Growing up, we were taught manners. Among the many lessons, how to sit and eat at a dinner table was a favourite. No elbows on the table. The different forks that one used for the different courses served. How you sipped your soup. We were constantly told that we needed to make the Queen of England proud. Utensils including forks and spoons are said to have been used in different parts of the world, going back over 2000 years.  In 1004 AD, the niece of the Byzantine emperor used a golden fork at her wedding. With time, it became both fashionable and in fact improper to eat with anything but a fork and knife.

Mother, how hard we tried to get it right. I never really got much good at it. Eating usually meant filling our starving stomachs. Who had time for niceties when gulping it down with our hands would fill our stomachs just the same. Paradoxically, we were doing ourselves a favour. Your fingertips have complex nerves. They are the most sensitive part of your body. Packed with thousands of nerve endings, they produce complex nervous impulses. Research has established that in fact a lot of the processing that was thought to be taking place in the brain, actually occurs on your fingertips. The sensors on your fingertips can detect temperature, pressure, subtle differences in touch and shape. It is also believed that the sensors prepare your body to digest the food that you are eating. This occurs by the brain releasing the appropriate enzymes to help the food that you are consuming. Yes, even the pizza that you just indulged in. Your fingertips also signal to the brain that you are in fact over your daily quota of food. Eating any more would simply be greed.

Several communities across the world eat with their hands. Is it time you join in?


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.