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What kind of attitude do you eat with?
Posted by: iandthou ()
Date: November 04, 2015 10:30AM

When you have a meal, do you eat quietly, or do you eat and converse with others, or do you watch something on a screen or read?

I've been wondering about how important it is to be aware of not just what I eat, but also how I eat it. I used to eat while watching a video on my laptop, but I have stopped doing that. I realised that when I sit quietly, away from everything, and eat, I am more mindful of how the food affects my body. It seems that am more sensitive to the moment when I have eaten beyond the needs of my body. If I have eaten more than I needed to, I am more aware of what kind of excess is it - do I have too much sugar, or protein, or something else. I am also more aware of the spiritual qualities of the food - sattvic, rajasic, tamasic. Also, there is a sense of the interconnectedness of all things - the trees that my fruits come from, the air and the water that nourishes those trees, and so on.

Hence, I eat at least two of my three meals alone. Once a day I eat either with fellow students or researchers at school, or at home with my mother who I live with. Usually, if there are any dietary excesses, they are at this time. My attention is often more on what the other person is saying rather than on how the food affects me. I end up eating more for my palette than for my sense of hunger. My sensitivity to the needs of the body - the quantity of food, the spiritual quality of the food, and so on - is much lesser and my sensitivity to the needs of my palette is much more. Perhaps this is because the needs of taste are more 'gross' or strong and the needs of the body are subtle.

At the same time, it gives me pleasure and a sense of gratitude to break bread together with someone, to share food with them to some extent, and just to nourish our bodies together. Usually, the other person is not eating with the same mindset but even then, eating together does add to what is shared and enjoyed together in a relationship. So I would not want to give that up completely.

What are your experiences of eating? Do you prefer to eat alone? Do you overeat in social situations? If yes, how do you avoid doing so?

What attitude do you have towards the food you eat - do you feel and express gratitude, or do you focus on the nutritional qualities of the food, or its spiritual qualities, or is eating a chore to be completed quickly before you move on to other things?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/2015 10:35AM by iandthou.

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Re: What kind of attitude do you eat with?
Posted by: lisa m ()
Date: November 04, 2015 11:03AM

Excellent points iandthou, conscious eating is so healing. I've heard of retreats where people sit and eat together, but they are quiet and paying attention to their food. This seems like a lovely way to eat with others but also remain conscious to the food.

If I'm eating with others it's usually in a restaurant setting so I eat very minimally anyway, just a small salad or something, as there usually isn't much raw stuff on the menu.

One thing I heard once that makes sense to me is how it is bad for the eyes to eat while reading or looking at a computer screen, as the body is sending energy to the digestive system so the eyes become weak. Think it's a Taoist idea maybe?

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Re: What kind of attitude do you eat with?
Posted by: Ela2013 ()
Date: November 04, 2015 12:00PM

I eat while watching Youtube videos or reading on the internet. Right now I'm eating apples as I'm typing this. I love to eat when my husband is next to me, we cuddle up in bed and I have my fruits or my dinner while he is watching tv or reading on the internet or snacking on something (sometimes I eat and he is sleeping for the night or just taking a nap during the day). I always prepare and eat my food in the room where I'm staying with my husband (we live with his parents, so no kitchen available for me - too busy kitchen, no good conditions for un-cooking). And I always eat in bed, I don't like to eat at a table. Even if my husband eats a standard diet, I love eating when he is next to me, as opposed to eating with my family, because they don't always agree with my diet and keep giving me advice on how and what I should eat (plus I don't like to see them eating animals). Also, when I'm around them and they see me eating, they nibble on my food, so I'm afraid I'm going to be left without enough food and I don't have enough money to go and replace the food they ate (I'm on a very tight budget).


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Re: What kind of attitude do you eat with?
Posted by: iandthou ()
Date: November 05, 2015 07:28AM

Thank you both for your replies.

Lisa, yes, the idea of not using your eyes to read or even watch a screen while eating makes sense to me. I think perhaps the single biggest change I see in my 5 months of being largely on a living food diet is that I am much more conscious of prana or energy and how it is moving inside and outside my body. It is such a strong experience that I began to read on Tai Chi and now practise it everyday for half an hour or so.

From the chi / prana / energy perspective it seems to me that it is best to keep prana within oneself rather than let it be distracted by a book or a screen or even another person. When I truly enjoy eating with another person our attention is not running off into various topics. Rather, the conversation is a slow, quiet one with many pauses. A sort of shared mindfulness meditation, which is not forced and does not impose silence on oneself and the other. It is spontaneous enough to allow some conversation, but it doesn't forget that the centre of our activity in the moment is the eating, relishing, and being aware of the food we are putting into ourselves.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/05/2015 07:29AM by iandthou.

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