How you eat is just as important as what you eat. Read up on these healthy habits that promote gut health and overall well being.
We strongly believe that how you eat your food is as important, if not more so, as what you eat. The following guidelines, when all implemented into your eating habits, leads to improved digestion and building a healthy relationship with food.
Establish A Place for Eating
Before you chow down on your meal, it’s important to have the proper eating environment. Designate a place for your meals, a dining table usually works best. Keep in mind that this environment is a sacred space, so keep it friendly, warm, and inviting! You don’t need anything fancy. Just a clean table, a chair, and no distractions. When you are about to eat, designate this time and yourself to the food in front of you. How do you do that? For starters, cut out any and all distractions. Keep your cellphone, laptop, and portable electronics in another room. Turn off the TV. It’s ideal that you sit and eat in silence, or while having a friendly conversation with the people around you. However, if the silence makes you uncomfortable at first, begin by playing soft music at a low volume while you eat. As you get used to eating your meals in this serene environment, slowly fade out the music and allow yourself to experience the silence.
Establishing the proper frame of mind
Our mental state seriously effects your digestion as well as having an impact on your relationship with food. How do we get ourselves into the proper mind frame? It easy! Just breath. Inhale slowly while counting to five, hold your breath counting to three, and then slowly exhale counting to five. Repeat five to ten times, or until you notice that you’re calmer. While you’re breathing, take in the details of your surroundings, the smell of the food, the texture of the utensils, the atmosphere of your environment. Eat your food calmly, gratefully, and wholeheartedly. Really get in there, and enjoy every single bite!
Chew your food
Chew, chew, chew. Chew until your food turns into a semi-liquid state. Your saliva breaks down the food to make it easier to digest, more gentle on the tummy. It also brings out a world of new flavors. When you chew your food, you start to really taste it. All the different flavor profiles and elements. Food becomes even more enjoyable, and you start to appreciate the finer details in life.
Eat until 75 percent full
Yup, that’s right. Eat until you are 75% full, or when you get to that stage in the meal where you’re satisfied but there is still room in your stomach to eat more. Yeah, that’s a pretty great place to stop. Why? Because your brain is a little behind. So when your brain gets the signal that you’re 75% full, your stomach has already reached the full capacity. Still not sure? Then take a small break. Eat until the point of satisfaction, sit back and take a few deep breaths (see the brief breathing exercise above). This gives you time to let your brain catch up to your stomach. If you still feel hungry after the small break, then eat more – a little at a time.
Rest after meals
Resting is important. Allow your body to do all the hard work, don’t just jump back into your hectic life. Resting doesn’t mean taking a nap but rather sitting somewhere calm. Maybe listen to some soothing music or watch something on T.V. Read a few pages of a good book. Or sit outside in the sun and find shapes in the clouds. Allow your body to slowly transition back to your regular routine.
Allow food to digest before eating again
Or in other words, only eat when you’re hungry. We have a tendency to eat as a habit – at certain times of the day, doing certain activities, or while experiencing certain emotions. However, if you limit to eating your meals as and when you feel hungry, you cut out eating any excess foods. You have less of a chance of overwhelming your digestive system and your food can be digested easily. Happy digestion means a happy you!
Nature is brilliant. Seasonal eating is ideal because nature knows exactly the kind of foods you need to keep your body preforming at its best. For example, root vegetables tend to be in season during the fall and winter – right when your body could use the extra starch and warmth. In the summer we see an abundance of berries and sweet fruit – to balance out the heat. Another perk of seasonal eating is that you never get satiated. When the seasons start to change, your diet changes. That means new foods, foods that you haven’t had for months! Seasonal eating is pretty exciting and kind of like a mini adventure.
An Ayurveda counselor or practitioner can help you work through any hardships you have implementing these eating habits into your life. They will also be able to help cater a routine that meets your specific needs, lifestyle schedule, and daily schedule.