5 Ways to Know What to Eat Without Thinking


How often do you ask of yourself, your partner, your family, or your friends, “What sounds good to eat?” Daily, if not multiple times a day, right? “What sounds good?” seems to be one of the most common ways of communicating about what to eat. And I actually think it may unconsciously be doing a lot of harm. Let me tell you why.

What are the most commonly recognized of our senses? They are sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound. Of those general senses, which one is least associated with eating?

Do you touch food? Yes. Do you see food? Yes. Do you smell food? Yes. Do you taste food? Yes, of course. Do you hear food? No. Then why are communicating about food in terms of sound? “What sounds good?” Huh?

When you ask “What sounds good?”, you are really asking someone what they think. You are communicating more about thinking and less about feeling. And this is where the danger comes in. Your body is set up to communicate what it needs, and when, through feeling. You don’t have to think about sleeping, you feel tired. You don’t have to think about drinking water, you feel thirsty. You don’t even have to think about eating, you feel hungry. And I am here to tell you don’t have to think very much about what you need to eat if you’ll just feel it.

Here are some ways to better determine how your meal will make you feel…

1 – Look at your food. Do you like what you see? What a food looks like matters. Its appearance can stimulate or inhibit digestion. Does its appearance make you feel better?

2 – Touch your food. How does it feel? How do you feel? If you don’t think the way food feels matters consider “mouthfeel.” It represents how it will be digested and what nutrients might be available for the body. How a food feels to you to touch is important when it comes to how good a food currently is for us.

3 – Smell your food. Does that smell make you feel better? Smell is a big part of taste. How a food smells to you will play a large role in how it tastes, and taste is very important feedback about what your body needs. 

4 – Taste your food. If you don’t trust all of this other feedback, then taste the food. A very small bite can do the trick. Taste it. Do you like it? How do you feel? Do you want more of it, and do you want to feel more like that? Be willing, even if you’ve just spent the time to cook or get some food, to not eat whatever it is that doesn’t feel good.

5 – Lastly, if you really have to think about your food then think about it through your senses. Imagine how that food would feel, look, smell, and taste. How you feel as you imagine yourself sensorily experiencing that food will be a better indicator of how good that food will be for you than asking “what sounds good to eat?”

Can we please stop asking, “What sounds good to eat”?

It’s far more accurate and helpful to ask, “What feels good to eat?”

2 thoughts on “5 Ways to Know What to Eat Without Thinking

  1. I think you overstate the case here. It is very common to mix metaphors involving senses, and you should not read too much into that. (For some details, see Khannaman “Thinking Fast and Slow”.) Why describe the pitch of a musical note as “high” or “low”? Surely music does not have altitude. Or why, when we see a large house, do we say it has a “ton” of space? Or important matters are “weighty”. Or even “I see what you mean”. Or “I love you this much (holding hands far apart)”. Or colors that are “warm” or “cool”. (Physics has the notion of “color temperature”, but in that case blue is hotter than red.)

    Part of the mixing is in the brain. Yes, we have areas of the brain devoted to sight, hearing, language, etc. But there are some neurons that are used by multiple senses. More importantly, psychologically, we are easily able to translate the relative units of one measure to some other unrelated quantity. We all know exactly what “sounds good” means, even if sound is not involved.

  2. Are most people in touch with their bodies and sensitive to its needs? From my experience, No.
    How do we better attune our minds to our body’s, conscious or unconscious action? Conscious action.
    Is “what sounds good to eat” a question consciously and actively employing the 5 actions outlined in the article? No.
    And judging by the health of the general population are most people good at eating for their body’s needs? No.
    So do “We all know exactly what “sounds good” means, even if sound is not involved.” I certainly don’t think so.

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