You are what you eat and how you eat!
Facilitating a healthy balance is key
I often get women coming in and asking, “Can I eat this? Can I eat that?”. Before I answer with a yes, no, or that depends, I always address how they are eating. Are they eating mindlessly at a work desk or scrolling on their phone? Does breakfast (if they remember having it) involve popping food into their mouth just before rushing out the door? If so, your body will not receive all the benefits of eating specific foods. Rushed, mindless, scattered eating will weaken digestion even if you are eating all the ‘right’ foods.
Even Western medicine recognizes this, as this article from Harvard Medical School on the importance of “mindful eating” explains; there is a growing body of research that says eating on the go, at work or during any other activity is the equivalent of putting one’s body in a fight and flight response, which essentially halts digestion.
Find the space or setting to ‘put it in park’ before you eat
Believe it or not, sitting on a bench in the afternoon sun, eating ice cream slowly, savoring every bite will be more blood vitalizing than eating all the ‘right’ foods the wrong way. Why? Because you are present in the moment, relaxed and your digestion will thank you for it. To be clear, I don’t suggest you eat ice cream or junk food often (if at all), but how we eat is nearly as important as what we eat. Too often, we eat most of our meals stressed and distracted, and we are quick to blame the food we eat as the reason for digestive upset or nutritional deficiencies.
Sit back, relax and taste
Chewing and tasting your food cues your digestion in a healthy way. Think about it, you really can’t ‘taste’ your food when you’re eating on the go. And, tasting your food is integral to the first phase of digestion. Once you are eating the majority of your meals in a relaxed, stress free way, then it’s time to start eating a blood vitalizing diet. You don’t have to find a park bench and unplug at length to change your eating habits. Ditching the phone for a few minutes while you eat, and a little more mandibular movement (fancy for chewing) is often all that’s needed for an intended diet to have the most impact!
The following are good indicators that you are probably not eating in a way that benefits your digestion, health and fertility. Do you….
- skip meals and/or eat on the run?
- get tired after eating?
- eat your heaviest, biggest meal for dinner?
- eat as you work, or as you mindlessly scroll through your social media feeds?
- snack on whatever is available?
- drink a coffee in the morning and don’t eat anything else with it?
- have pretty strong cravings at any point of the day or evening?
Individuals will often notice that digestion, energy and sleep are improved just by subtly changing their diet habits before changing their actual diet. This is a very important first step, especially if you are one to be overwhelmed by dietary changes. Seeing big impacts from subtle changes is very empowering and can be the impetus for more change.
Collaborative Care can help
We work closely with our patients on helping them find and stick to the best diet for them. For more information on Collaborative Care’s approach to diet, check out some of our other blog posts on diet including this post on how we help find the right diet for the individual.