Can I tell you a little secret?
You ALREADY have a very important tool for activating weight loss and improving your digestion.
Would you like to know what that is?
Your teeth! OK, stay with me and hear me out. Your teeth are amazing and have a very important job. I love how Functional medicine has revised the saying of "you are what you eat" to go further and say " you are what you eat, absorb and utilize." We may already be eating a healthy whole foods diet, but if we are unable to absorb and utilize those nutrients, we aren't better off. You may have taken the time to prepare and create healthy food but to benefit we need to focus on CHEWING! what a simple, yet HARD task to accomplish well.
Why CHEWING is so important...
When we chew our food adequately we create enzymes through saliva that allow digestion to take place, more chewing =more enzymes. Enzymes are important for proper digestion. When we eat, we signal hormones, activate those enzymes as well as gastric juice. We also know that with good digestion comes healthy bathroom elimination (poop!..there, it's been said) Each action of the digestive system is dependent on the prior action. The process of digestion starts in our mouth and this makes chewing an incredibly important place to start the breakdown process. Chewing alone can decrease bloating, gas and abdominal pain!
Digestive issues = S.T.R.E.S.S!
We can unknowingly have a constant stress response directly putting a burden on our digestive system, this can have a BIG IMPACT on our weight loss or pain management success. Often, we eat in a hurry, barely chewing, sometimes just to get to the second helping but often because we are pressed for time with the next thing on our 'to do' list. You know that feeling when you're nervous, that tight stomach that feels clenched and uncomfortable (think public speaking). We can unknowingly carry this type of chronic gut stress around with us daily and this alters our digestive capabilities.
Your body is smart, it knows that in times of stress it is not going to be focusing on digestion but on making sure the vital organs have blood running to them for a quick escape response. Now this is great if were actually running from a bear.. but when we are simply living our busy lives, have too much on our list to get done and always rushing here and there, our bodies activate the flight or fight response. Digestion takes a back seat.
How can we alter this?
SLOW DOWN And don't forget to BREATHE
When you sit down to eat start by taking a whole 15-30 seconds to stop and breathe. Take 5-10 big DEEP breathes and don't just start shoveling the food in because you are starving. You can wait 15 seconds longer, I promise, it is possible. Slow down that stress response and allow your body to prepare for the food you are about to eat. Next, take a bite and CHEW 4-50x. A benefit here is that portion control becomes a lot easier when you are not focusing on the amount of food you are eating but how well it is chewed!
You might be thinking...
Kristin, you are crazy 50x is easier said than done. But let me encourage you that this is a practice, and we cannot master anything without practice. Start focusing one just one meal a day and eventually the habit will grow and you can expand this practice to everything you eat. Again, I say that it is a practice that I am still practicing as well.
See you next week where we dive into the TRUTH behind the impacts of Yo-Yo dieting.
with love and whole foods,