Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Zen and the Art of Eating

Today on blog for the first time a Guest post by Christiaan.
Thanks a lot !! We hope you all would enjoy this post .

From the pen of Christiaan now ....

A few days ago Sudeep asked me to do a guest post here on his blog so of course I jumped in. It quickly became apparent that the subject of the guest post should have something to do with food (this blog) and zen (my blog, sort of) so what would be easier than to write about eating zen.

On an average day, take a look around on the streets. You'll see vendors everywhere selling all kinds of fast foods for you to inhale (can't really call it eating now can we) while on the go. We're constantly combining eating or drinking and other activities. Hardly ever do we sit down and enjoy what we eat in silence. The TV is on, we're walking, perhaps driving or stuck in traffic. At all times we're doing something else while eating .

This might not be true for everyone but you'll probably at least know someone who lives this way.

Two problems come to mind when thinking about this. The first being "Do we actually taste our food?" and the second "Do we know what and how much we are eating?" Obesity is becoming a huge problem in the western world. If you ask me, the problem is doing to things at the same time. Not only do we not taste our food but we gobble up insane amounts because we're not present with our thoughts. Eating has gone on autopilot and the brakes are missing. Have you ever opened up a pack of crisps during a movie only to discover it was empty some time later? You hardly even noticed where it all went.

Why is tasting food an issue? It's not so hard for anyone to become aware of the taste of healthy foods and not so healthy foods. You can quickly discover by tasting that something might not be the best choice to eat. An added advantage is that tasting properly takes time. Inhaling your food is impossible if you want to taste things properly. You'll eat slower with the added bonus of maybe enjoying what you eat. Savoring the taste and the structure seems odd at first but once you train your pallet a bit you'll enjoy eating and don't want to waste the sensation.

Eating slower and exploring the food with your taste buds will open up a new dimension to food if all you did was rush meals. Eating can be a great pleasure, but like any pleasure moderation is in order.
To make it easier you might want to turn off the TV and other distractions so it's only you and your food.

There is a reason Zen Buddhists say "When eating, just eat." Give it a try, take the smallest possible nibble of whatever it is you might be snacking on and really taste it. Does it taste healthy? Does the taste last? Any hidden subtle flavors in there somewhere?

When eating, just eat. Rediscover your food and enjoy with moderation.

Christiaan is a trained exercise therapist and student information science in The Netherlands. His interests and hobbies don't reflect this however. He blogs about "Lifestyle design with a zen twist" and is a zen enthusiast, martial arts lover and avid book reader, all of which reflected in his blog post. The posts on Mind the Beginner have always been thought provoking which I really enjoy and others with me. Don't miss the chance to subscribe to his blog and keep in touch with him.

You can find his blog here: Mind the Beginner
And he is on twitter using: @ChristiaanH

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