For, you have read the previous blog and have come back for more. I am happy about your journey to healthy food choices and mindful eating. Let’s dig in a bit deeper.
While growing up, we had a pet dog “Tyson” who was supposed to be seated in our front yard. But sometimes, he would sneak his way into the kitchen, when there was meat stewing, or be in the living room when my younger brother would play with him. Also remarkable was, that he would run to the compound gate at least a few minutes before my father would reach. No, my father wasn’t home daily at the same time and neither Tyson wore a wristwatch to know “what o’clock it was”. It was just his strong olfaction sense, that would spare him from my father’s interrogation.
I am sure you all must have noticed how animals tend to smell their food before eating, to be alerted if the food is safe to be consumed.
We humans, on the other hand, do not have such highly developed senses. But we have developed other cognitive functions that compensate- learning, memory and critical thinking are a few of them.
So, are our basic functions useless?
Not at all.
Our sense of smell is one of the first senses to develop in the womb. The olfactory (smell) receptors begin to develop as early as 8 weeks gestation and become fully functional at about 24 weeks. This means that a baby is born with a completely developed sense of smell! After birth, this helps them locate their food, such as breast milk. And as we grow up, we use them to savor the sustenance.
Every noticed the citrus aroma of an orange that your colleague just peeled for breakfast, or the spicy biryani being prepared in the kitchen; or that sugary warm cinnamon bun and freshly brewed coffee towards the late afternoon and that bucketful of caramel popcorn at the cinema. Doesn’t it just lure you towards itself and make you drool? Remember Pavlov’s dog? Yes. Most of what we think of as taste, is but actually smell.
We ate with our eyes in the first stage of mindful eating. The second stage of your Mindful eating habits is to be in the moment and try to identify each fragrance and aroma related to the different types of food you plan to eat in your meal. We all have preferences to certain aromas depending on our upbringing and cultural background- from warm Indian spices to floral Japanese teas.
So, as you serve your plate of different items, look at it and smell it with curiosity. Try to bring a piece of that food towards your nose and smell with full awareness. Recall what memories and emotions it evokes. Notice if it brings any sensation or reaction to your body. For all you know, it might have just triggered the digestive response in your body, even before you have a sip or a morsel consumed.
Here's a trick if you want to mock your senses for guilt-free indulgence. French researchers found that if the appetizer and the dessert at the same meal have similar aromas, people are inclined to eat less of the dessert as they have already satiated their “nose hunger” for the same aroma earlier.
Ciao (wink wink)
About the blogger:
Dr. Tabassum Inamdar is a dynamic Homeopath, a passionate artist, and an adventurer in life. From Medical corporate to Academics, she has balanced her left brain and right brain with equal passion for Art. She writes a series of blogs “An apple a day- your journey to a healthy way” in collaboration with @Fitaminat. A sketch artist since childhood, she is enchanted by theatre and writing. She is a regular theatre performer in Dubai. She continues life’s adventure by trekking, Sky diving, or Marshalling at Formula 1 tracks. You may stalk her @doctabu (IG) or say hello @tabu.inamdar (FB)