Leisureguy has a good post on Mindful Eating and a link to this article in the NY Times about the growing popularity of this practice as a way of reconnecting with yourself and learning to eat in tune with your body’s needs.
Here’s what I commented to Michael’s post:
You may recall that I’ve been experimenting with this for the last year. I have one other suggestion that, it turns out, is extremely difficult although very simple. Take much smaller bites. This sounds very easy, but I’ve found it the toughest of all the “chilled-out gestures”. The mouth to size-of-bite ratio seems to be quite strongly hard-wired.
My own observation around mindfulness is actually antithetical to the article’s tenets. Mindfulness destroys spontaneity and the pleasure of the unexpected discovery. It’s as if you are looking so hard for something that you don’t see it. I’ve noticed it very much in my daily Greek coffee ritual: When I try to savor the aroma consciously, it becomes very hard to detect and appreciate. But if I am “just making coffee”, there are sudden moments when the smell penetrates the mind with an excruciatingly pleasant “Ahhhhhhhh”.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Buddhist monks in various mindfulness sessions. It is brutally unpleasant; the exact opposite of what you might expect.
In general, I prefer the French approach: Sitting with good company, in an elegant and convivial setting, enjoying the total gestalt of place, people, and food, and reveling in the occasional, spontaneous moments of “Ahhhh”.