5 Reasons to Be More Mindful With Food:
Mindful eating is the taking time to eat your food slowly, to be present without distraction and to savor, enjoy and taste your food. It seems like everyone everywhere is touting the major benefits of “Mindful Eating”, but neglecting to explain how and why we should be more mindful while eating. So, let me break it down for you.
1. Give your hormones a chance to do their job: Hormones are our long-range messengers, right? Which mean they take time to get their messages to other parts of our bodies. Two hormones control our hunger and fullness: Ghrelin (hunger – think growling ghrelin) and Leptin (fullness – I don’t have a fun phrase for this…suggest one below!). These hormones take time to operate, so usually when your stomach is growling the hunger hormone was sent a while ago. And when you’re full it can take up to 20 minutes for Leptin to get to the brain to stop your hunger. So, taking time will help you connect with your fullness better.
2. Stress Response shuts down digestion: When we eat fast our bodies perceive it as a stressful event. Think about it. Suddenly, it is forced to breakdown, assimilate and discard all that food quickly. So, when you eat a whole meal in 5 minutes it freaks out a little. And sadly, due to evolution, stress turns off our digestion. Traditionally, stress (or the fight or flight response) required us to flee, no one need to be worried about digestion when they’re running for their lives.
3. Digestion involves all your senses: You know how you salivate when you smell something delicious? That’s actually your digestion turning on. This is call the “cephalic phase” of digestion – meaning the head phase. Taking the time to prime your digestion has been proven to make your body more effective at digesting! It has also been shown that taking the time to make your meal look pretty helps too!
4. Multitasking is a myth: There have been several studies explaining that people actually don’t multitask well. People feel busier and more productive, but they are not, and the quality of their work suffers. This is the same while eating. If you are distracted, especially with engrossing television, your brain doesn’t digest your food as well.
5. Reconnect with your body’s signals and your loved ones: Slowing down has been shown to support not only your digestion, but your ability to detect the subtle cues from your body that tell you when you are satisfied with a meal. Food looses it deliciousness slowly throughout the meal and if you eat too fast you usually do notice. It is also a beautiful time to sit down with friends and family to share and reconnect.