Taste of the Tongue

"In my own life, one strategy I have learned is to be very wary about processed food and restaurant food, including airline food. It is highly engineered to make me want to eat more.”    -SH 

Taste of the Tongue 

“Taste of the tongue” is a quant turn-of-phrase you may hear in some spiritual traditions. It means we don’t want to get carried away by good tasting food. I have sometimes wondered “could that not make us more sensitive to pain?” After all, pain receptors are nerves, just like taste buds, and if we get too attached to the one, we may have to pay a price with the other.

So for many years I have had the somewhat secret belief that diet and sensitivity to pain are highly related.  After so many years of seeing clients I began to see larger patterns, and one of them was the relation of diet to pain. For sure those eating more junk food not only have more pain, but are more sensitive to pain as well. To add to the drama, people take painkillers when instead they could do like St. Francis often did, when he was served good-tasting food: he would sprinkle charcoal over it so it would not taste so good.

I would be astonished if there had ever been a study on this topic  “does junk food make people more pain sensitive?” Such a study would be very bad business, not just for agribusiness but the medical industry as well. Who would fund such a study? I don’t read studies, but now and then I hear about them, and I would be astonished to ever hear of such a study.

In my own life, one strategy I have learned is to be very wary about processed food and restaurant food, including airline food. It is highly engineered to make me want to eat more. Those people know their chemistry and their brain science.  I fully concede: my will power is no match for those many cleverly engineered brain chemicals, which they are using to stimulate my appetite; so I have learned to get out of that playing field.  I have written about this under my upcoming post About Restaurants. I have made it a point to learn to be fully independent in buying and preparing my own food; only in this way do I have any hope for self-control and happiness. Shopping at the local farmer’s market is the centerpiece of that strategy, along with green smoothies every morning.

I also have learned to try my best not to blame restaurants, airlines, waiters or waitresses,  food wholesalers, farmers, or anyone else. If I do, I know that will blunt the edge of whatever self-control I might have. I say to myself: They are just doing what is maybe even good business practice. I can’t blame them; I’d do the same thing in their situation.

Even as I observe such things, and draw my own very subjective conclusions (often they are wrong) I have this certain awareness that my tendency to do this came from my Feldenkrais Practice, where I had to make a living by keenly observing people, looking at hidden or deeper causes for behaviors and habits, what they were doing, how they were doing it, what are the short-term and long-term effects, etc. In Feldenkrais Trainings we are drilled on this skill, but in a movement and postural sense, as in, how do people hold themselves and sit or stand or walk; what are the attitudes and learning history behind that?


As one Feldenkrais Trainer said in a workshop:

“Why should I exclude ANY information, from whatever source, that comes to me about a client, if it can help me be more effective in my work?”

That’s been my attitude ever since.  

© Copyright 2015 Steve Hamlin  www.mybodycanlearn.com