event or for it to be really anything more then a more peaceful way of eating. In a world that can be fast paced and hectic mindful eating was just a way to slow one more thing down and take it easy. Which I wasnt doing prior as mealtime always seemed rushed.Thank you everyone for your comments!

    Gassho,

    James
    Just try one meal a week or so where you really pay attention? Make it easy and interesting. I usually eat very fast too. Then I think it is a pity, because I cook everything from scratch, and what took so long to make should be appreciated more! So I too am learning and experimenting with this. Counting while chewing is great advice, I've tried that too and it helps. Another thing that helps is really thinking about what the food is made of and where it came from.

  11. #11
    If you go on a diet or eat something new or something that may not be your favorite thing that will bring some mindfulness. hahaahah

    Truthfully though, my wife and I have started eating healthfully and avoid eating out.. .We ate out a lot, and at first it was difficult but you do reach a point where you really appreciate the taste of the ingredients like the taste of the garlic or kale, fish or whatever it is. When eating out, things can be so overseasoned the ingredients get hidden. In addition, by not overeating, you actually feel hungry which also brings attention to the food when you are eating it.

    Anyway... just some thoughts.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  12. #12
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    On my first Ango here at Treeleaf (a few years back), Jundo posted the Meal Gatha. Little did I know it would change my life forever.

    Thanks to it I became mindful of what I eat and got involved with everything that I have to nourish myself and my practice. I even lost weight. A lot

    I don't do fancy practices or rituals and I can't always recite the gatha out loud. But I made a habit of always keep it in mind.

    (Hands in Gassho) This food comes from the efforts
    of all sentient beings past and present,
    and is medicine for nourishment of our Practice-Life.
    We offer this meal of many virtues and tastes
    to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,
    and to all life in every realm of existence.
    May all sentient beings in the universe
    be sufficiently nourished.
    And I'm grateful whenever I see food on my plate. Sadly, more people than we'll ever know aren't that lucky.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

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