Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Read an interesting article in the NYT about mindful eating; thinking more about the food you're eating while you're eating it in an attempt to practice gratitude and moderation.

I'm always onboard when I hear about stuff like this. Serving food is the fastest way to grow disgusted with how people eat. Servers have a unique experience in their workplace in that they not only have to ignore how gross their clients are, they have to pretend that their behavior is perfectly acceptable. Maybe strippers have this experience as well. So when someone yells at you with a mouth full of food asking for another Coke, not only are you forced to check your natural reaction to dry-heave, you're actually preconditioned to smile. An overly enthusiastic, "Of course!" always means, "Thanks for not waiting to chew! I would have been sorry to miss your request for a ninth refill, you beast."

I'm guilty of this too, don't get me wrong. When I get a burrito, I grab a corner seat and face the wall. It's not pretty. If I'm unsure about a new cereal's ability to remain crunchy in the milk, I'll finish the bowl faster than you can say cerealously. And a sleeve of Thin Mints is the actual serving size for Thin Mints. I once heard someone say they could only eat two thin mints before getting full and I never talked to that person again. Why am I going to waste my time on a liar?

But gratitude and moderation are good things to practice. So after reading the article, I put it to use. I decided to start small, just with a snack, and by using stream of consciousness, attention to detail, and small slices, it took me seven minutes to eat a banana.

Here's what I found out by taking seven minutes to eat a banana:
1) That gross eating a banana noise is only heightened when you try to get in 25 chews per bite.
2) You can't really chew a slice of banana 25 times. After one bite it's the same sensation as chewing yogurt. You start to think to yourself, "Why am I still doing this? I'm not even chewing at this point. I'm just moving my tongue to the roof of my mouth. Is this what it will feel like when I don't have teeth? Why won't you have teeth? Maybe I'll live so long they'll all fall out. You'll live that long and yet there will be no advancements in dentistry?! Finish this banana and go floss immediately."
3) You become mildly self-conscious that you're talking to yourself.
4) No you don't. You talk to yourself all the time. Eating alone only makes you talk to yourself more.
5) You discover that the marks in the inner banana peel made by the knife grow darker with time. You decide that if you were ever kidnapped in the jungle, you would leave notes for your rescuers using this technique. When you're eventually found, you'll be praised for your ingenuity and also have incredibly healthy potassium levels. A win-win.

Mindful eating was an interesting experience, but if you're going to try it with soup, better make it gazpacho.


Amalia said...

"That gross eating a banana noise is only heightened when you try to get in 25 chews per bite."

This is exactly why I eat bananas as fast as possible! Thank you for putting it into words.

amanda + daniel said...

Nice one, Jess. I love the thin mint thoughts, very true!

Jess said...

Thanks, Amanda! btw, Cedar in a bow tie might be my favorite thing ever.

Hey, Amalia! same here. it was a poor choice on my part to try to slow down the process. I miss you guys!

Ness said...

I eat my banaynay's in shake form, no gross noises unless slurping bothers you. I actually just had my fourth one today and I feel really sick. Banasty.

Geoffrey Gavett said...

Ceralously love this, must stay mindfull of taking a corner seat and facing the wall, that's what I've been doing wrong all this time...HAR!

Cheeky. Love it.

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