Lord, You are my God;
I will exalt You and praise Your name…
On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples –
Isaiah 25:1, 6a
In her book How to Get Your Kid to Eat, But Not Too Much, E. Satter provides what I consider to be the most freeing definition of normal eating I’ve ever come across.
Tucked within her rather extensive definition, she explains that allowing yourself to become a bit too full at times (i.e. overeating) is perfectly normal. Let me say that again: Overeating – at times – is perfectly normal.
This makes me think of ThAnKsGiViNg. You, too?
Seriously, what would it be if I chose to chew one bite of turkey, nibble at a green bean, slurp just a tablespoon of mashed potatoes, and then shove away from the table? Sorry, but that’s just not my idea of a properly celebrated Thanksgiving.
Throughout scripture, food, eating…huge banquets, even… were often associated with celebrating and/or giving thanks. Some, but not all, of these gatherings were about the business of exalting God (Esther 7:1, Ecclesiastes 2:24, Daniel 1:16, John 2:1, Acts 2:46). The book of Revelation (19:9) assures that we’ll be enjoying a wedding feast with the Lamb of God. And it sure doesn’t sound like the menu will be limited to a meager tossed salad with fat-free vinaigrette.
Thanksgiving Challenge #1: Allow ourselves the freedom to indulge
Hear me clearly: I’m not suggesting the Thanksgiving table be used as a license for gluttony, justifying it as some sort of holy indulgence, but that we lift the food and eating restrictions a bit when we come to the Thanksgiving table.
Thanksgiving Challenge #2: During any meal, on any occasion, in any company, we must always remember to s-l-o-w down and savor.
In doing so, we’ll quickly find that making food and eating a singular experience takes a considerable amount of effort, but it’s a far healthier alternative to simply ‘stuff and puff’.
Chewing thoroughly and slowly aids in proper and complete digestion by allowing the enzymes in saliva more time to do their job before passing the food to the stomach
Eating slowly allows the body to more efficiently absorb all the nutrients it needs from the food we’ve delivered
Since it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to communicate to the stomach that it’s had enough, slowing the pace of eating will leave us feeling full sooner and we may eat less.
So this year, when we’re indulging s-l-o-w-l-y at the Thanksgiving table, let’s take the time to answer these questions:
¨What food do you like the best and why? And could you allow yourself a second helping, refusing to feel guilty about it?
¨What would you love to see served again next year – or, good golly, never again – and why?
¨How often did you put down your fork to chew and swallow?
What are the textures of the foods on your plate? (Stringy, soft, tough, mushy, spongy, creamy, crunchy?)
¨Can you identify the seasonings? Did you enjoy them or not? Why?
¨Can you distinguish among the different smells? Are some unpleasant?
¨Do you have a particular order in which you like to eat your food? Why?
As we eat more FREEly and more s-l-o-w-l-y, let’s focus on the people around us and savor those relationships around the Thanksgiving table, too.
FB Mary Albers Felkins