Since taste is highly dependent on a sense of smell, some of the experiences of smell are also associated with taste. I am allergic to dairy, but before I knew dairy was a major cause for my chronic bronchitis and pleurisy, ice cream was my go-to treat. So when a soy-based frozen dessert company issued a mint-chocolate-chip “ice cream” alternative I was immediately transported back to the times my best friend and I would, on a summer’s day, ride our bikes up to the Häagen-Dazs shop and I would savor the intense flavors and cold relief of mint chocolate chip ice cream on a sugar cone.
But when I lived several months in Turkey and mid-stay after consuming a fair quantity of honey-soaked confections I became violently ill, to this day, anything with honey makes my stomach flip out.
Ps34:8 “O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in God.” I will paraphrase Ps119:103 “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey (chocolate mint) to my mouth!” Song of Songs 2:3 “As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.”
To really taste something, I need to slow down, to sit and pay attention to what I’m eating. Taking in a breath automatically draws in the fragrance from the meal. And if I take a few breaths before taking a bite, I might distinguish some of the ingredients used in the dish.
Taking time with my meal allows my body to digest the food – enough time to provide the sense of satisfaction and fullness so I do not eat more than I need.
So try this today. Every time you are about to eat, make sure you are sitting down. If it is a meal, sit at the table – even if you are alone – and turn off the TV and keep away from the computer and phone. Breathe. Inhale the aroma, feel the warmth of the just-cooked meal. Exhale a prayer of thanksgiving for this food. Breathe again before taking a bite. When you take a bite, test to see if it is cool enough not to burn, then let the portion stay in your mouth for a few extra moments. Allow the flavor to fill your mouth, coat your tongue and notice. Are your salivary glands exploding? What is the texture of the food? Chew slowly and notice. Do more flavors squeeze from the morsels? What are they? Do they remind you of something? As you swallow, notice. Can you feel how the food travels the esophagus? How your stomach welcomes the nourishment? With each bite, do you notice more flavors? Sweet? Salty? Bitter? Bland? Slow down. Notice. Access your hunger. Are you satisfied?
Choose a meal or snack time each day – be consistent – wherein you practice mindful eating. Experiment with different spices, mix flavors you might not have thought to mix before. Sign up to receive tips and recipes from a blog such as www.chewandtaste.com.
Also, there are resources and links on my website eirenicole.com and I offer wellness coaching that integrates mindfulness practice, nutrition and exercise via a “virtual office” also found on my website.
And today, may you walk at the pace of grace.