Eating while stressed or busy is not good for digestion. It will prevent you from absorbing nutrients properly. Try to: Find ten minutes if you can to sit down and relax while eating. Look at the delicious food on your plate, and take a few deep breaths before you begin your meal. Digestion starts with the eyes. Food which looks and smells good gets the digestive juices going, which helps you absorb the nutrients properly. While eating, pace yourself – don’t wolf it down.
Get in the mood for your food Try to: Chew your food (more on chewing in a minute!) Pause a moment to notice and appreciate what you are about to eat, breathe in the aromas, and try to savor each mouthful. Breathe and relax while eating and take a few deep breaths if you need. After eating, stay sitting for a good five minutes if possible. Getting up straight away is not good for digestion. Notice how you feel next time you eat if you get up straight away, versus how you feel if you stay sitting.
The art of chewing Put the first forkful into your mouth, taste the flavors, and chew. Chew the food to a pulp. Chewing will get your stomach producing hydrochloric acid to break down the food and release minerals you need such as iron and calcium. The production of stomach acid will also signal the digestive organs further on down the digestive tract to activate enzymes and secrete juices which will boost the function of your digestive organs such as the pancreas and gall bladder. Problems with these organs are very common these days.
Lose weight by chewing Chewing can help you lose weight without counting calories or reducing portions. Chewing helps get the message to the satiety center in the brain that we have enough nutrients, which in turn signals our hunger hormones to turn off. Horace Fletcher, the great proponent of chewing (or ‘Fletcherizing’), is reported to have lost 42 pounds just by chewing his food. Chew each mouthful to a pulp! You may find you are fuller from eating less when you chew well.
Hot Spot people eat just the right amount, and no more, which is exactly how the body likes it. In Okinawa there is a saying, hara hachi bu, meaning ‘eat until you are only eight parts full.’ Eating too much, particularly of low-nutrient or empty calorie food, accelerates the aging process in several ways: – It puts stress on the digestive organs – It generates more free radicals than the body can deal with, leading to damaged DNA – It uses up energy we need for other bodily processes
Eat until you only just full When you eat, it takes up to twenty minutes for your hormones to send the message up to the ‘satiety center’ in your brain that enough food has been eaten. If you eat too fast, the message reaches the brain too late, by which time you have overeaten. If you eat until you are completely full, you are likely to find after a few minutes that you are uncomfortably full – or ‘stuffed’, and indigestion and its friends, wind, discomfort, and acid reflux, may follow. Eating until you are only just full is a simple concept which can bring you a whole host of benefits. It should help you to feel and look better and age more slowly, just like the people in the Hot Spots. Eating food which is high in fiber and nutrients, such as fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and beans, can help you avoid overeating because it is surprisingly satisfying.
In the Hot Spots people enjoy eating together. They relax and laugh over a meal. They appreciate the good food as a joint experience, which makes it more enjoyable. Try setting the table every night with your family, switching the TV off, lighting candles, and making it a ritual. It is a time when the family can come together to talk, be together, raise issues, and hopefully have a laugh. It makes a good focal point to the day. Do we just want to fuel up or do we want to enjoy our meals as a special thing?
Food combining Those who have digestive problems such as gas or indigestion can benefit from food combining. This means only eating certain foods together and avoiding certain combinations. The system was originally devised by the renowned doctor William Howard Hay, who managed to lose 50 excess pounds and cure his health problems by following what is also known as the Hay Diet.
Food combining The basic principles of the Hay Diet: – Eat high-starch foods such as rice and bread separately from high-protein foods such as meat, dairy, eggs or fish. The body uses different chemicals to break down starch and protein which are incompatible with each other and stress the digestive system. – An added benefit of food combining is that it means that you naturally end up eating more vegetables, to take the place of either the starch or the protein you would otherwise have had. This leads to loss of excess weight, a less acidic system, and high intake of disease-preventing nutrients. People in the Hot Spots do not consciously follow the food combining diet. However, they do not often combine animal protein with high-starch foods, since these are not readily available, and their diet is vegetable-based in any case.
Combining AVOID starch + protein, especially rich proteins (e.g., red meat) and rich starches (e.g., white bread or fries) AVOID protein + fats (e.g., meat with butter); fats coat the stomach wall and prevent gastric juices from working properly AVOID carbohydrates (such as grains or potatoes) + acid fruits (e.g., tomatoes, oranges) AVOID carbohydrates (such as grains, flour or potatoes) + refined sugar COMBINE protein + non-starchy vegetables (eg chicken or fish + vegetables) COMBINE carbohydrates + non-starchy vegetables + fats and oils (e.g., brown rice with vegetables and olive oil)
Combining Eat fruit alone (although yogurt may be eaten with acid fruits including strawberries) Consume milk alone or not at all, since it curdles when combined Note that quinoa and buckwheat are seeds rather than grains, and are likely therefore to be an acceptable combination with a high- protein food.
What’s what? Proteins = animal products, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes (i.e., beans and pulses, although these also contain starch) Fats = animal and vegetable fats, butter, cream, oils, avocados Starches = grains, potatoes, starchy root vegetables Vegetables = leafy green vegetables, cabbage, onion, seaweed, broccoli, salads, bell peppers, etc. Fruits = almost all fruits (e.g., berries, citrus fruits, etc.)
ACTIVITY: This week, do 3 of the things we have covered in today’s lesson