Jan 16, 2017

Why Working Lunch is bad for your health

In many corporate work environments, I see this phrase being used quite often - “let’s do a working lunch”. The scenario under which this phrase is used is when someone is extremely busy with back-to-back meetings in a day and doesn’t have time to talk to someone who’s in need of his/her time. Let’s say, A wants to talk to B about something important. B’s calendar is filled with meetings that there’s no free slot available for that day. So B would suggest “let’s do a working lunch”, which implies A and B would catch up over lunch and discuss that important issue. Sometimes, team meetings would also be scheduled in the pretext of "working lunches". And the motivating(?) factor for the team to attend such meetings would be sponsored sandwiches, pizzas and aerated drinks.

I just can’t understand why we want to multi-task during mealtime. We think of mealtime as a passive activity where our hands automatically take the food, stuff it in our mouth while our minds are idle. So the super-productive planner in us comes to the forefront and thinks we can use the mealtime to engage our minds. It could be any activity such as watching a video, reading a document, listening to a podcast or even scheduling a meeting with someone and giving a fancy name like “working lunch”.

When you talk to someone about an important issue, both you, the speaker and the listener are completely engaged in the conversation. So there’s absolutely no focus on the food that’s been eaten - no appreciation or gratefulness for the farmer who harvested the grains/vegetables OR for the person who has taken the effort to prepare the food.

Healer Baskar, who runs this organization named Anatomic Therapy says
The key reason behind today’s rise in lifestyle diseases is due to improper digestion. When we talk or open our mouth while eating, the air interrupts the digestion process that happens in our mouth using saliva

Our elders had instructed us when we were kids - Don’t talk while eating. Chew your food nicely”. 

How many of us follow this simple rule? Eating has become a mindless chore for most of us where we gobble up the food quickly and get on with our busy lives.

We don’t fuel our cars while it is running. We stop for a couple of minutes at the gas station to refuel them. Why can’t we stop for at least 10 minutes to refuel our own body?

My request to you through this post
- Avoid working lunches as much as possible
- When you are eating along with your colleagues/friends, avoid talking when the food is in your mouth. Finish chewing and swallowing and then talk.
- Chew your food nicely without opening your mouth
- Concentrate on the food and the act of eating
- Be mindful of the taste, texture and smell. Engage your senses
- Offer a token of gratitude to the farmer

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