Deeper Meaning Behind One Bite at a Time

The underlying meaning of the challenge to eat your food one bite at a time is actually profound.  It introduces an awareness of the extent to which impatience or patience is a large part of your life.  Do you have issues with impatience in your life?

If you have to wait in a long line to check out in a store, do you find yourself being particularly restless, unable to be present in the moment?  If you’re preparing a meal to eat, do you find yourself racing to the point of saying

“I can’t wait for this to be over because I have more things to do by the end of the day and the longer that I spend preparing this meal, the less time that I’ll have to be able to do what it is that I want to actually accomplish today?” 

Are you then, a person who is persistently and continually impatient?

If this happens to be the case, it’s more than likely also the case that you found the challenge to eat your food one bite at a time to be a horrendous challenge.  Did you find that you got particularly impatient with being able to do this particular task?  Most people find it to be particularly challenging and difficult.  Most people find that they start and they’re able to put their utensil down two or three times but then they drop back, sink down into the same habitual way of eating and then by the end of the meal say,

“Oh, I forgot.  That’s right.  I was supposed to put my utensil down between each and every full bite and swallow.”

It is in fact a difficult challenge, one that you’ll find will tickle your funny bone as you realize how difficult it is to honor and respect the challenge of being able to place your utensil down between each and every bite.

Let’s go deeper.  How impatient are you with your recovery process?  Do you find yourself saying

“I don’t think I’m feeling any better this week than last.  When am I going to be waking up and say whoa, I don’t think I feel any symptoms at all; in fact I feel great?” 

Instead, you find that you wake up and there are certain symptoms that tend still to be present.  Do you say to yourself,

“When is this going to lift?  When is this going to lift – when is this going to lift?” 

In other words, are you impatient with your recovery process?

Guess what?  If you’re impatient, that’s obviously going to trigger the production of hormones that are not conducive to bringing your body back into full balance.  You see, the impatience itself creates a problem with the recovery process.

The challenge then of one bite at a time is a challenge of inviting everyone to slow it down, to become patient with each and every moment, to treasure the deliciousness of the experience, the tastes, the feeling, the texture of what it means to eat.  It is a wonderful experience to ingest food into our bodies.  Embellish that experience by making eating a mindful experience.  This will transfer over into being more patient with each and every moment however it might unfold.

Becoming more patient also expedites the process of recovery from any and all symptoms that you might currently be experiencing that are associated with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.


© Parkinsons Recovery

One Bite at a Time

How much pleasure do you derive from eating delicious foods, or at least foods that are yummy to you?  Speaking for myself, I derive endless pleasure from eating.  My next question is how much time do you spend eating the delicious foods that you love to eat?  How much time are you able to derive pleasure from eating?

Thanksgiving is a good example of what happens when we eat. Much time is spent in the kitchen by many people preparing the Thanksgiving meal.  Hours are spent puttering and cooking and heating and shopping and preparing various dishes.  Everyone sits down, typically a nice prayer or salutation is given for the entire family and then everybody gets down to the serious business of eating. Food is gobbled, one bit after another.  Sometimes talking completely stops for ten minutes. There is no necessity for one bite to be chewed and swallowed before the next is inserted into the mouth. And presto – after ten minutes each person around the table has successfully gobbled up as much as they can eat.

Watch people carefully who eat and oftentimes you’ll notice that a person will put one bite, chew once or twice, put a second bite, chew once or twice; they’ll put a third, chew once or twice and finally after three or four shovelfuls of food, they swallow.  This is certainly not a mindful practice.  What is also interesting is that we tend to eat the foods that we truly love, the taste that we treasure, much more quickly than those food that do not offer us as much instant pleasure.

The mindful practice and challenge this week is to slow the process of eating down.  The challenge has a formula to it.  I must warn you, it will take longer for you to eat each meal, but the benefits will be immeasurable.  Here’s the formula.  If you’re eating with a utensil; a fork or a spoon, take the fork or the spoon and insert the food into your mouth and then place the fork or the spoon down on the table and proceed to chew slowly, deliberately and then swallow.

After swallowing, pick the utensil and do it one more time.  No new food can be inserted until the existing food has been swallowed and its treasures enjoyed.  We will fully and completely enjoy the tastes of each and every bite by proceeding with this small, short, simple formula––

  1.  Insert the food into your mouth
  2.  Put the utensil down
  3.  Chew slowly and deliberately
  4.  Focus your attention on your mouth, not the plate or the spoon
  5. Enjoy all the tastes and sensations
  6. Swallow
  7. Pick up the fork or the utensil from the table
  8. Proceed to Step One

If you’re not eating with a fork or a spoon and if you’re using your hands – for example if you’re eating a sandwich or chips – the same applies.  You’ll want to take your item, whatever it might be, place it up to your mouth, take a bite and then put that sandwich or whatever you’re holding in your hand down on your plate.  Chew, swallow and then do it again one-bite-at-a-time.

This week, change your customary and habitual approach to eating.  Focus your attention on your mouth.  Enjoy the deliciousness of food that you love to eat.


© Parkinsons Recovery