1. No screens
No TV, no phone, no laptop, no kindle. No, not even a book. When eating, eat. Listening is allowed, as long as it is to other people in person, not a podcast, radio, etc.
While eating, stay with eating. Taste and enjoy the food, not what’s happening on the screen while absentmindedly dumping the food down the throat.
This rule also helps with the next one. If the screens are off, the mind has more space to think about food and eating. Which allows us correct ourselves when we slip into the assembly line mode of eating.
2. Idle hands till the bite has been swallowed
Once a bite is in the mouth, keep the hands idle till it’s been chewed and swallowed. Keep the fork and the knife down. Keep the sandwich down. Don’t break the next bite of the roti.
Keep hands idle till the previous bite has been swallowed (repeating). Then prepare the next bite, put it in the mouth, and make the hands idle again.
Eating is not an assembly line job. There’s no need to maximise throughput. There is a need to taste, enjoy, chew and digest all that is going in. Rushing a bite because the next is ready in the hands makes a fast eater, doesn’t make a good, happy, healthy one.
This rule also helps stay on course with Michael Pollan’s advice on not eating too much. Keeping hands idle while chewing slows down the eating rate. This means that the food hits the tummy while we are still eating, making us feel full earlier.
On the other hand, the assembly line mode of eating is an invitation to overeat. The high turnover of bites means we can eat a lot more before the first morsels hit the tummy. Result: we’ve already overeaten before the tummy can tell us its full.
3. More greens and fresh vegetables than the rest
Greens + fresh vegetables on the plate >= everything else (bread, cheese, meat)
Remember Michael Pollan’s advice:
Not too much.
This rule helps stay on course with the third statement.
Just the fresh vegetables ought to be more than the carbs on the plate (bread, roti, dosa, rice…). Fresh vegetables + greens + cooked vegetables ought to be more than everything else combined (meats, cheeses, fat, beans, dals, et al).
That’s all for now. Might update these rules in the future as I learn/discover more.
I’ve made good progress with all these rules this year.
- I’ve followed the 50% greens + veggies rule for most of the year.
- I’m getting better at idle hands rule over the last couple of months. I still need conscious correction at times—bad habits from 30+ years die hard. This rule has helped more than anything with my ‘Eat slower’ tweak for the year.
- I’ve eaten without screens for over three weeks now—have become fairly good at this, and it helps keep the mind free for the other second (idle hands)