Healthy Eating Supports the body and the mind – spirit connection
Our brain is a true powerhouse of billions of neurons. These neurons are constantly firing electrical signals back and forth, telling you what to think, what to feel and what to do. But, did you know that we all have a second brain? And, it controls a lot more than you may realize. Any idea where it’s located? In your gut, of course!
After all, 95% of body’s serotonin is found in the bowels. Serotonin is best known as a “feel-good” neurotransmitter involved in preventing depression and regulating sleep, appetite and body temperature; it transmits signals from the gut to the brain. Research shows that stimulation of the vagus nerve (that sends signals from the gut to the brain) can be an effect. That feeling of “butterflies” in the stomach is just one example of the gut’s response to excitement or fear.
Foods can always cause certain vibrations in our bodies. Processed foods with sugar and chemical additives have a low vibration, while one-ingredient foods from nature actually raise your vibration. Eating whole foods from nature calms your body and mind so that you can be conscious and present in life. On the other hand, eating pastry and having a cup of coffee can actually cause you to feel more anxious.
How do you enjoy your meal? Do you sit down and take the number of bites required for proper digestion to happen? Do you stand and rush because you are so busy? Here are some tips to eat your food properly while enjoying it and showing gratitude.
- ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS
A huge contributor to less mindful dining habits can be the tendency to eat while you watch TV, scroll on your phone, or try to complete another task. These distractions take your focus off of the food and can lead to overeating or finishing your meal and realizing you didn’t even enjoy what you were eating. Of course, there is one distraction that’s allowed — including friends and loved ones to enjoy your meals with you when you can! But overall, to stay mindful, keep the spotlight where it should be: on the food.
- CHEW SLOWLY
Most mindful eating tips will encourage you to slow down — and with good reason. When you chew slowly, not only does it help with the digestion process, it also helps you gauge when you feel full. This means you’ll be less likely to accidentally stuff yourself or end up with indigestion issues.
- TAKE A SEAT
When you’re not intentional about carving out time to sit and eat, you can end up eating more than you want or need. Additionally, you may miss out on some of the sensory pleasure that food can give due to the added effort of standing.
- BE THANKFUL
Expressing gratitude for your food — even if you just do so quietly to yourself — can help you develop a mindful way of eating. Consider how good it can feel to indulge in a meal that energizes you, nourishes your body, and delights your taste buds, and you may find yourself opting for foods that can provide those benefits more often.
- START SMALL
When you prepare your plate, start with smaller portions. Once you’ve finished your initial serving, don’t jump up to scoop another heap of mashed potatoes. Instead, give yourself three to five minutes and then see how close to full you feel. If you find you’re still hungry for more, continue eating in smaller amounts until your body feels satisfied.
- USE YOUR SENSES
Taste isn’t the only sensory way to experience food — using other senses when you eat can be a fun and easy way to pursue mindful eating. Take a moment to appreciate how your food looks and take in its aroma before swallowing that first bite. Keeping your senses engaged can help you stay in the moment and remain thoughtful about what you’re eating and how much of it your body needs.
Putting more intention into what you’re consuming and how you’re consuming it is what mindful eating is all about! Try adopting a few of these tips and see how your meal experiences can change. You’ll likely discover that you enjoy your food more and feel more in control of what’s going into your body! Sometimes we have to remember to stop and “smell the roses.”