if a bird lands on top of your food

If a bird lands on top of your food and no one sees it, did it really land on your food?

This past Shabbos afternoon, after a lovely meal, we went for a short walk. We left our Shabbos table with dessert cookies still on it, along with whatever leftover challah pieces weren’t yet eaten.

And…we left our sliding door wide open.

On our return, I was the first one through the front door and saw that there was a bird on our table, pecking away at some of the challah.

Okay. We can handle losing some challah.

The big question is: did the bird attempt to eat our cookies?!

We’ll never know.

I surveyed my family members with the following questions:

1) Would you eat cookies that you knew a bird had pecked at?

(I got a unanimous “No way!”)

2) Would you eat cookies that were on a table upon which a bird was found pecking at some of the other food?

(I got a half-hearted “I’m not sure” sort of answer.)

3) Would you eat cookies that a bird had pecked at and had no idea what had transpired?

(I got a unanimous “Of course I’d eat them. The thought that a bird was nibbling them wouldn’t have occurred to me.”)

Isn’t it amazing how much having a bird in the room would affect the way we think about a cookie?

Not too long ago, people around the world would eat local foods and, based on their bodies’ reactions, understand which foods they needed and how much of them to consume.

Nowadays, open up a bag of pretzels and just watch how confused people become:

“Are they healthy? They’re better than chips. But they’re worse than a vegetable. Do I need more carbohydrates today? They have so much salt. If I have these now, can I still have that ice coffee later?”

Ladies, there’s a bird in the room.

There. I said it.

And that bird is all the discussion around points, carbs, calories, superfoods, and more.

There’s so much THINKING and OVERTHINKING and RETHINKING all of our nibbles.

Wasn’t life so much more straightforward before that bird flew into the room and got noticed?

Let’s be real; I’m a bit squeamish around animals and my personal space, but I know that if I ate one of those cookies, even if a bird had nibbled it, I would be just fine.

So too, if you made the conscious decision to eat a few pretzels with awareness of how it feels in your body and what your emotional state is, you could “set the bird free” and all your food anxiety with it.

Here’s an exercise to take this up a notch:

Next time you’re about to sit down (or stand up) to eat something, notice your thoughts and feelings around the points, calories, or grams involved in that food. Take a moment to acknowledge the way you’re feeling about eating it. Then, allow yourself to take a bite of the food while “setting the bird free.”

Want more accountability? Comment below and let me know how this exercise went for you.


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