It’s not just what we eat, but *how* we eat that is important to our overall wellness. We’ve been programmed to eat a certain way that keeps us grinding in a 24/7 cycle that has become definitive of our culture today — even down to how we receive information and the news. Everything is “Go, Go, GO!” and there are (nonsense) social expectations that we should always be busy. Busy working, busy learning, busy with socializing, just constantly busy. When we are constantly in this heightened state of always “doing”, we are activating our sympathetic nervous system or our fight or flight mode. This is not a healthy place to stay. Our bodies function best in a restful parasympathetic state.
With things so heavy and overstimulating right now, it’s especially important to reprogram the things we can. Let’s start with the basic principles of how we eat, this is a small step and an important way to help our minds and bodies slow down.
If you live most of your life in the sympathetic nervous state system, then the digestive process is not prioritized by your body. Your body does not think that you are going to stop for lunch while being chased by a tiger. It’s important we slow down and think of our eating rituals as sacred, as a time to let our bodies and minds reset and move into a parasympathetic nervous state. Live most of your life in the parasympathetic nervous state – or “rest and digest”. Doing so will allow your body to prioritize digestion.
It takes 15-20 minutes for a hormone cascade to be released that regulates hunger. Slow, mindful eating will help us not overeat. When we do this, we can most greatly receive the nutrients from our food.
Here are some positive Eating hygiene practices you can start today:
- Limit water intake while you are eating to 8-10oz. This will allow for the most potent stomach acid production to break down your food for best absorption.
- Slow down while eating.
- Put your silverware down between bites.
- Chew your food 20-30 times before swallowing.
- Breathe while you are eating.
- Sit down while eating and enjoy the process, do NOT multitask.