We Americans are fast at doing a lot of things as well as notorious for rushing through each and every moment!  This, unfortunately, means hurrying through our meals too!

But whether you are American or not, are you someone who eats breakfast on the run, races through lunch, or who occupies their mind at dinner with something other than the meal in front of your face?
I’m here to remind us all that eating is one of the most sacred acts that we do!

And flipping through electronic ads is not exactly sacred.

Being distracted while eating hinders digestion.  Why?  Because your eyes and mind are busy digesting information and external stimulation (like the flashing of television or computer images) that were not a part of our collective evolution until recently.
While the gut works hard to extract nutrients from food, your eyes have to digest the many images and words on a screen. Or your mind (and your prana) attaches to news headlines that are hard to ‘stomach’, thereby affecting the entire digestive process.The digestive process is also hindered when you are distracted from the aroma, color, and texture of your food.  In fact, our senses were of great evolutionary help to our ancestors who had to discern whether or not their ‘food’ was going to nourish or poison them.  Of course we take it for granted that what we purchase at the grocers or what is put on the table at the restaurant is fine to eat.  So we skip steps that were once a part of the digestive process.I have to admit that sometimes I slip back into my old habit of being distracted while eating.  Back in the day, I would study every nuance of a cereal box, read essays, leaf through magazines, or watch television while unmindfully making my way through whatever food or snack that I had in front of me.  And what do I notice when I am distracted from my food while eating?  A sort of temporary lump in my stomach when I’m finished with the meal.  Then this:  What meal?  Wow, that went down  fast!  You know what I mean.I had the most perfect digestion in India while undergoing pancha karma at the Ayurvedic healing center.  That the food was pure, yummy, and cooked mindfully over a fire helped.  But it was also beneficial that they served our meals in our quiet eating room where there was no WiFi or television.The almost perfect digestion that I experienced meant
*no gas
*no burping
*no bad or sour taste in my mouth
*a tongue that was pink with no white coating. (White coating indicates undigested matter in the intestines as the tongue mirrors the state of the internal organs.)
*Morning releases that were full and satisfying
*Brighter eyes
*Better mood
I felt connected to my gut and not just to the thoughts running around in my head.  And I realized that I probably had some degree of indigestion my whole life, growing up on junk food, sugar, and processed foods and eating while watching a lot of television.  The experience of great digestion was one of the best things that has ever happened to my body and to my mind!
Digestion is, well, it’s everything!
Digesting well means that the deeper layers of tissues benefit–from the blood to our bones.  Ayurveda notes 7 tissue layers, each one nourishing the next:
rasa (plasma), rakta (blood), mamsa (muscle), medas (fat), ashti (bone), majja (bone marrow), shukra (reproductive secretions)
According to Ayurveda, our plasma nourishes our blood, our blood the muscle, our muscles our fat, our fat our bone, and our bone our reproductive ‘juices.’
So it’s like a domino effect–if our blood is not properly nourished from good digestion, it will eventually affect the quality of our bones.As far as rushing….
Hurrying to answer a random text, especially while eating, reminds me of that guy who passes me on the road going 90 mph only to be the car directly in front of me at the stop light:  We are all going in the same direction, so why not get there with less wear and tear on the car (body) all the while slowing down to enjoy the scenery (relaxing the mind)?  This is your life after all.  It’s the moments that we remember!   Until there’s a fire you need to put out or unless someone is in desperate need of your help, it’s best to focus on one of your most important tasks at hand:  self-nourishment.  And you owe this to yourself as well as to everyone around you!I challenge us to set aside our
computers, tablets, kindles, newspapers, books, smart phones, magazines
and enjoy one meal a day without distraction and allow a few additional minutes to enjoy and to really chew our food.  Perhaps make it to two or even all three meals where we are simply eating without giving our attention to blasts of information and flashy screens.Acknowledge your food.
Feast your eyes.
Savor the first bite that you put into your mouth.
And enjoy the aroma of what has taken a lot of energy just to get to your plate!You won’t just experience better digestion.  You will also benefit by having that peace of mind that comes with being fully present in your very own moment without useless distraction.So dearest rushed Americans and friends~  enjoy the taste of slow!