Healthy Food is Only Half the Story: The Way We Eat Matters

Sep 2, 2018 | Nutrition | 1 comment

Cindy is an in-demand doctor. She’s single, loves her work and makes time for little else. 
Every morning, Cindy has breakfast: a cup of coffee and an egg sandwich while she commutes in heavy traffic. For lunch, she hits the nearest fast-food joint, then gobbles that down as she drives back to work. Dinner is always take-out in front of the TV.  

Cindy has two complaints—she feels slightly overweight and has bad digestion. But she isn’t, willing to change her eating habits.

Here is our simple suggestion

Park her car and take 10 minutes to eat breakfast. Park her car and take 20 minutes to eat lunch. Slowly. Intentionally. With deep breathing. No radio. No phone calls.

In two weeks, Cindy’s digestive symptoms were gone, her clothing fit better and she realized that she hates fast food!

How can this be?

Turns out taste, pleasure, aroma, satisfaction and visual stimulation are responsible for 40-60% of our digestive, assimilative, and calorie burning power.

Cephalic Phase Digestive Response

When we consume food in a stressed-out state–watching the news, on our laptop, believing the food is making us fat, in a mad rush–our body goes into survival mode. It misses the whole experience of eating. Digestion shuts down. The brain tells the body to store food for fat instead of using the food for energy. The body doesn’t even realize we ate at all–and gets hungry again. Soon.

In this way, it’s not just WHAT we eat, but HOW we eat that really matters.
But in this frantic world, how do we make that happen?
Breathe more. Before each meal, take 10 long, slow, deep breaths. At least 3 times during your meal, pay attention to how deeply you’re breathing. Open a window while you eat. Eat outside. Lack of oxygen is a stressor to our body. The more we breathe, the more calories we burn.
Find time.

Take 10 minutes for breakfast instead of 5.  Take 20 minutes for lunch instead of 10. Aim for at least 30 minutes for dinner but see if you can stretch it to an hour.

Keep conversation light.

Dine with people who inspire you. Stay positive and ditch the negativity and gossip.

Make it beautiful.

Light a candle, play music you love, put some flowers on the table, use your favorite dishes.  Do what you can to decorate your eating environment.

Find a tree.

Eating outdoors helps. If inside is required, look out the window. Focus on the tree, flowers or the sky. Connecting to nature helps your brain relax.

One thing at a time.

Resist eating in front of a screen or while on the phone. Let go of of your worries for just 15-20 minutes. It will all be there when you finish.

Intentional eating may be simple, but changing is always a challenge. Especially after a lifetime of bad habits. So start small. Self-forgive. Set goals on a weekly basis and celebrate baby steps along the way.
We know it’s not easy.
But we know you can do it!
Julie Ralston

Primal. health Coach