Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chew your food

On my way home from my trip to Minnesota, Bunny and I were seated next to a man named Pat. Pat was a strange fellow, and every ten seconds or so he’d spew out some fact that was sometimes, but not always, relevant to what we were actually discussing. Bunny and I had been to the bar in celebration of her anniversary with our company, and we tibbled. So, we had a friendly little go at Pat. I discovered I could make him nervous by staring real hard at him, so I did that a lot. We had other things to keep us entertained on the flight, things that did not included fact-gathering from our seat-mates, but the fact is that Pat was just so damn fun to listen to (if a bit pompous).

One of the things Pat talked about was blood type, and its association with certain personality characteristics. Bunny became interested in the topic and did some research into diets designed around blood types, and unloaded some facts on me today. In reading through a library book I ran across a guideline of things to do to be healthier, one of which was “eat slowly”. The book described the process of chewing ones’ bite of food before moving on to the next one, really being in the moment with that mouthful. Don’t load up your fork for the next mouthful, don’t dig around in the food on your plate planning what to devour next … really do the whole chew-your-food-and-swallow routine we learned as kids.

This is a theme in my life recently. Ajahn Brahm talks a lot about being in the moment and food comes up a lot in his Dhamma talks. I have a big problem with food, a problem that seems to get bigger the older I get. I alternate between loving and hating food; between not being able to get enough fattening, sugary, food-particles in my body and wanting to throw up every time I eat. I don’t eat compulsively, unless it’s yummy. Then I feel bad (but I hardly ever actually throw up after). I’ve been working on changing my relationship with food, changing how I feel about food, but it’s hard work. It helps listening to Brahm. He always knows just what to say to make me feel better about it all.

And what he’s saying lately is “slow down, and chew your food”. It helps for more than just food. It also means "pay attention to the things that matter to you", and "focus on your work", and "devote your energy", and "develop better relationships".

At least, it says all those things to me.

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