In India, there’s no need for utensils. You eat with your hands.
According to Ayurveda, this makes a ton of sense. Let’s find out why.
One Thing at a Time
Eating with your hands means you can’t read, check email, text, or answer the phone. With food all over your fingers, you are stuck doing one thing at a time and this is the time to eat. This allows us to relax and dine.
So many of us eat on the go, in the car, standing up, or in a rush. There’s an old Vedic saying that goes, “If you eat standing up, death looks over your shoulder.“ Understanding the benefits of how to eat may be way more important than our obsession with what to eat.
Let the Good Bugs Mingle
Eating with your hands allows the many thousands of microbes on the food to get acquainted with the many thousands of microbes on your fingers. Our hands feel the world around us, attaching to microbes found on most everything we touch. The food carries microbes from the ground, the kitchen and all those who touched it – from the growers to the shippers, produce managers, cooks and kitchen helpers.
As all these microbes are ingested, they act as your evolutionary eyes of change. The gut adapts to the ever-changing world it cannot see by experiencing the microbes brought in from the outside.
Based on this constant microbial exchange and their rapid rate of reproduction of up to a million times in eight hours, microbes have an incredible head start of making the genetic changes required to survive a modern world.
Since 99% of the DNA we carry as humans are microbial, we gotta love those good bugs.
Many researchers now believe that our war on bad bugs with antibiotics, hand sanitizers and other sterile practices may be compromising our immunity by killing all the good bugs as well.
So before you grab that fork, think about the party all those good bugs will have in your gut if you let your fingers carry the food to your mouth instead.
Pollan M. Penguin Press. New York. 2013
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