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Sunday Story…do as I say

Sunday Story…do as I say

Not as I do.

A woman brought her son to Mahatma Gandhi and asked him to tell the boy (who was eating way too much sugar) to stop eating sugar. Gandhi told her to come back in a week. When she returned a week later, he looked at the boy and told him “stop eating sugar.” The mother, puzzled, asked Gandhi why he she had to bring the boy back a week later…why not just tell him to stop eating sugar the week before? Gandhi replied, “I had to stop eating sugar myself first.”

Lots of us are guilty of this…telling someone to do something we aren’t willing to do ourselves. We do it with our children a lot. If the advice you are giving is so good for someone else, doesn’t it apply to you as well? Granted, there are some exceptions but if you are going to tell me to not drink alcohol and you are still drinking it yourself aren’t you caught on the horns of a dilemma?

Recently I wrote about 5 magic bullets surrounding nutrition. One of those “bullets” was telling you to chew your food…as a matter of fact to chew it so long as to liquefy the food in your mouth. Put the fork or spoon down and chew your food mindfully and completely. After writing that very good advice I realized that I don’t do that myself. I find myself guilty of giving good advice and not following it.

But how hard is it really? Just chew your food. I mean you have been doing it for years; you should be pretty good at it by now. But most of us chew our food while we are loading the fork up for the next bite. And then we just chomp down a couple of times without really thinking and go on to the next bite.

This robs the process in a couple of ways…digestion starts in your mouth and with poorly chewed food your stomach and the rest of your system has to work harder; valuable nutrients are not released and lost as the process gets compromised thus the great organic food you are eating is no longer as valuable; and maybe most importantly, you have lost your connection to what you are really doing which is feeding your body with great food prepared well.

So I started chewing my food more mindfully. It takes longer on side of the equation but I get much fuller sooner. So I eat less. I think about what I am eating and all the gifts that food is providing. Honestly, however, I don’t always remember. Old habits are hard to break and it is harder to teach an old dog new tricks.

Here is my challenge to you. Do it for one meal a day. If that shows up as too hard do it for the first bite of each thing on your plate. Load your fork and chew it completely replacing the fork empty while you chew…just one bite, you can do that. I can and I did.

These things matter. Mindfulness is a habit to cultivate throughout our lives. Give it a shot. You will be pleasantly surprised…I was.

John Mariotti
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