Most traditional meals are meant to be consumed using your fingers and this custom is still very much part of the Indian and Malay culture. On top of that, it’s impressive that most of us continue to eat on the floor with banana leaves from time to time as a favourite tradition.
On the other hand, some people may think of it strange or unhygienic to see us eat with our hands on occasion by making comments like “You use your fingers to eat?“, but thanks to our ancestors, we were raised to practise cleanliness and hygiene when dining by washing our hands before and after meals.
The practise of eating with your hands is one that not only Indians but people from other cultures also do, but it seems to have fallen out of favour because so many restaurants and even households are stocked with utensils.
Therefore, it is now time for you to grasp a plethora of logic from this indigenous practise, which will astound you.
5 fingers – 5 elements
The custom of eating with your hands, specifically your fingers, has its roots in Ayurvedic teachings, which hold that our bodies work in harmony with Pancha Bhoota (the five elements of nature).
One of these five elements extends from each finger. The thumb stands for the space, the forefinger for air, the middle finger for fire, the ring finger for water, and the little finger for earth.
All of your fingers should be used together when eating with your hands, In addition to bringing awareness to the texture, flavour, aromas, and temperature of food, this pulls together all the aspects found in the goodness of nature.
Benefits of using your hands to eat
Promotes mindful eating
Using your hands to eat forces you to focus on what you are eating. By doing so, it might enable you to chew your meal thoroughly while also eating slowly, allowing you to feel satisfied even after consuming less food. On the plus side, it stops binge eating, which contributes to weight gain.
When we touch our meal with our hands and unite our five fingers, the brain sends signals to our stomach indicating that we are ready to eat. This facilitates the stomach’s preparation for meals, which enhances digestion.
Prevents instant burning
A temperature sensor is your hand. Unfortunately, you often burn your tongue when eating with silverware since you aren’t aware of how hot the food is. However, when you use your hands to contact food, the nerve endings on the tips of your fingers will sense the warmth and inform you so you can avoid hurting your tongue.
Improves blood circulation
Eating with your hands is healthy since it can be a great way to engage your muscles, which may therefore help to improve blood circulation. A better blood flow may be encouraged by the movement of the hand, which would benefit the body as a whole.