Eating a delicious meal is one of the greatest pleasures in life. The explosion of flavors, of herbs and spices combined, paired with a glass of wine, usually manages to make me calm and happy. Even the preparation of such a meal gets me excited, and I look forward to arranging the food on our plates, to set the table nicely. I envision the faces around the table, when my family tastes my new creation.
But how often do we eat in a rush? How often do you throw on your clothes, gather your things and grab a quick bite, before you hurry to work? How many times do you eat your lunch while working or running some errands? Did you know, that an increasing number of people eat their meals behind the wheel?
The problem here is this: eating should happen in a parasympathetic state. What does this mean? You should chillax before you start eating! You see, your digestion starts in your brain. And if you’re in a sympathetic state, meaning you are in your fight or flight mode, you cannot start your digestion properly. Yes, you’re functioning great, because you’re pumping plenty of blood into your muscles and brain, but you’re not pumping it into your digestive organs, and that’s bad news.
The quick and easy solution is to make a little more time for this most important time when you eat a meal. Before you eat, take a few deep breaths, slow down, relax!
Next, chew your food thoroughly. This is extremely important to let that salivary amylase start the digestion in your mouth. Set down your fork while you chew. Be aware of the taste of your food. Is it spicy, sweet, or salty? Can you taste the spices and herbs?
Don’t think you can get away from work? Come on, it’s not going to run away from you, if you leave your desk for even 15 minutes. Get rid of distractions that keep you from getting into that parasympathetic state. No phone, no TV, no computer… just you and your meal. Your work will be there for you upon your return. I promise. ;)
Really, do yourself this very important favor. Your body is going to thank you for it. I’m not telling you to meditate in front of a full moon. But a few deep breaths and some happy thoughts will go a long way.