I spotted a diet book recently called Mindful Eating, Mindful Life. It’s message is to maximise mindfulness while eating: to savour one’s food absolutely rather than gorging upon too-big quantities. The stomach needs time to register fullness, and so slower eating reduces overall consumption and prevents obesity. Slower eating is also a parable for general mindfulness: surely the key to enjoying life while it’s actually happening.
Practicing this kind of restraint is a good idea, I reckon, but one I’ve been practicing for ages. I sometimes play a game called “the last piece of chocolate in the universe”.
If I have a piece of chocolate, I sometimes imagine that I’m the last human alive, floating through space in an escape pod after the destruction of the Earth and last manned space station. I have limited food supplies and, in particular, I am down to the last piece of chocolate. Given that I’m the last human being alive, that I’m surely going to suffocate or starve in a matter of days, that the Earth is destroyed, and that the means of chocolate production will never be reestablished, this is probably the last piece of chocolate in the whole universe. I must savour it.
And so, in the real world, I eat my chocolate, tiny piece by tiny piece, and savouring every last morsel.
I truly have been doing this forever. I don’t know how it got started. I have a childhood memory of being in a long-distance car ride with my family. My mum had brought a sack of chocolate-coated raisins along for the journey. I played ‘the last chocolate coated raisin’ game and made a single raisin last for about five minutes. “Okay, I think you’ve had those for long enough”, said my mum from the back seat and took the raisins back. I protested and said that I’d not even finished my first raisin yet, but she wouldn’t believe me.
So I’ve been savouring for ages. In fact, I am practically a skeleton, so it must work.
Try it this Easter, egg lovers. See if you can make a single chocolate egg last until next Good Friday. (Actually, that’s a bit extreme. Just see if you can make one last the weekend).