Why not eat with your Hands?

There is a funny saying; “we are digging our graveyards with a fork and knife”. Every day we are using a sharp knife and pointed fork for our food.

Can’t we eat without any weapon? Why don’t we try to use our biological tools for eating?


The ancient science of Ayurveda advocates eating with our bare hands and fingers.  This may be called unsocial in our modern lifestyle but eating with our hands is considered to be an auspicious, social and healthy act.

Eating with our hands has numerous and surprising health benefits


Balance your vital life energy
Ayurveda believes that everything in this universe is made up of five primary elements or energies. These energies correspond to each finger according to its location.  Your thumb indicates fire, the index finger is related to air, the middle finger indicates sky, the ring finger stands for earth and the little finger indicates water. The cause of disease is the imbalance of any one or more of these elements.

While eating with our hands, we join our fingers and thumb; this is an example of a mudra (finger alignment). Therefore eating with our hands balances our basic elements and mudras impart healing powers on our body.


Prevent many illnesses:
Eating with forks, knives and spoons creates faster eating, which has been linked to poor digestion and blood-sugar imbalances in the body — contributing to the development of type 2 diabetes and many auto immune diseases. If you suspect that you may be eating too quickly, consciously slow down and see how you feel when eating with your hands.


Improved digestion
Did you know that there are some bacteria, known as normal flora found on the palm and fingers of the hand. It is not harmful to humans, in fact it protects us from many harmful microbes in the environment. The flora on the fingers is swallowed while eating with the hands and thus promotes healthy digestion.  Other benefits include –  

  • Handling food with your hands helps to release digestive enzymes and juices.
  • The millions of tiny nerve endings on your fingers relay the message to your brain and digestive system about the temperature of your food, the level of spiciness, the nature of the food, and the texture.  This allows the stomach to prepare for digestion.


Develop Spiritually
Hindu philosophy counts eating as an auspicious act, as eating our food is considered to be a prayer to our inner being and soul.  It is a great act of meditation and being connected. Furthermore, eating with your hands makes you connect deeper to the act of eating.


Balance your digestive fire
Multitasking while eating is common in these modern times. Watching TV and eating at the same time may actually keep you hungry and unsatisfied. Researchers concluded that eating by hand promotes a sense of fullness and satiety as compared to eating with utensils.


Mindful eating
Ayurveda suggests using all the five sense organs while eating. Let’s look at our food, smell it well, chew it and taste it.  Chew it well so that you produce an inspirational sound, and the fifth sense is touch – that means to touch your food. Eating with your hands is not only for your body but is also a  diet for your sense of touch.


Note: While eating with your hands, clean up your hand very well before and after food. Also be sure to trim your nails to maintain food hygiene.