Did you know it takes your brain up to 20 minutes to realize you’re full?
Did you also know that our digestion actually begins with the smell of the food, whether it’s cooking or steaming on a plate in front of us?
Oh oh oh did you also know that you should technically chew about 32 times before swallowing to help your body digest and absorb nutrients?
Whew! That is a ton to keep track of and it's really no wonder that 61 percent of Americans reported experiencing at least one gastrointestinal problem in the span of a week.
As a society we have completely normalized eating-on-the-go, skipping meals, thinking coffee is an acceptable breakfast, and watching tv or scrolling our phones while we eat dinner. Too bad our poor bodies have totally not gotten that memo and are therefore struggling.
If you & and your gut have had it, it's time to start implementing mindful eating!
Mindful eating is about ridding yourself of distractions and becoming tuned in to not only the food itself but how it is making you feel in that moment and nourishes your body. So what exactly goes into mindful eating?
Rest & Digest
We’ve all heard of our nervous systems ‘fight or flight' mode but what about ‘rest and digest’?
The parasympathetic nervous system is the quiet counterpart to your stress response with its main function being to conserve energy while bringing your body back into a state of calm once the danger has passed.
The parasympathetic nervous system controls processes in the body such as digestion, repair, and relaxation. When the parasympathetic nervous system is dominant in the body it conserves energy, slows heart rate, increases digestion, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the digestive tract.
In order to practice proper mindful eating and really reap the benefits we need to properly trigger our 'rest & digest' mode to alert the body what is coming.
How-To Mindfully Eat
You can start your mindful eating journey by picking one meal per day to focus on and trying these routines:
💨Start each meal with a minute of deep breathing to activate your ‘rest and digest’ system.
💧Eat more slowly. Pause between bites and drink water throughout the meal.
📱Eliminate distractions by turning off the TV and putting down your phone.
🔎Focus on how the food makes you feel and stop eating when you’re full.
🧐Before eating, inquire about your motives. Are you hungry, bored, lonely, grazing because it’s there?
Once you have the hang of it, mindfulness will become more natural. Then you can focus on implementing these habits into more meals!
Bonus : Another Reason to Trigger 'Rest & Digest'?
To allow your Lymphatic System to start moving nutrients around your body!
Did you know that your abdominal area is the most lymphatic vessel-rich area in your entire body?!
The fact that your lymphatic vessels converge in the digestive system (specifically in the largest lymphatic node, the cisterna chyli) is no coincidence - since it is in charge of moving nutrients and waste/toxins throughout the body!
So, at each meal when your digestive system and 'rest & digest' kicks into action, the lymphatic system also aids in carrying away the fatty acids, proteins and fat-soluble vitamins throughout the body. If you've made adjustments to your diet and been practicing mindful eating but still experiencing constipation and bloating a blocked lymph system may be the culprit!
Lymphatic drainage massage is an effective treatment to help reduce symptoms and kick-start a healthy digestive process.
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