The sight of forks and spoons is such commonplace in our culture that it is only when we visit an Asian restaurant, or travel to the Far East, that it occurs to us that there are other utensils that predate our familiar flatware by hundreds of years. Originally intended for cooking and stirring fire and food, chopsticks slowly gained popularity as eating utensils, first among the nobility, and later among the common people, and today they are widely used by all classes in Asia. Chopsticks are commonly made from bamboo or wood, but they can also be formed from plastic, bone, metal and porcelain.
In our Western fast-paced, overweight, food-addicted society the humble pair of chopsticks can serve a vital purpose. If you use chopsticks, then you are forced to eat slowly and methodically, rather than diving in with your fork. You might think that you are too busy to be wasting time at the dinner table, but it’s actually a win-win situation: if you don’t have time to finish your meal with chopsticks, you will eat less food, and if you do have the time, you will get satiated sooner, and eat less as a result.
Compared to a fork, chopsticks pick up smaller amounts of food, and these bites get more efficient chewing and subsequent saliva treatment in the mouth, which, again, equals better digestion and assimilation.
Everything that we consider to be a work of genius is actually built upon simplicity, and chopsticks are no different, which is why they have stood the test of time. In the East they have been used as utensils for centuries, and now in the West these amazingly simple tools are helping some to manage their weight. The simple act of eating meals with chopsticks could be the answer that you’ve been looking for.
Using chopsticks will force you to eat less food and to appreciate the food that you eat more, taking fewer, smaller mouthfuls and chewing them more, yet better assimilating the food that you are consuming.
They slow the eating process down, encouraging you to chew more and therefore increase the digestive enzymes that your body uses to break your food down.
A 2008 study discovered that slim people were much more likely to use chopsticks than obese people when eating at a Chinese restaurant. This doesn’t prove anything, but it could suggest that those who use chopsticks may have a different, healthier and more balanced attitude towards food than people who don’t.
If you are new to these Asian utensils, you can search for one of a myriad of instructional videos on YouTube to learn how to use them correctly. It really is simple once you know how and the method can be learned in one sitting.
With a little patience anybody can become a proficient chopstick user. And you don’t even need to set aside any time for practice: your usual meals will provide plenty. You can substitute chopsticks for forks with most of your meals, although soups and sauces will have to remain loyal to the spoon for now.
So let’s begin, let’s `pick up sticks` and I guarantee that chopsticks will help you spend more time with your food, derive more satisfaction from it, and fill-up sooner. These humble sticks can teach you the Zen of eating if you let them.
Try a new experience today. Bon Appetit!