Addiction, Anxiety, Food

What it Really Means to “Eat Like a Rabbit”

Rabbit demonstrates mindful eating.

To tell someone they are eating like a rabbit is more of a put down than high praise. Rabbits, at least domesticated ones, gnaw on carrots and lettuce thrown in their cages. People who consume lots of salad have been likened to these furry critters, as if eating greens is a form of deprivation. As I’ve discovered during quarantine, nothing could be further from the truth!

In the last endless weeks I’ve had the opportunity to observe two wild rabbits who forage in the mornings and evenings. While often they scamper away when I return to the house after running an errand or going for a walk, on several occasions they’ve come quite close when I am safely inside. Once, while I was sitting on the patio during a rare phone call, a rabbit approached within a few feet of my chair and even lingered nearby, blissfully unaware of social distancing guidelines.

These white-tailed bunnies are quite particular about what they eat. They don’t chomp every blade of grass or wildflower on the lawn, only the choicest bits. They hop to a selected dandelion, nip it close to the ground, and then nibble the length of it as if it were a stiff strand of spaghetti with either a flower or a tuft of seeds on the end. To watch the weed gradually disappear into the rabbit’s mouth is both much needed amusement and a reminder for how to nourish myself during these trying times.

These rabbits eat deliberately, chewing one stalk until they’ve polished it off. Then, always aware of the environment and potential threats, they search for more food. No indiscriminate binge eating for these creatures. If I can learn to eat like a rabbit in this strange new world of ours, rather than inhaling bar after bar of extra dark chocolate, I will be quite pleased with myself.

About ilona fried

Writer, Feldenkrais champion, Aikidoka and explorer of internal and external landscapes.

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