When we eat it is imperative that we are relaxed. In order to optimise our digestive function, our parasympathetic nervous system should be activated. In other words, we must be in a “rest and digest” state where our digestive system is ready to receive food as it has had the correct signals from our brain. These signals cue the lining in our stomach to secrete hydrochloric acid, our pancreas to release its digestive enzymes and the liver to secrete bile into the intestines. All these functions are essential to correctly metabolise our nutrients as well as kill off pathogenic bacteria and other toxins in the food we eat. When we are stressed or anxious, our sympathetic nervous system activates, this is our ‘‘fight or flight” mode, when all the blood travels away from our intestines to our peripheral muscles, glucose is released from tissues into the bloodstream to deliver energy and our heart rate increases. This gets us ready to engage in an adrenalin-filled activity. Not exactly useful when we are eating. So don’t stress and eat.
Our lives are at a very fast pace. Technology has made us jump every second to respond
to requirements, requests or demands on a set of actions based on your responsibility
and place in the planet. For a lot of us, the luxury of being able to eat our lunch
away from our desk or not rushed whilst traveling in between meetings is rare. How
many of us who have a busy work schedule actually take time to sit down and fully
enjoy our midday meal? This response to constant work requires the HUMAN body to
refuel, replenish and rejuvenate. I feel food is the miracle product that can harm
or heal the body. 'Eat Well and You Will Be Well, Eat Anyway and your Body Will Behave
Beyond the word Nutrition or Balanced diet, in my opinion lies the fact that beyond what we chose to eat, there is a Newer Philosophy or Mantra - HOW DO YOU EAT? Certain studies have documented how the digestive processes are especially sensitive to chronic stress, demonstrating changes in blood flow to intestinal tissues, gastric secretions and gut motility.
You are what you EAT! I beg to differ, and should perhaps be swapped for ‘You are what you Absorb’. After all, you could be eating a relatively good diet, but what if you weren’t actually assimilating the nutrients properly due to eating whilst in an anxious state? Sounds familiar to your workplace or home when eating. Therefore you need to eat differently. I call this mindful eating.
In simple words, when eating has no distractions of TV or Phone. Observe the food served to you, look at its colours, feel its crunch or texture in your mouth as you chew. Be thankful to the people that make this food available to you. Think that the food is entering a holy place - Your Body. It’s like a temple and you are beginning your daily rituals of worshiping it with a beautiful offering.
DO this with every meal, every morsel and See how your body begins to love your meal time. Even if it only takes you 15 mins to finish a meal and rush away, let those 15 mins be blissful, silent and happy. If you are surrounded by family or loved ones or colleagues at work, talk about how great the food is and how it helps you rejuvenate for the next few hours. Try this for a week and see your body’s rhythms of sleep, energy, and productivity improve.