Eating with your hands is not only satisfying, it has real health benefits! Find your reason to skip the forks and enjoy food a bit more!
Here at Handheld Eats very few things are certain. Who knows if we’re going to publish a new dessert or make nothing but tacos for 6 weeks? Who knows if we’ll do a giveaway or launch a new line of slightly offensive greeting cards?
But some things are always going to be certain. Like the fact that we’re always going to do our best to educate our friends and readers on food and that we refuse the use of forks when eating. After all, our motto is “No Forks Given” (which is both literally true and a pun of another four letter f-word about how we live our lives).
I’m sure if you regularly enjoy our recipes, you aren’t one of those people who have to use cutlery for everything. You know those weirdos who eat pizza with a fork and knife?
But as shocking as it may seem, there are many of those people out there that visibly cringe and critique when you grab a burger and stuff your face. They say you’re uncivilized and un-classy. They say that you should eat properly with utensils.
We say that they should mind their own business but since that isn’t going to happen, they should read this post and discover the true wonder of eating with your hands and why so many people enjoy it.
Perhaps, if they tried eating with their hands they might even find some joy in their lives and learn how to live a little.
So let’s dive in…
10 Reasons You Should Be Eating With Your Hands
1. Evolution Says To…
First and foremost, eating with your hands is by far the most natural way to eat.
Let’s talk science real quick. You know how your dog puts his face to his food where as apes and humans bring the food to their mouths by use of their hands? That is actually an evolutionary thing that many social primates use to promote meal time as social time.
It is literally hard wired in our DNA to naturally eat hand to mouth. Look at babies…those toothless drool puddles are not taught to put everything in their mouths but they do anyways. No one really teaches them to stuffed their faces with messy foods, but they instinctually know that they bring food to their mouths rather than their mouths to their food.
Hand to mouth eating is absolutely the most natural way to eat – despite what fancy pants of society may claim. So it stands to reason that something we are genetically hardwired to do will result in positive results.
2. Better Digestion
You eat slower resulting is better digestion. Digestive enzymes have more time to work which results in better digestion…duh.
Better digestion means a better life.
I’m not joking. When your digestion is better, everything is better. You hair is better, skin is clearer, your immunity is stronger, you are less prone to anxiety and depression, you have more energy, the list goes on.
Who knew that eating with your hands like an “uncivilized caveman” could be so beneficial for a healthy, hot body and mind? Cavemen knew…that’s why they avoided forks and civilization…to be extra hot.
3. Mindful eating means eating with your hands
Mindfulness is like the new buzz word in personal development. It’s like we finally realized how detrimental it is to be disconnected from our own bodies in the present is. Shocking, isn’t it?
If you haven’t heard of mindful eating, you are in for a real treat. Mindful eating is the first step of intuitive eating. It is all about beginning to reject diet culture and stop the constant struggle many of us have with food.
Mindful eating is all about truly being present with food and experiencing it moment by moment. You enjoy your meal or snack with attention and without judgement
Eating with your hands encourages mindful eating. You are more aware of your food, you eat slower, food becomes an experience. Every meal becomes a moment of pure bliss and if you love food, imagine how much more you’d love it if each time everything tasted like the best thing you’ve ever had!
When you eat with your hands you stay in the present. You engage all those senses and you definitely have to be more present to eating or risk biting your own finger.
4. Food tastes better
Speaking of engaging all those senses, eating with your hands makes your food straight up taste better.
When we engage all of our senses during a moment, we are more likely to fully enjoy everything that moment has to offer. You are stimulating multiple parts of your brain with a single moment and your brain loves that shit.
Eating with your hands stimulates multiple parts of your body to touch (not just your mouth). Simply the extra touch alone can begin a chain reaction of your other senses and you’ll begin to notice food differently.
We’re more likely to really see our food. We’ll see steam coming off of a hot dish (again, we don’t want to burn ourselves), we search for the plumpest grape, the juiciest piece of meat, the most buttery roll.
We begin to take more time to enjoy the amazing smells coming off our meals.
And once you start fully engaging an individual sense, none of the others want to be left out. So meal time becomes a magical moment where the salad seems a little greener and dessert is a little sweeter.
5. A Healthier Biome
Your gut is home to a huge microbiome of bacteria and microbes. Some of the bacteria is good, some not so much. However eating with your hands actually introduces more good bacteria into your digestive tract which can have a huge impact on your overall health (including your mental wellbeing).
6. Fewer burnt tongues
Since your hands are pretty great at sensing temperature, you’re less likely to shove a burning hot handful of food in your mouth. And really, is there anything worse than a burnt mouth? I mean, for sure. But as far a mild injuries and inconveniences go, a burnt roof of your mouth sucks.
Does this stop us from both burning our fingers and our tongues? No. Sometimes the food is that good or you’re just that freaking hungry.
7. Less likely to overeat
Our bodies are very fancily designed machines. They work well when we use them correctly. When we eat with our hands (as we were evolutionarily designed to do), we are more likely to eat slower.
Slower eating means more time to digest between bites. So your brain (aka the super computer of the machine), is able to send and receive the proper signals to let you are full when you’re full and not 10 bites after you’re full.
If you’ve ever scarfed down a huge plate of food with super human speed and then magically went from hungry to ready to pass out from a food coma, you know what I mean. Simply by taking the time to slow down and eat with your hands will help your brain and body communicate with each other and prevent numerous tummy aches in your future.
8. Balanced Blood Sugars
Slower eating results in more balanced blood sugars. Hormones and enzymes have more time to work and are more efficient when you slow down and eat with your hands. This means insulin and bile bread down food better leaving your blood sugars much more stable.
Balanced blood sugars are better for preventing that after eating crash and keep you less moody.
Ever dealt with that 2pm crash? Often times it’s a blood sugar crash. Try eating a well balanced lunch with your hands and see if you feel a difference!
Or take the more practical approach and just constantly snack, like me.
9. Creates a Better Atmosphere
When you eat with your hands, you create a more relaxed and social atmosphere. This is why snack tables at parties are a crowd favorite!
What’s better at a wedding? Slices of cake or dessert bars full of tiny desserts?
Besides an open drinking bar I would say dessert tables are so much better than a traditional cake because A. it’s less messy, most of the desserts are one to two bites and B. they’re more portable being smaller meaning you can continue socializing while you indulge on a tasty fruit tart. There’s no need for you to go hide at a table in the corner eating a slice of cake with a fork.
When you create a more social atmosphere with handheld foods, you evoke more positive emotions with those around you helping you feel more connected to others.
Because as we previously mentioned, we evolved to use hand to mouth eating to promote social wellbeing and if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that social wellbeing is important for everyone – even us awkward introverts.
10. Straight up satisfying
You ever just finish a delicious Cuban sandwich and even though your fingers are still messy you lean back in your seat sigh and smile in pure satisfaction?
Eating French fries with a fork not only looks wrong it also just doesn’t feel right.
When you eat with your hands you just feel happier. Maybe it’s because you’re using all of those senses. Maybe it’s because your socializing. Or maybe you just secretly love the feeling of being just a tiny bit rebellious against what society tells to do.
11. Clean up is easier
Not using utensils means that you have fewer dishes to wash and I don’t know about you but that will always be a plus in my book.
I will always choose to stuff a delicious meal into a tortilla and call it a taco just so that I have fewer dishes to do…call it a life hack, I suppose.
*Pro Foodie Life Hack*! When you eat a taco, put a second tortilla on the plate under your taco. If it begins to fall apart, just let it fall onto your second tortilla. Boom. Now you have a second taco. No mess and no waste of your delicious meal.
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A lot of the benefits of eating with your hands simply come down to slowing down and actually taking the time to enjoy your food.
Life is wayyyy too short not to enjoy the little moments. So taking the time to slow down and enjoy your meal is well worth it. Go ahead, stuff your face with that delicious cheeseburger. Eat more often with your hands. Indulge on the benefits of eating with your hands. And tell your Aunt Susie to mind her own business if she starts to criticize you living your best life where no forks are given.
Make sure you check out some of our favorite handheld recipes because as our the name suggests, we love handheld eats and give no forks with our recipes.