We all lead busy and distracted lives and our culture eating habits reflect this. We are a nation ‘on the go’ and everything needs to be fast, even our food. The eating habits we have developed since the onset prepared meals, preservatives and fast foods is dramatically impacting our health. We need to get back in the kitchen and make homemade nutritious meals a priority again.
Adopting these three habits can help make eating an experience again:
1. Chew your food:
Statistics show that the average person chews each bit of food 6 times. That is well below the ideal range of 20-30 chew per bite. We are literally inhaling our food and this can interfere with proper digestion and assimilation. Your digestive system handles smaller particles of food that have been broken down by the enzymes in your salivary glands much better. Pay attention next time you are eating and see how many times you chew your food, you will be amazed. Make it a habit to be more cognizant of how much you chew your food for about three weeks, really making the effort to chew at least 20 times and it may become a habit.
2. Sit at a table & try not to eat alone:
Eat your meals at a table, not the couch, not your car, not your desk, not off the kitchen counter or over the stove while you cook. Too many of us are eating breakfast in the car, lunch at our desks while we work and dinner on the couch. If you just make a simple effort to eat your meals at a table, it will profoundly change the experience you have. Eating should be an occasion, you should set time aside for it so you can focus, relax and enjoy. This allows your body to focus on one task at a time which is the process of eating, digesting and assimilating. Eating with others can also enhance the experience of eating and create quality time with family and friends.
3. Prepare your own food:
Statics from Michael Pollan’s show ‘Cooked’ state that our current average meal prep time is 27 minutes, and in 1965 it was 60 minutes. We now spend less than half the time our parents and grandparents spent preparing our meals. I think it could do wonders for people’s health if they prioritized meal preparation over some of the other things that make their lives so ‘busy’. When it comes to meal preparation priority is key, it needs to become important enough for people to set aside the time to do, and often it may still only take 30 minutes, there are many simple wholesome meals. Buy wholesome natural foods (one ingredient foods) and create meals out of them. Avoid prepackaged, and preservative filled items and you will be amazed at how much more satisfying your meals can be. Set aside time for dinner, so you don’t feel rushed, and involve the family. Cooking with your children, partner, parents and friends can be an enjoyable experience. Trying to eat healthy without cooking whole foods yourself is pretty much impossible. If you look at the ingredients label there are unwanted additives in almost everything that is premade. Another statics from Michael Pollan states, as the amount of time we spend cooking goes down, the amount we eat increases and generally you are eating more processed food with added sugar therefore you more likely to gain wait.
We need to put more emphasis on making the act of eating a visual, fragrant and delicious experience again. Get your family and your senses involved and take time to make healthy and nutritious habits.