April 17, 2012

Hands-On Eating: The Importance of Finger Food

The other day I was thinking about my history of binge eating and I had an "ah-ha" moment. My personal binge foods list included: burgers, fries, hot dogs, chips, popcorn, crackers, cookies, Hostess  cupcakes, etc. ALL of those are things you eat with your hands. There's a tactile element quite different from the typical use of silverware--which may relate to why so many Americans enjoy playing/eating with chopsticks.

I also realized that one of my favorite meals at present is the "tear and crunch." The "tear and crunch" meal is a large bowl of raw vegetables--today's included large, intact leaves of leaf lettuce (1/4 head?) plus about 5 stalks of celery, a palm-sized chunk of red bell pepper and a similar amount of fresh fennel and cauliflower. I also threw in 2 small skin-on carrots. Since I am not all-raw or vegan I measured 2 tbsp of vinegar and 3 of olive oil and sprinkled that over the lot. I also sprinkled on some kelp powder and RealSalt.

I don't blame you if you say that meal should be called "salad" but I like "tear and crunch" because I left everything in much larger pieces and used no silverware. It felt like a much more primitive way of eating as compared to polite forkfuls of salad.  I wrapped the crunchy vegetables in 2-3 layers of folded lettuce leaves but ate the celery and carrots on their own. I'll freely admit that I could probably eat this meal without the oil and vinegar, but why would I?
Look at the 2 photos below; see the difference?

I'm not saying that silverware caused my binge eating disorder, although there's probably a funny joke in there somewhere, but I'm convinced that part of the comfort I enjoyed from my binges was the tactile involvement of grabbing the food and sucking my fingers, etc.
Based on that, I'm pretty sure part of my enjoyment of fruit and my "tear and crunch" meals is that my hands are involved. To the extent that it's helping sustain my apparent recovery from disordered eating, I'd say finger food aka "tear and crunch" is pretty important.
How about you? Do you enjoy hands-on eating?


  1. I LOVE eating with my fingers... I suspect, in a previous life, I was part of a culture where eating that way is the norm! Lol!
    My husband however, acts as if his throat is cut if he has to get his fingers dirty!!!
    Opposites attract right? :-)

    1. Bearing in mind that I don't KNOW anything,it makes total sense to me that if I like the sensory enjoyment of eating enough to have weight control issues, liking the hands-on eating best is only natural. The question for me, then, is whether I'll be eating popcorn(etc.) by hand or low-density vegetables and fruits. I clearly don't "overeat" meat, but even with crunchy fresh greens I tend to go past "enough" to "stuffed."