I promised pizza in this blog, and so I will now deliver. This is a Morrisons ham and pineapple. What a specimen!
But it’s not just the pizza I’m here for. This weekend, I practiced mindful eating for the first time. I read about this in Thich Nhat Hanh’s book The Miracle of Mindfulness. If you haven’t read it, I thoroughly recommend it.
In modern life, it’s often really hard to practice mindful eating because of all the distractions we may have around meal times. Television, music, even negative discussions can lead us to be absent from the moment of eating and enjoying our food. How often do we eat our food and remember every bite? How often do we have a snack, and only savour the first and last bites, because these are the ones we take notice of?
So on Sunday, I made a pizza and ate it mindfully. I know it’s not the most sophisticated meal to try this with, but just go with me…
It felt so strange at first; trying to notice every sensation from how warm the pizza was, to how it smelt and the texture as I put it in my mouth. Once in the mouth, noticing how the texture changed, the temperature, the different flavours. Finally, when swallowed, how it felt once it was gone. Every bite I tried to do this. Obviously, being a beginner, my mind wandered and I had to gently bring it back quite a few times to the act of just eating. I found that I was full quicker, as I was eating slowly. I also enjoyed the meal so much more, appreciating each morsel as I usually do with my final mouthful. Eating in silence was also a very positive and reflective experience, which I didn’t think it would be.
If this sounds bizarre, why not try imagining it in the classic Buddhist way of enjoying a tangerine! Probably a nicer image than me and my pizza.
Of course, I won’t always be eating alone and neither should you (it’s worth noting that I did not eat the whole pizza to myself…) It is possible to practice mindful eating with others, but I would switch the television off to do this successfully. Thich Nhat Hanh also suggests steering conversations away from anything which may cause discomfort to you or others; this will only cause them or yourself to be away from the present and not able to enjoy a mindful meal. Positive conversation and regular reference to the food is the best way to ensure a truly present meal. Once I’ve tried these techniques out, I will write again and see if it’s as easy as its sounds!
So, for now, I’ll just leave you with this. Have a great week everyone! 😌🙏