Allow adequate time for meals using the following as a guide. This is a paraphrased excerpt from one of Denny Waxman’s macrobiotic books

The minimum time required to consume a meal is twenty minutes. Now you might think that’s an arbitrary number, but it’s not. Let me explain.  According to eastern thinking, everything in the universe is energy, some of it materialized energy (us, for example) and some not (wind, for example). Energy is manifested in vibrations. And we know that vibrations have a natural tendency to align with each other—that’s physics. I first realized this when I was in Switzerland, in a shop that sold cuckoo clocks. All the pendulums were exactly aligned. (I was so pleased with my discovery that I made the mistake of buying one of these clocks. It drove me crazy once I was home.) Or, take the example of women’s menstruation.

It’s well known that, after a short while, women who share living quarters begin to menstruate at the same time. Therefore, it should not surprise you to learn that after twenty minutes in the same room the heartbeat, blood pressure and breathing of those present tend to align. However, if someone should enter the room whose heartbeat, blood pressure or breathing is very different from that of everyone else—so different that they cannot align—everyone will begin to feel uncomfortable. No one will be able to relax completely. By the same token, the person who entered the room will feel too uncomfortable to stay very long.

Why does the process of alignment take roughly twenty minutes? This is the reasoning: fifty cycles of energy (ki) flow through the body each day. This means that ki circulates through the entire body fifty times a day. One cycle takes just under thirty minutes (twenty-eight, to be precise). It takes about seventy percent of the fifty-minute cycle—or twenty minutes—for alignment to become significant. You can check on this yourself. When you go somewhere new, how long does it take until you to really feel comfortable? How long does it take to settle into a serious conversation?

Understanding the Connection with Food Through Time

It takes about twenty minutes. Some people sit down to meals assuming that five to ten minutes is adequate. If a friend says he has something really important to talk over with you and you reply—great, I can give you five minutes—it’s likely he or she will feel insulted. You can’t have a serious conversation in five minutes. You can introduce the subject but you can’t delve into it. In the same way, you can have an appetizer or a snack in five minutes but not an entire meal.

Breakfast is the most forgiving meal because we’re active for a full day afterwards. Dinner is the least forgiving. In other words, if you have a fifteen- minute breakfast, it’s not the end of the world. However, in a manner of speaking, a fifteen- minute dinner is. It doesn’t count as a meal. I’m not talking about solid eating time. I’m talking about the time it takes to complete your meal from the moment you sit down until the moment you get up from the table.

Let’s say you’re standing next to someone at a bar. Even if you don’t say a word to that person, after twenty minutes your energy will be aligned. If you smile at that person, the alignment happens more quickly. If you talk together, it happens more quickly still and the alignment becomes stronger. I hope you can see now that quiet conversation during mealtime, talking and eating together, fosters a strong and deep alignment. If you eat quietly without talking, you become more independent, but not as strongly connected to one another. Whether you eat alone or with others, the minimum time for a meal is twenty minutes. Please make time for meals and you will notice this firsthand almost instantly!

The Complete Macrobiotic Diet is Denny Waxman’s most recent book that will provide more information on making time for meals. It will help if you are looking for more in depth information on this topic. We have other solutions if you prefer video instruction or hands-on experience with meal preparation. These additional solutions for training are possible through our macrobiotic programs.