You are what you eat, right? We’ve all heard our bodies are a reflection of what we consume. Of course this makes sense. And… this is only part of the equation in developing a strong, healthy mind/body.
Just as important is how we eat. How well we digest our food is one of the most important aspects of staying healthy.
I was reminded of this the other day as I watched a young man walking down the street eating a sandwich whilst talking on his phone and clearly getting very stressed as he tried, unsuccessfully, to hail a cab. In that moment he was breaking all the guidelines for how to eat well. Let’s look at where he was going wrong.
5 top tips for HOW to eat:
sit down to eat
It sounds very basic and yet so often people don’t do it. Your body’s ability to digest is severely undermined when you eat standing up. And if your digestion is not strong the food you eat is not properly absorbed by the body and then ends up being stored in your system as toxic residue. This then leads to more serious illnesses over time.
don’t eat when you are feeling stressed or upset
We are always metabolising. We are always taking something in. Whether it be experiences, moods, emotions, pollutants, environmental situations. Let’s say you sit down and eat your dinner in front of ‘The Exorcist’ (rated #1 scary movie by Time Out). In that moment as the stress chemistry of terror is coursing through your body, you are consuming fear. Likewise if you eat when you are angry or sad, that is what you are taking in. Eating stress is not good for us.
attention on the food (not the TV, Blackberry, computer, traffic…)
The process of digestion starts well before you put anything in your mouth. When we look at food we activate the early stages of the metabolic process. When we smell food the digestive organisms begin to engage. If we are distracted and not paying attention to what we are eating we are compromising our ability to digest.
chew your food
Don’t talk while chewing your food. Chewing is a vital part of the early stages of the digestive process – by breaking down the food properly in the mouth we do not strain our system and the food is going to be completely absorbed by the body. If instead, we are shovelling food into our mouth without breaking it down, essential nutrients are not able to be assimilated in order to maintain a healthy, balanced nervous system.
don’t eat to the point of being full
The optimal guideline for eating is to eat about two-thirds of your stomach’s capacity. This is approximately equal to the amount of food that fits into your two cupped hands. Smaller hands, smaller body, less food. Bigger hands, bigger body, more food… This leaves room for the digestive process to function in a balanced way. If we overeat or eat when we are not hungry, we are taxing our body’s ability to convert the food into energy. Food is not properly digested and this builds up as toxins in the body.