It's Also About How You Eat and Not Just What You Eat

Mar 19, 2024

We often take food for granted but what most people don't realize is that what we eat can not only affect us physically (our gut, our energy, etc), but can also affect our mindset which in turn has an effect on our heart. 

Furthermore, HOW you eat has an impact.  So, when you eat, are you paying attention to the sensations and tastes of the food and being grateful for the blessing of the meal?  Or are you looking at your phone and reading messages whilst you boggle down your meal without properly chewing it?   Do you rush through your meal without paying any attention to what you are eating because you have something else to do or somewhere to go?

Eating slowly and mindfully offers several health benefits, both in terms of digestion and overall well-being. Here are five key advantages:

  1. Improved Digestion:

    • Explanation: Eating slowly allows your digestive system to function more efficiently. Chewing food thoroughly helps break it down into smaller particles, making it easier for enzymes to further break down nutrients in the stomach and small intestine. This process enhances nutrient absorption and reduces the risk of indigestion.
  2. Enhanced Weight Management:

    • Explanation: Eating slowly gives your body more time to recognize feelings of fullness. When you eat quickly, your brain may not register that you're satisfied until after you've overeaten. Mindful eating helps prevent overconsumption by allowing your body's natural satiety signals to kick in, which can be beneficial for weight management.
  3. Better Nutrient Absorption:

    • Explanation: Chewing slowly and mindfully allows for better mixing of food with saliva, which contains digestive enzymes. This initial breakdown of food in the mouth facilitates the absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract. This process ensures that your body can extract maximum nutritional value from the food you consume.
  4. Reduced Stress and Improved Well-being:

    • Explanation: Mindful eating encourages a more relaxed and enjoyable mealtime experience. When you savor each bite, focus on the flavors, and appreciate the textures of your food, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting a state of relaxation. This can help reduce stress levels and contribute to an overall sense of well-being.
  5. Prevention of Overeating and Mindless Snacking:

    • Explanation: Eating slowly allows you to recognize and respond to your body's hunger and fullness cues. When you're more attuned to these signals, you're less likely to overeat or engage in mindless snacking. This mindfulness helps you make better food choices and maintain a healthier relationship with food.

To incorporate slow and mindful eating into your routine, consider the following tips:

  • Chew Thoroughly: Aim to chew each bite of food at least 20-30 times before swallowing.

  • Savor Each Bite: Pay attention to the flavors, textures, and aromas of your food. Put your utensils down between bites to slow the pace.

  • Eliminate Distractions: Turn off electronic devices, and focus on your meal without the distractions of television, phones, or computers.

  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues. Stop eating when you feel satisfied rather than overly full.

  • Be Present: Engage in conversation, if dining with others, or practice mindful breathing to stay present during your meal.

    Eating mindfully and attentively is not what we are taught and it is not natural to us anymore.  To change our habits is difficult but it is worth it and it can be done.  To prove my point about how unnatural it is for us to eat attentively,  I invite you to try this at your next meal.  Test yourself.  How long can you focus on the tastes and smells?  How long can you chew each mouthful before swallowing. It takes serious concentration...which proves my point.

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