Chopsticks have been coming up a lot in my life lately. First, on Saturday as we hunted for something to roast marshmallows over the gas stove with (turns out a fork works just fine and dandy for this means, too). Then again, as a friend casually she used to always pin up her hair with them. And a third time was last night in an email conversation with Mala, who asked if I enjoyed using them simply for the sake of using them instead of Western utensils. My answer was decidedly yes!
A little history lesson on A Runner’s Delight: once I learned how to properly use chopsticks as a child, I used them at every dinnertime meal with my family. Eating salad was by far my favorite chopsticked food, but I attacked everything on my plate with vigor. Mashed potatoes, salmon (yes, RD used to eat meat), eggplant, pesto pasta. If it was served to me, I was clicking my sticks together.
Anyhow, Mala’s question came because she’d heard people use chopsticks to lose weight and more enjoy their food. Thinking back to my recent post about the surface area of shredded foods, it made good sense that chopsticks might be a key to helping us slow down and savor. Naturally, I turned to the internet to see if Mala and I weren’t the only people utilizing this Asian influence. And as it turns out, we’re not!
In fact, we’re so not the only ladies talking about this that there’s an entire article on eHow entitled How to Use Chopsticks for Weight Loss. Those eHow cats actually have some interesting reasoning behind this madness. For one thing, chopstick eating forces you to “Pay attention to what you eat. Using chopsticks requires concentration which helps you eliminate the mindless eating that we often do when consuming out of boredom or while watching television.” Suddenly, we have to look at our food, and take an active role in the art of eating. It’s a lot easier to monitor what you’re putting into your body, and also monitor your body’s reaction, when you’re slowing down and giving your food your full attention.
eHow also has a suggestion for those that are already proficient at chopsticking: “Use chopsticks with your non dominant hand. If you’ve been eating with chopsticks for so long that you’ve become adept with them, switch hands to renew the slow, purposeful eating that enhances weight loss.” Yikes, imagine trying to be ambidextrous with chopsticks! Well, it would certainly be a challenge.
Personally, I like using chopsticks for the sheer novelty of it, and because food tastes better when there isn’t a ton of metal in-between me and my bites. The metallic taste of silverware, no matter how accustomed we are to it, does alter how our nibbles taste. Finally, chopsticks are fun. They make every meal feel like a celebration instead of the same-old, same old.