Mealtimes are often the most awaited time of the day. Whether it is a quick lunch break amidst work or a ritually led dinnertime, it is an opportunity to catch up with our favorite people or favourite shows. The act of cooking for oneself, laying the table, and plating our food (even non-aesthetically) brings a sense of respite after a busy day. Among the said rituals, table manners are considered at the top, simply because we take it with us everywhere. Be it at a restaurant, a friend’s place, our own home, or outside in public, there is a certain etiquette we are expected to follow. Eating with cutlery is the holy grail of all mealtime etiquettes. Now imagine someone at your table ditching the fork, knife, and spoon, to use their fingers instead. Ewww!, eye-rolling, disapproving exchange of looks around the table are some of the choicest responses they would receive.

What if I told you to ignore the looks, turn a deaf ear to the nay-sayers and rock your God-given pre-attached cutlery, i.e. your fingers? Here are some solid reasons to do so.

  • Prevents weight gain

Eating with our fingers slows us down because we need to mix and mash our food between morsels. This aids more chewing and better digestion. It helps us feel full faster and prevents us from eating more.

2) Encourages hygiene

Contrary to popular belief, eating with our fingers encourage us to wash our hands multiple times while preparing, serving, and eating. We know where our hands have been, and how clean or dirty they are. The same cannot be said for forks and knives.

3) Improves digestion

When we touch our food to tear or mix, it signals our brain about the nourishment we are going to receive. Our brain then signals our stomach to secrete digestive enzymes which absorb nutrition and process the waste. In addition, eating with our hands replenishes good bacteria in our gut, further enhancing the digestive process.

4) Prevents Type-2 diabetes

One of the main reasons type-2 diabetes makes an appearance in our lives is because of hasty eating. When we do not give enough time between morsels, the insulin in our body is unable to keep up with the sugars present in our food. Eating slowly with our fingers suggests a moderate pace of insulin production to digest all the glucose consumed by our bodies.

5) Regulates food temperature

We need not worry about scalding our tongue with hot food, because using our fingers will let us know how hot our food is before putting it in our mouth, just to spit it out.

6) Encourages mindful eating

Engaging all our sensory organs while eating is crucial to mindful eating. Eyes on the food, ears hearing the texture, nose enjoying the aroma, tongue tasting the food, and skin feeling the texture of the food. Mindful eating is the best way to ensure our food benefits us in the best way it can.

7) Increases blood circulation

Each fingertip has more than 3,000 touch receptors, many of which respond primarily to pressure. Handling food with our fingers allows us to apply pressure and activate those pressure points.

8) Helps with spiritual development.

According to Ayurveda, each of our fingers represents an element of nature.

The thumb is an extension of space;

The forefinger is an extension of air;

The middle finger is an extension of fire;

The ring finger is an extension of water;

The little finger is an extension of the earth.

The physical and spiritual connection that happens when we touch food with our hands helps to improve the level of our consciousness of the taste of the food we eat.

Eating with our fingers is more beneficial to our sustenance than we could ever imagine. It is a common practice in the Eastern world where people lead simpler lives. Instead of looking at eating as another daily practice, we can use food as medicine to heal our bodies – starting with how we eat. A simple act can be the beginning of our road toward a healthier life. Fewer dishes to wash is just another bonus of eating with our fingers.

Blog Image Credit: ROMAN ODINTSOV

Written by Kritika Rao


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