Eating With Hands
In India, as well as in Islamic cultures, eating food is close to a sacred act.
This act involves a sort of ritual, where people prefer sitting cross-legged on the floor instead of on chairs and table. Before they start to eat, everyone makes sure to wash their hand. They bless the food by saying a brief prayer of gratitude.
Traditionally, people from India and the even Middle East eat their food with their hands instead of with cutlery.
In western culture, these rituals may be considered uncivilized and unhygienic. However, even the scientific community today is going gaga over the benefits of each of these actions associated with the mealtime.
I personally feel food always tastes better when eaten with the hand rather than with a fork and knife.
So why is that? Let’s find out.
Eating with hands engages all your senses. It helps you to connect with your food rather than just eating mechanically.
While eating with hands, the food first comes in contact with your fingers before it reaches your mouth. Our fingers have nerve endings which send sensations to our brain.
When you the touch food with hand, you can feel the temperature of the food, the different textures of each of the dishes, how hard or soft it is, the consistency, etc.
Just the tactile sensation prepares the body for what is coming in. The nerve endings send a signal to the brain, which in turn stimulates our digestive system to produce specific enzymes to digest the food.
This magical process ensures proper utilization of the food and absorption of maximum nutrients.
Also, since you can feel the temperature of your food while eating with hand, it saves you from burning your mouth.
While using a spoon, you don’t get a clear picture of how hot the food is, which leaves you with a sore tongue.
Using your hand unknowingly makes you eat mindfully. Picking each morsel with your fingers involves a certain degree of technique.
You need to be aware of how much you can hold at a time, how you swipe it off the plate and balance to take it all in.
Mindful eating helps you to feel more content and thus prevents you from bingeing. Being aware of your food intake is a major contributor toward off a list of illnesses such as obesity.
Also, our hands have some beneficial bacteria which help to build our immunity and keep us safe from infection. When you eat with hand, the symbiotic balance of the flora is maintained and you remain healthy.
Now, we have all the more reason to take pride in our culture. Dig in and lick away your fingers at your next meal.