Digestion begins before we even take our first bite. While we prepare food the aromas and textures and sight of food help stimulate our body to prepare for digestion.
So it’s important not to rush the process – cooking doesn’t have to be elaborate but try and take a little time to let your senses start off that digestive process.
Microwave food (‘ping’ food as one of my client’s calls it) and ready meals cut out this step.
Time can be short and so the temptation can be to opt for ‘fast food’ but, whenever possible for digestive and health reasons (eg. avoiding a lot of the preservatives and unhealthy fats in these dishes), try and avoid this type of meal. Try not to deprive your senses of their important role in preparing your body for digestion.
Of course, there will be times we simply are so tired or so pushed for time that a ready meal or ‘ping’ food is what we turn to. That’s ok. Just follow the rest of the steps and give your body time to catch up! Just because it’s a ready meal it doesn’t mean we have to eat it fast or without being engaged in what we are eating.
We all eat on the go or have done at some point in our life. Marketing encourages us to grab and go and being busy has become something to be proud of. When did we become too busy to take time to eat?
Try and create a space to eat without distraction and avoid, as much as possible, eating on the go. If we are rushing and ‘stressed’ our body isn’t going to be prioritising digesting. If our body’s focus is not on digestion then our digestive system won’t be working optimally.
Practice taking a few breaths in and out before you take your first bite…this helps nudge your body towards the parasympathetic state when we can prioritise digestion or resting.
Sitting at a table and avoiding checking our phones, or emails is another must-try habit. It can be hard if you are in an office and the expectation is that you sit at your desk to work through your lunch. See if you can change this.
Even a few breaths before you eat at your desk or on the go will help. Just do what you can. Step by step. Above all be kind to yourself and acknowledge every small change that you can incorporate.
How we eat has a significant impact on how we digest. Try and take it slowly and don’t guzzle your food down. Try some of the suggestions mentioned in the illustration above.
Then when you’ve finished eating – rest and give your body chance to digest your food before you are up and on the go again.
Cravings can be persistent! Help your cravings subside by trying the following:
Enjoy 3 meals of healthy protein, health supporting fats and carbohydrates from mainly leafy green and brightly coloured vegetables.
Avoid shopping when you are hungry.
Have your fridge (and handbag) full of health-supporting options in case the cravings or hunger fight back. See some examples below.
If you find yourself standing in front of the fridge or a cupboard looking for something to eat… just pause and ask yourself if you are genuinely hungry or if you are just feeling a different emotion…. boredom, sadness, anger? Or are you thirsty and not really hungry?
Listen to your body and take the time to enjoy your food with some great company whenever you can.
Check back now and again to make sure you are eating in ways to support optimal digestion and health.
You can access these pages as a booklet by clicking on the link below.