Eating is a sensitive and a conscientious process that engages all the 5 senses- sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. The act of consuming your food can be made more fulfilling and satisfying if you use your hands instead of cutleries like the fork and the spoon.
The western culture has always labeled the habit of eating with hands as ‘Poor Manners’, however there are real surprising benefits of eating with hands. This is also the main reason why eating with hands is an age old tradition in the Indian culture. According to the Ayurveda, eating your food using hands will sharpen your mind along with other unseen benefits such as:
1. The Touch Alerts your Mind
The moment you pick your food with your hand, your mind alerts your sense of touch and this allows your brain to identify the food. Next your brain sends signals to your stomach so that your bowels start releasing the gastric juices to digest the type of food you are eating.
2. Focus on your Food/Mindful Eating
Eating with your hand helps you develop the habit of mindful eating whereas when you use the fork and spoon, you tend to concentrate more on the cutlery used than the food you are trying to eat. This in turn stops you from over eating.
3. Identifies the temperature of the food
Eating with hands can prevent your tongue from getting burnt. When you use your hands to eat, you are able to identify the temperature of the food, whether it is hot or cold. On the other hand you would not be able to check the same with the fork or spoon.
4. Balances the elements
A yogic mudra is formed when you join your fingers in a particular pattern to eat your food. This mudra helps balance all the 5 elements and keeps your body thoroughly energized. As per this mudra:
- The Thumb is linked to space
- The forefinger is linked to air
- The middle finger is linked to fire
- The ring finger is linked to water
- The little finger is related to earth
5. Improves Digestion
When you use your hands to eat your food, the good bacteria present on your palm are transferred to the mouth which upon swallowing is transferred to different parts of your body. This initiates healthy digestion and stops the buildup of harmful bacteria in the intestines.
6. Prevents Type 2 Diabetes
Using hands to eat your food leads to slow eating whereas when you use the fork or spoon, you tend to eat fast. As per a study conducted by the European Society of Endocrinology, people who gobble down large amount of food are prone to the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. On the other hand eating fast increases the risk of Diabetes. Also the digestion of your food is smooth and defined when you eat slow, as it gives your stomach the time to know that it is full.
7. Better Hygiene
It is obvious that before you eat your meal, you will wash your hands. Also you clean your hands several times a day. But there is no guarantee that the cutlery you use is clean or washed thoroughly. Hence using your hands to have your food is considered more hygienic.
8. Helps with Weight Loss
Eating with hands prevents overeating and you are able to gauge the amount of food that goes into your mouth. As a result this benefit aids in weight loss as you only eat till your stomach is full.
9. Helps Identify the Ingredients in the Food
One can identify and separate certain ingredients in your food that does not appeal your taste buds, when using your hands to eat. On the other hand you would not able to do the same when you use cutlery to consume your food.
10. Food Limitations
Many of the foods around the world are of different texture for eg: the South Indian delicacy Dosa is much thinner than a pancake and cannot be eaten using the fork and spoon. Similarly there are various types of food that comes in varied texture and densities and it is not easy to consume them using cutlery. However you can consume almost all kinds of food using your hands.
11. Increases Blood Circulation
Eating with your hands is a form of repetitive exercise that boosts blood circulation. The excessive movement of your hand smoothens your entire system as well.
12. Easier to tear the food
Whether it is a hardcore Indian food like dosas or rotis, or even if it is the Western cuisines such as bread or pancakes, it is always easier to tear the food into small pieces using the hand. When compared to the cutlery, the hands can mold, re-shape, cut and roll food to make it easy for chewing and digestion.
13. Emotional Connect
When eating with hands you connect with your emotions and senses naturally. At the same time you do not feel that same connect when you use the cold silverware, stainless steel or glass to have your food. Using your hands to eat your food makes it more tasty, appealing and palatable.
14. Difference in Smell
When you use cutlery to have your food, there are more chances that the food might smell and taste of the cutlery that is used. Whereas it is not the same when you use your hands to eat your food.
Do not attack your food with weapons instead respect and caress your food as it is the medicine that keeps your system up and running.