“Don’t it always seem to go; That you don’t know what you got ’till it’s gone. You pave paradise, and put up a parking lot.” – Joni Mitchell
I miss chewing food. Seriously. I miss chewing.
You don’t realize how much you enjoy chewing your food, until you can’t. The crunch. The burst of flavor. The saliva swishing around the food in your mouth while every space is filled with deliciousness. And, yet when I could eat and wasn’t on this liquid diet I would take chewing for granted. I would eat so quickly I would forget what it was I was eating.
We rush through our meals sometimes – whether it is to go to our next appointment, get our kid to their next activity or just out of habit. No thinking involved. We eat so fast that we don’t know what we got ’till it’s gone! (To paraphrase Joni Mitchell’s lyrics in Big Yellow Taxi.) And, of course, that would lead to overeating because the shut off valve was stuck in eating mode.
For the last couple of days I have only been drinking my meals. And, even then I caught myself gulping rather than sipping my protein shake or clear broth. I ate my jello cup in three spoonfuls. That’s when I realized – I have to begin changing my habits now and start to eat mindfully. Even if that “eating” doesn’t require chewing right now.
Enjoy your food. Enjoy the flavor. Stop and really take in the smell, colors, textures of your food. My sister calls this Mindful Eating. And, for a person who likes to meditate, you’d think I would have learned this a while back.
So moving forward and looking toward the time I have real food to consume again…I will slow down. I will smell, take in and enjoy the food in front of me. I will never again mindlessly inhale food without truly enjoying it.
Especially, since there won’t be much food to consume. My stomach will only be 1/4 of its original size after surgery. Gone are the days when I would mindlessly eat a tub of Qdoba’s nachos. Instead I will have a healthy combination of a slice of protein, veggies and good fat, for that will be the only amount my stomach will be able to ingest at this smaller size.
Slowing down to eat will allow me to enjoy each bite of the food I can consume. And, my new stomach will remind me in not so subtle ways if I try to go any faster.
But I’m starting my new habit now. I have already started mindful eating with the liquid diet I am on now. I enjoy each sip of my protein shake or of my sugar free jello.
Just have to get past this liquid stage and learn to eat once again.
But until that time…gosh, I really miss chewing.