I’ve recently asked this question in a Facebook post. One or two people said they rarely do it. But quite a few wrote that this is pretty much the norm, or happens quite often. It seems to be quite common, and normal.
It is not for me to make any judgments, but I want to share my experience.
My wife is a marvellous cook (see photo😋). We regularly eat the best home-made food. A TV-lunchbox hasn’t seen the inside of our house, ever. Often enough the whole family prepares a meal. There is love, time and attention invested in what we eat.
Consequently, meals are a family event. We rarely have breakfast at the same time, but lunch and dinner happen around the table and involve everybody who is at home. And in this Covid era we’ve been at home more than ever. There are, theoretically, no phones at the table (this one is occasionally challenged by our daughters, but we manage to keep it in check).
I have no reason to claim that this is the way things should be, but it brings me back to my favourite theme: Awareness.
James Clear said: "Where you spend your attention is where you spend your life." I couldn’t agree more. And it is becoming clearer with every research: the food we eat matters. It is one of the pillars of health, well-being and longevity. So I choose to spend some of my limited capacity for attention on what I eat, how I eat, with whom I eat.
I prefer not to be absent-minded about it. And believe me, I can be as absent-minded as anybody. Probably better than most.
Well, if you had my wife to cook for you every day you’d probably be more mindful of your meals. But in case you are one of the many TV eaters in our civilization, I’d like to leave you with a challenge.
Next time you find yourself in the company of food and a screen at the same time, take 3 minutes and turn off the screen. Not just paused; no distracting image frozen in front of you; really off. Three minutes is enough; it doesn’t have to be the whole meal, or snack, or whatever.
Turn off whatever you are watching or doing, and pay attention to the food in front of you. Then ask yourself:
Am I hungry?
Do I like this food?
Do I want to finish all of it?
There are no right or wrong answers. Just take a few seconds to find the answers within yourself. Then, take a bite. Savour it, notice its texture and taste. Take time to chew. Swallow and give the aftertaste a few seconds to sink in before taking the next bite.
That 's it. No judgment; no beating yourself up; no bad language. Just awareness and attention to the present moment. I bet you’ll learn something interesting. It doesn’t need to be spectacular. Awareness is powerful, and if you are a regular TV eater, this may be a novel experience.
And if you did learn something, do tell me about it.