Much Bowl Musing Today

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As I continue to test out the new copper bowl, I muse on the comparisons to the pewter porringer and the bowls I have used in the past.  There was a time when a bowl would have been a bowl and nothing more.  Now I see the vast differences in bowls and how they affect my connections to eating.  I never realised the relationship before I started eating exclusively from one. 

I have always been a visual person, so the beauty of an object is has been more important than the utility of it.  At first, I sought heavy pottery bowls, rough with dripping glaze.  I loved the look of them, the feel of permanence by their weight and thickness.  I have found bowls that had an element of amusement, one having cat ears on the rim.  I loved the feel of heavy restaurant ware, thick with a smooth white glaze.  I then started moving towards the idea of permanence.  I imagined that if the bowl were to become so exclusive that I would only eat from my own personal bowl, I would need to carry it with me.  The idea of metal bowls became appealing.

Pewter is a soft metal, so it tarnished and scratches easily.  It has a simple charm I really like, and antique pieces bring in a new dimension of having a history.  Metal bowls are not as easy to hold in the hand with very hot or cold foods, often I have had to use a hot pad or keep the bowl on the table.  While in Hawaii, I found a stainless steel double walled rice bowl that I loved, it fit in the hand and was so easy to eat from.  It was very thin steel though and eventually a tiny crack allowed water to enter the compartment and it became a problem.  I am sure this new double walled bowl will not have the same issue, it is so much heavier and the edge is well sealed.

There is a different feel to the new bowl and the old mug.  It is always a nicer to sip with a curved rim on a cup, creating a natural seal with one’s lip and the curved edge.  The mug has a nice flair to the edge and I found myself enjoying that smooth curve against my lips.  The white china cup I have been using does not have that, making coffee drip down the side of the cup as I drink.  The curve to the edge of the copper bowl allows my thumb to have a resting place while supporting the bowl in my hand.  I realized that if I had soup in the copper bowl or some pan juices, I could easily sip from the bowl.  Funny to notice these things, even stranger to write them down. 

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I know it looks to be a mess, lunch yesterday was some leftover spinach, salami, smoked gouda and a few cocktail size sausages.  I wanted to use the leftovers before opening any new foods.  Seeing the bowl was only half full, I was wondered if it would be enough food to eat, but it was plenty.  I am still trying to get back to three bowls a day, but lately I am succumbing to snacking at evening coffee.  It’s become a habit since the holidays, one I need to break instantly.  Husband brought home more chocolates, which when presented to me, I usually have 3.  We stayed up until midnight again, so I had some unsalted raw peanuts for the hunger.  I am not a big peanut fan, so a handful (in the shell) are enough.  Dinner was chicken and parsnips.

I don’t feel as though I am eating too much but lately I feel huge and heavy.  By evening my legs and ankles are massive.  I am not happy about it at all and think I need to take a ketogenic dive and fast.  FINALLY husband will be working a full work week and I hope to take a deep plunge into as low carb as I can get, to see if I can shed this massive fluid retention.

I have had a reader ask me how to eat various foods in a bowl, so I thought I would write about that today.  I generally eat food that has been cut up previously, in an Asian style, I suppose, a mixture of meat and veggies for the most part.  Cutting up the food makes it easier to eat with a fork, spoon or chopsticks.  Sometimes I prefer to layer the food, so that I might have meat on the bottom, add some veggies on top and then some salad on top of that.  This way the salad is eaten first and stays fairly cold as there isn’t a lot of it.  This layering works when I want a sauce on the meat, but not particularly on the veggies (keeping the meat and sauce on the bottom layer).  Since I don’t eat breads (unless on a binge) I don’t deal with it bowl-wise, but I would imagine that a bagel or donut or a round roll would fit fine in most bowls.  Other odd shaped foods could be cut up, for instance, I suppose a slice of pizza could be cut in two and placed in the bowl. Part of the process is to discover how you feel and react to the confines of the bowl. 

The bowl is merely a representation of the stomach and what it can hold comfortably.  It is a marvellous teacher of the concept of enough.  It creates a process that is connected, such as choosing the bowl, finding the bowl pleasing, washing the bowl by hand, returning to the bowl for nourishment time and time again.  There is a natural mindfulness that is present when eating exclusively from the bowl that cannot be found on a plate or out of a bag or package.  The bowl is a challenge to ED who cannot stand the idea that maybe what can fit in the bowl to eat is actually enough.  ED is a glutton, wants no limitations, no restrictions, just hedonistic gorging.  The bowl can be filled more that once, but that re-fill is something we cannot help but notice and that is part of mindful eating.  Awareness.  The bowl causes natural awareness to the challenges of eating from it.

Trying to figure out what to put in the bowl and how to make it fit is the first challenge.  The decisions about how often to eat from it is another.  The work of maintaining a relationship with the bowl and the food inside it soon becomes apparent.  It’s all in what you put into it and what you get out of it that matters, and it will be a different experience for anyone who tries it.

Some people have commented that it is a great portion control method to eat from a bowl.  And I will say that it is true.  But there is so much more to it than just that.  I have tried portion control plates, divided sectioned plates and smaller plates, but none of them created a nurturing effect that a bowl does.  I think it has to do with the intimate shape, the way it fits into a hand and feels more a part of the eating experience.  I have never been able to feel the plate sitting on a table is a part of eating, it just looks like a way to keep the food from making a mess on the table.  It is separate from me, it is not held.  The same as eating with a knife and fork, it may be socially acceptable and all, but cutting up food with utensils on a plate is distant, remote, unconnected. 

I need the connection.  The long years of dieting and bingeing have caused a disconnect between me and food and the act of eating.  To hide my shame in bingeing, I became a secretive eater, hiding food, eating alone, pretending that I did not eat that much.  I caused myself horrid social situations because I was on a strict diet.  Food became an enemy and I was so miserable.  The bowl brought back a chance at a positive experience with eating, a nurturing gift of love towards myself.  Since the bowl, my stomach has gotten use to less and I think that has helped severely reduce the mass consumption binges to overeating episodes.  Eventually, I am hoping to drop bingeing altogether as I continue to find peace from eating from a simple bowl.

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Copper Bowl

Yesterday’s Meals:

Porringer 1-     2 eggs, 2 rashers, 2 cup coffee with 4 tsp double cream
Binge-        2 pots of tea, 2 rolls (one with butter, one with butter and cheese), 1/4 small bag tortilla crisps, 5 bread sticks, 6 chocolate chip cookies
Porringer 2-     glass of wine, minced beef, cauliflower with butter

Evening coffee- 2 cup coffee with 4 tsp double cream, 3 chocolates, 5 breadsticks

I already wrote about the sorta-kinda binge yesterday so I will move on from that.  It was wasted effort, I became aware of just how bloated I am, how massively I am retaining fluids.  I took off my socks last evening and was shocked to see the indentation, I have not had it that bad for a long time.  So even while the binge was not huge, the side affects are enough to scare me into dropping it as soon as possible.

The copper bowl.  I had left it on the kitchen counter in plain view.  I knew it would be a bit of an issue, spending money on yet another bowl, but I did not want to hide it.  After dinner, while I was playing the medication charades, husband did the dishes and washed it.  I had eaten out of the porringer for dinner, so that this morning I decided to just get it over with (a new policy I am working on) and put my breakfast in the copper bowl and set it on the table.  He looked at it and said nothing.  During breakfast, I had the strong urge to pick it up and hold it in the palm of my hand while eating, so I did.  I loved how it felt, the weight of the warm bowl, the nurturing aspect of eating from the hand rather than the table.  Husband looked up and saw what I am sure his traditionalist’s mind saw as bad table manners to eat this way.  I ignored it and continued to eat, really sensing the return of an old friend.  I use to eat this way and feel so peaceful.  The shape and feel of a bowl really is far more important that the look.  I glanced over at the pewter bowl and admired how pretty it is, but it lacks connectedness.  Wow, am I really writing like this?  lol.  Me, the stoic?  I sound like a tree hugger these days!

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This morning’s breakfast aftermath. Husband finally made a comment about the new bowl when we finished eating: found yourself a new bowl? I smiled and said, you know I have a bowl fetish.  I immediately said it was bigger than the other bowl and he immediately said that was a good thing, it made no sense to eat too little and be hungry.  Which made me smile again, because I know it has bothered him to see the bowl size difference between us.  This bowl is deep and appears larger than the porringer and so it is like another little secret between me and the bowl.  That double walled insulation gives the bowl a mightier look.  Husband is still using the plate he used on the truck, deep enough to keep the food from slipping off the plate.  The large rim gives it a much larger look without really holding that much more.  He eats the same foods as I do (larger portions), only potatoes are added to his bowl that I do not eat.  it seemed a settled issue for now, so I no longer feel I need to break the bowl news to him.

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I drank tea out of the stainless steel mug last night and will try that a few more times.  The mug holds 1 1/2 of the cups of liquid of the cup above.  This means I could drop the 2 cups of coffee twice a day down by one whole cup, which means a savings on the cream too.  I have been wanting to cut the coffee down a bit, this may be a better idea for now.  Baby steps of change, I guess.

I tried looking for more of these type bowls for information on them but haven’t found anything yet.  It does not appear to be vintage, the inner surface is not scratched up from frequent use.  It doesn’t have the potential history of my French porringer, but it sure has a nice balance to it, a more inviting look and it is marvellous. 

Eating in Miniature

Today’s Meals:

Porringer 1 – 2 eggs, 2 rashers, 3 demitasse coffee with 3 teaspoons of double cream
Porringer 2 – plain yogurt full fat, pot of tea
Porringer 3 – 2 cumberlands, cabbage, 1 glass wine,
Evening coffee – 3 demitasse coffees with 3 teaspoons of double cream

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I have brought out my tiny Victorian pewter cup and saucer from the cupboard and noticed how much this affected ED.  It amazes me how much preconceived ideas are holding me back from new discoveries.

This little cup holds exactly half of the amount in my previous cup. I would need to drink two to equal the one I drink now.  It is strange to drink from, as it is so small, making me feel like I am attempting to drink out of a doll’s play tea set.

It is a lovely cup and saucer and rich with engraving with a sweet spot for initials to be engraved.

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Here is a comparison of my original stainless steel mug that I drank out of for a long time.  The china cup I drink my tea from, and now the tiny pewter cup.  The two larger cups are lovely to drink from, the curved rim is comfortable to the mouth with a smooth sensation that is pleasurable.  The tiny cup is more difficult to drink from, first from the smallness which means more frequent filling, but also the handle is sharp and uncomfortable and the metal gets very hot and it takes timing to wait for the right temperature before drinking.  I was attracted to the idea of a pewter cup to go with my pewter porringer when I first found it.  But the issues with it made me place it in the cupboard as a failed idea.  Or was it?

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Yesterday I took it out of the cupboard and decided to give it another go.  People drink from demitasse cups and live, so what was the real object to drinking from it for myself?  The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much preconceived ideas about food and eating are locked in our heads.

Being a binge eater, my gluttony revolves around unlimited food and drink.  While I know I will eventually stop, I don’t want to know there is a limit when I begin.  I want there to be no controls, no boundaries, I just want to consume.  So small plates, bowls, utensils, cups….all of these things represent boundaries I do not agree to unless I am trying to restrict eating.  When I binge, I do not grab my porringer.  When I drink, I do not grab a small glass.  I want excessive amounts because that is part of the deal, if I go there, I might as well have it all.

Yesterday, I drank coffee and tea from the demitasse cup.  It was annoying.  ED’s voice whined about the repetitive times it took to refill, the hotness of the metal against my lips, the sharp handle on my finger.  But what if this was the only size there was to drink from?  What happens, is I drink less.  It happened last night and this morning, I found myself drinking less than I did using a larger cup.  And while yesterday it was more because of the annoyance of frequent pouring, this morning it was more about simply being satisfied sooner.  I figured I could have 4 cups to match my usual two larger cups, but I was done after 3.  This is the same phenomenon that happens with using the porringer….I get so use to the amount, I feel completely done when it is empty.

So how much of our eating is guided by the containers we consume from?  When in binge mode, I don’t even use plates or bowl, I eat out of the package.  Interesting.  Perhaps having boundaries by using small containers really does set up a switch in the brain to stop when empty.  The actual portion size is purely a matter of habit.