01 Aug How You Eat is as Important as What You Eat
by, Dr. Deborah Diamond D.C.
Well, this is almost true. What you eat is of course prime importance in your body’s ability to be healthy.
However, HOW you eat will affect your whole digestive process and can strongly influence how much nutrition you are going to be able to get out of your food.
The three key words are Breath, Relax, Chew. Every meal should begin with this mantra. Breathe, Relax, Chew!
The body has to be in a Parasympathetic state (opposite of a stress state) in order for the digestive system to be activated, hence breathe and relax. If you are coming in from a stressful drive home or busy work time or rushing to get ready to leave for work, it is best to begin by sitting down and pausing and taking a few deep breaths before you begin to eat. This will set the tone and your intention to take in this nourishment for your wellbeing.
I am ashamed to say that for years I ate my breakfast in the car while driving to work.
Even though I knew better I was stuck in a habit of rushing and not giving myself enough time in the morning to care for myself properly before leaving for the office. I was convinced that sleeping for an extra 15 minutes was more important than sitting down and having a good breakfast.
After learning more about Eating Hygiene and how important it is I changed that.
I guarantee that you cannot breathe relax and chew while driving, walking down the hall to a meeting, sitting at your desk and looking at your computer screen, watching television (especially the news) or having a stressful or difficult conversation with someone. I suggest keeping the meal conversation positive and being able to see nature out of a window is helpful also.
Eating is a sacred act. After all our body is a sacred space.
Our body is the home or our Spirit or whatever you call the Life Force that animates you. It is a gift that is priceless and a part of the great mystery of the Universe. It deserves our care, attention and nourishment. When we prepare our body to receive food and eat in a conscious way we welcome the nourishment into our system.
If we eat in a stressed out Sympathetic Nervous System state (fight or flight or rush) the first thing that happens is that our digestive secretions decrease, and the blood supply that needs to rush to the digestive organs to absorb the nutrients instead rushes away.
Stomach acid can decrease up to 80% from stress alone. Stomach acid is particularly important because it allows us to break down protein and absorb Vitamin B12 and most minerals (this is why taking antacids is a bad idea). It also signals the rest of the cascade of digestive activities that take place in the intestines.
Stomach acid is further diluted by drinking too much water with a meal. A full glass of water should be consumed just before a meal, but not during except sips to clear your palate. This is also where chewing comes in. Most people barely chew their food and then wash down the large chunks with water. Digestion begins in the mouth and food should be chewed until it is liquefied.
How we eat is very habitual, like brushing your teeth, but if you understand the importance of the process and have a desire to honor and care for your body and yourself, making conscious and intentional choices about not only what but how we eat is possible to do!
Eating Hygiene Handout from our Website: