HCG Diet & Natural Wellness Blog


The Digestive Benefits of Eating with Awareness

July 21, 2016
Do you eat mindlessly while doing 10 other things or do you sit down with presence and awareness for your food and your body???  Your choice makes a difference!
Do you eat mindlessly while doing 10 other things or do you sit down with presence and awareness for your food and your body??? Your choice makes a difference!

Awareness and Eating make for a FUN, Sensual experience that Optimizes Digestion.

Lately, I have been deeply interested in the psychology of eating.  I know a tremendous amount about the physiology of the body when it comes to food. I educate my patients each and every day about the impact that different foods have on their bodies.  Over the years, I have also come to realize that there is a need to address the psychology behind eating and to spend time taking a look at this with each and every patient. 
 
Today, I would like to discuss the topic of digestion and digestive issues that come from eating fast and mindlessly.  I see digestive issues in my practice all the time and they really do have a negative impact on enjoying life. In my opinion, digestion is the foundation of the health of our entire body. There is a lot of neural traffic or information that flows back and forth between the belly and the brain.  If we bring our brain and its awareness to the table while we were eating we could help unravel some disharmony in our guts.
 
Often times, the focus on digestion issues comes down to organic causes such as low stomach acid, dysbiosis of gut microbiomes, food sensitivities, etc.  These are important things to look into.  However, that is just one piece of the pie.  Learning to SLOW down while we ate and to notice what we are eating and to chew SLOWLY to allow salivary enzymes to begin breaking down our food is really important for the production of all digestive enzymes, for the balance of gut microbiomes and for proper digestion, absorption and assimilation of the nutrients in our food. 
 

EATING WHILE FEELING STRESS

Stress physiology  is not good for digestion    Stress shuts digestion down.  Stress makes it very hard for the body to digest, absorb and assimilate all of the food that we eat.  SO, you can choose the right food ... however it also depends on "who you are" when you eat.  Stressful things do happen in our external universe and we need to deal with those. However, so many of us also create stress with our own inner dialogue about the world.  If we can find a bit of inner peace and relax deeper while eating you will step into a relaxed digestive response and your overall digestion will be closer to optimal.
 

THE SPEED OF EATING

 
The body is meant to take food in slowly.  When we eat FAST, this feels stressful to the body.  I encourage my patients (and myself) to slow down while eating and CHEW your food. There is an incredible amount of important digestive enzymatic activity that happens in the mouth before the food even hits the stomach. We need to chew our food well and slowly in order to benefit from these salivary enzymes.
 
This is one of the problems in our busy world these days.  I
 

BIOCIRCADIAN DIGESTION - the time that we eat

 

Digestion is highest when sun is high in the sky.  Mid-day, is when digestion and metabolic activity is the highest.  There is a direct correlation here.  As we have all heard, it is best not to eat late at night. In the night time, the body is designed to detoxify, heal and repair.  Digestion takes a considerable amount of energy from these processes.  
 

AWARENESS OF THE MEAL

 
Taste, pleasure, aroma, satisfaction ... this should all come from our meal. Too often, we make the meal we are eating a side project. By doing this, we short change ourselves a good digestion response.  If you are not taking awareness of your meal you will also not notice when you feel full as soon as you might if you were paying attention.
 
I have spent a lot of this past year being more mindful with my eating ... bringing my mind on board for the eating journey. It has been an illuminating experience.  It is actually FUN and Sensual to truly be present with what is going on in your mouth while you eat your food slowly noticing how it tastes, feels and smells. It is so much more satisfying than putting in bite after bite and not really noticing much about what you are eating. Eating can be a truly mindless event or a very mindful experience. 
 

BEFORE YOU BEGIN EATING YOUR MEAL ...

 

BREATH and AWARENESS.
Take 10 long, deep, rhythmic breaths before eating.  Take awareness of what you are eating ... notice of the aroma, the colors, and show up for your meal.  Give some thanks to the earth and her elements for growing the food and to all of the people who played a part in getting it on your plate.  I can almost guarantee you will enjoy and digest your meal a whole lot more.
 
Even if you can practice this for just one meal per day that would be of great benefit.  Relax, breathe, be aware and give thanks before you eat just one time per day.  Go for it!
 
 
Dr. Cara Phillipo
Naturopathic Medicine
THE NATURAL PATH
503-347-4625 office
415-306-6879 office/cell/text
 
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