Eating with Hands


Eating with hands began within Ayurvedic teachings. It is believed that our bodies are in sync with the elements of nature and our hands hold a certain power. Our body represents the five elements of the universe through our five fingers: Thumb – Fire (Agni), Index – Air (Vayu), Middle – Space (Akash), Right – Earth (Prithvi), Little – Water (Jal). After all, what could be more natural, more primal? Though many may view this custom as uncivilized, the practice is not as simple as it may look. When you eat with your hands you are supposed to do so by joining all fingers together, as it is believed that this improves ones consciousness of the taste. By doing this you are not only feeding your body, but also your mind and spirit. When you touch the food with your hand you are creating a physical and spiritual connection with it. You will notice that you are also much more present in the moment, and you pay more careful attention to the food and the act of eating – what the temperature is, how much you can carry, how the hand must be held in order to keep the food in it.

corresponding elements on fingers

There are skeptics who believe that there is bacteria on your hands that shouldn’t be consumed…. Our body has a certain kind of bacteria that protects us from other harmful bacteria in the environment, the good bacteria resides in places like our hands, mouth, throat, intestine, gut and the rest of our digestive system. When you eat with your hands, these good bacteria enter your system and protects against harmful bacteria. As long as you wash your hands prior to eating, and remove the bad bacteria you’ve collected from your day, you’ll be giving your body a dose of good bacteria that it needs to stay healthy.

There are other health benefits to reap from eating with your hands: 1) It Improves Digestion When you use your fingers to pick up food, millions of nerve endings in your fingers relay the message that you are about to eat. This prepares the stomach for digestion by releasing digestive juices and enzymes. 2) It Promotes Mindful Eating. The importance of eating slow can’t be emphasized enough, eating when you are stressed or eating too fast can lead to indigestion problems. A calm and aware state allows for optimum digestion and prevents overeating.

Have you noticed that in every Indian restaurant there is a hand wash station, this is so that you can clean your hands before enjoying your meal. Technique - When you eat with your hands, you are supposed to do so by joining all fingers together. Remember every time you eat, you are not only feeding your body but also your mind and spirit.


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