Sunday, September 11, 2016

Eating on a full mind

The experience of a meal starts well before energy in an edible form we call food hits the senses, primarily that of taste and smell and ends when it leaves the mouth. Food is a significant part of the pursuit of happiness, and the sensations it evokes within has become a powerful surrogate for a happy state of existence. Cultural ties that are linked to food have been forged over centuries, braving both war and famine. These unique regional cuisines have solidified down the ages. So much so, that UNESCO has a list of intangible cultural treasures which includes traditional cuisines such as Mexican, Japanese, French etc. Of course any one is free to indulge in any particular cuisine far from its place of origin, and there isn’t any royalty exchanged in the process. Certain cuisines have an air of exoticness and sophistication around them. Other types of food are commonplace and are considered comfort food. With such a wide variety of treats from all over the world to choose from, it almost seems unfair that our stomachs are only the size of one’s fist. At that size, it has room for samplers and water. However, it is able to expand to many times its original size and therein lies one of the keys to the obesity epidemic. Left to its own devices, the body has enough checks and balances to prevent overloading of the stomach and the digestive machinery. But the safety mechanisms of body are easily overpowered by the mind. When it comes to food, the mind is a paradox. There is conscious awareness of what we want to eat, but during the actual act of eating, the mind is someplace else. Food has become a fuel to a wandering mind.