Have you ever thought of your relationship with food. In times when we have been so enamoured with Marie Kondo and her philosophy of feeling our belongings and honouring them, have you given a thought to how you feel about your food. When you sit to eat are you happy and grateful? Are you eating something you like and enjoy? Or you are eating something that is just easily available and will quickly fill your stomach before you go on to the next meeting while you quickly check your phone. Well then stop….. Take a moment to think about this.
The first step of digestion starts before you start eating. While you are waiting to eat your food your brain is already signalling the mouth ( and stomach) to secrete digestive enzymes. The next step takes place in your mouth. As you start chewing the food is mixed with saliva and salivary enzyme. At the end of this process the food that is swallowed allows stomach acid and enzymes to work efficiently. So if you have quickly gulped that bite down without chewing it well, while you checked your messages, you skipped both the steps. The starches in your diet have skipped the first step of their digestion. Proteins have not been adequately worked upon in the stomach. Is it any wonder that after a meal like that we often feel tired, sleepy and full sometimes even bloated or feel a heartburn.
In all ancient cultures eating food is communion of food and gratitude. There is an ancient Indian Shloka ( Hymm) that says “ Anna he Purna Brhma” Food is complete God. As I write this I remember the lunches and dinners at my own grandmother’s home. Eating food in all traditional houses was a celebration. The leaf plates would be laid, around the plates an intricate drawing would be made with colored powders, a prayer of gratitude would be said for all, somefood would be kept aside for other living being and then food would be eaten. While people ate often there was very little chatter, and if there was it was happy and relaxed.
Similar reflections of food celebrations can be found in Chinese and Japanese culture. Saying grace is common in western culture as well. According to Chinese Medicine when you eat quickly, it damages the stomach qi. In simple terms it translates into the stomach not working efficiently. This can lead to plethora of presentations like fullness and bloating after eating, acid reflux, GERD, constipation and IBS. And prevention is the best cure.
Bottomline is that when you eat your food in a calm and grateful state of mind, without feeling a rush of adrenalin simultaneously your digestive system works better. Digestion is primarily a para-sympathetic activity. When done in sympathetic mode ( Stressful mode) it has inhibitory effect digestive processes. Allowing yourself to take time to chew your food prepares it for the digestive system, and allowing yourself to feel gratitude prepares digestive system for the food that will arrive. And this makes for foundation of more efficient digestion overall. Try it....and see the effects for yourself.
Tips for a healthy meal.