Everything is always changing. And how we eat is changing too. During the day grabbing something on the run, on our way from here to there, is common. It didn’t used to be that way. There was a time when the mid-day meal was a time to stop, eat, and rest. It was a time for the parasympathetic nervous system to do its thing: Rest and digest. Often people would go home to lunch. The table would be set. The meal would be served and enjoyed. Then after eating and clearing, everyone would take a rest before heading back to work or school.
Now, we run and eat, and eat and run and wonder why we feel hyped-up, stressed, and burnt-out. It doesn’t have to be that way. Even if lunch is brown bag, take-out or cafeteria fare, we can still make a moment of celebration and rest. It is all about the plate.
Use a plate. Stash plate and utensils in your desk at work, in your locker, or in your car or truck. Wash and dry it in the restroom. Who’s looking. Who cares.
Take a moment to unwrap and place your food on the plate. Ah, you are already slowing down. Now sit down with the plate and food.
Take a moment to take in what’s on the plate.
Notice the textures. The rough edges, the frond-like surfaces, and the smooth and round skin.
See the colors. The orangey red, the shiny black, and the palest green.
Now smell. Perhaps something sweet and acidy will rise up through your nostrils, hit the receptors there beginning a process that generates an electrical signal that travels to the brain receptor cells and then to the primary olfactory cortex. But enough of that. Just smell the food. Oh, by the way, you may not smell much. That’s OK. Just take a moment and smell. The more you focus your smelling, the better it becomes.
Bringing your awareness to the food on the plate now, just rest your eyes there. Take it all in. Now, breathe in slowly and gently following the breath down into the belly. Pause. Breathe out slowly. Do this a few times. Now, that’s good.
You are ready to eat. Enjoy.