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Why and How To Eat Mindfully

Uncategorized Sep 25, 2018

Mindfulness practices are all the buzz these days in an effort to combat our fast paced lives. Have you thought about bringing mindfulness to your meal times?

We all think about what we eat and make an effort to choose healthier... but do you ever think about how you eat? Do you grab quickly breakfast on the way to work and eat it in the car? Do eat while checking emails or otherwise multi-tasking? Do you sit down? If you are not being intentional about how as well as what you eat, it may be impacting your digestive system's function. Mindful eating is simply eating with intention and paying attention to your food and it's flavors while you do so. Research has shown that mindful eating improves digestion, eating habits, and overall health. It can also have a positive impact on the emotional and psychological aspects of eating.

How Mind-LESS Eating Affects Your Health

01. Poor Digestion

Thinking about food before eating it actually prepares your mind and body for the first stage of digestion because the brain starts to anticipate the smell and taste of the food, stimulating production of saliva, hydrochloric acid, and digestive enzymes. On the other hand, if you eat mindlessly and don’t pay attention to your food, then your brain doesn’t sends signals to prepare your GI tract properly. You have actually cheated your brain, and it may lead to poor digestion and even weight gain.

02. Stress 

Working can increase the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone is know to supress all the digestive juices as it's responsible for triggering your fight or flight reflexes (not your rest and digest ones). This results in undigested food, lost nutrients, acid reflux, gas, and bloating.

03. Over-eating

The hard truth is that mindless eating often leads to over-eating, which means more calories and often weight gain. Inhaling food quickly prevents you from noticing your body’s signals that it is full, which can take up to 20 minutes. If you've eaten two plates of your supper in 10 minutes, you can see how that "too full" feeling can sneak up fast. This can result in poor digestion or even complications with your digestive system, such as inflammatory bowel disease. Our ability to digest food and absorb nutrients is also affected by stress, hormones, gut microbial imbalance, toxins, and food sensitivities.

Mindful Eating 101

Practicing mindful eating is not as intimidating as it sounds, and the more you practice, the more effortless and less of a process it becomes. It's really just about slowing down, eating intentionally, and enjoying the flavors and textures of your food. It does not have to be long and drawn out discipline, but mindful eating should be just that—mindful, intentional, and enjoyable! Here are a few simple ways to start eating more mindfully:

  1. Plan your meals, or at least what you are going to eat for your next snack or meal. Planning prevents you from grabbing something unhealthy at the last minute that you will end up scarfing down in a hurry and allows you to set aside enough time to actually enjoy your meal. Plus, anticipating your next meal gives your mind and body a chance to prepare for and anticipate what you will be consuming. 
  2. Sit down and remove distractions. Whether you are at home, the office, or even a restaurant, make it a point to prepare your place to eat. Sit down at a table or desk and clear some space - set phones, computers, or work files to the side. This is not the time to check your social media or cram in one more thing on your to-do list; this is your time to fuel and nourish your body.
  3. Eat with intention. Focus on your meal. What are you eating? What are the flavors? If you made it yourself, can you taste the spices you used? What is the texture? Pay attention to how you cut the food. After you take a bite, rest your utensils while you chew. Close your eyes and savour the flavours if you like! Chew for several seconds; don’t gulp. After you swallow, try noticing any flavors that linger in your mouth. Then, pick up your utensils and prepare another bite.

Food should be fuel for your body and should be something you enjoy. Reflect on your eating habits. If your habits do not reflect this 80% of the time, your eating might require a little more mindfulness.


As always, I hope this article has served and helped you. 

If it has, and you want to learn more about my simple approach to choosing healthier foods, sign up for my FREE 8-Page Downloadable Crash Course On Clean Eating.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY NOW

Kindly,

 
Laura Nurse, BBA, ND
Naturopathic Doctor

 

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