A couple of years ago, before 2020 happened and its relentless working from home shtick, those ancient days when I left the house to make a daily journey to the sterile confines of a corporate office with other worker bees, a co-worker (let’s call her “Gladys”) walked into the office and glanced at my desk as I feasted on a banana.
“Don’t think I’ve seen anyone eat a banana like that,” she commented dryly.
I put my fork down.
Maybe it was more like two-and-a-half years ago now that I think about it. I still had an office mate, let’s call her “Jane.” I recall her sitting at her desk across from me while she listened to Gladys and me discuss the mechanics of banana consumption. Jane was laid off a couple of summers ago, not longer after this encounter for completely unrelated reasons.
I put my fork down and said, “I know. I enjoy my banana more when I eat it this way. It’s more mindful.” As if anyone would be impressed by that.
On my desk was a small bowl with slices of banana I’d cut up earlier which allowed me to peck at my fruit and devour it in individual pieces of fleshy goodness.
I don’t presume to be so cutting edge that my approach to attacking a banana is unique, but it is revealing how most people are groomed to eat bananas like an ice cream popsicle with the peel drawn down as the eater descends the stalk. I’ve noticed when people eat bananas in this traditional manner, they tend to eat fast and robotic. It’s as if the banana is not a food; it is a rote, very brief, journey of consumption which must be completed quickly before moving on to other more pressing matters, or foods.
Jane, long may her corporate soul live, was very guilty of this banana-eating style. She was an obese woman who was the epitome of obese in the truest sense of the word. She was fat as shit and had a loud, overbearing “body-positive” personality. A walking, oozing stereotype, she was. She could polish off a banana in seconds (I witnessed it firsthand) and I swear she didn’t think at all about what she was doing or tasting when she did it. She could mow down the length of the banana in a few hefty gulps.
It was her obnoxious gluttony which I reflected off in order to cement a more mindful manner of eating bananas (and eating, in general) for my own growth. I once ate bananas like an ice cream as well, but I revamped my eating habits about 6 years ago and one of my new conscious habits was the integration of hunger into my mentality as a manageable, non-deadly state of affluence.
One’s relationship with food must be respectfully powerful. You and food are not adversaries nor do you share a blind allegiance with each other. The ability to contend with food neutrally and stoically is an elemental building block to maintaining a healthy, non-abusive relationship with it.
Mindfulness is key; segregation of food from the self-identity and ego. Eat a bite at a time. Eating is not a process, it is an incremental task.