National Nutrition Month: Tip 5 - Mindfulness

The world nowadays is a pretty hectic place. Our to do lists get longer, our stress levels get higher and it seems like there's just not enough time in the day.

With little time for the tasks we need to complete, eating properly falls to the wayside. Digestion is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system which essentially controls all your "rest and digest" functions.

Think metabolism, memory, learning, sleep and DIGESTION aka how well you break down and absorb nutrients.

When we prioritize everything else and eat on the go or just don't eat at all, our stress response takes over and digestion becomes impaired. Meaning, it slows way down and your utilization of nutrients decreases.

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. Eating shouldn't take up much of your day, but when you do eat its better to be in a calm state of mind to ensure your digestion and your perception of the act of eating isn't disrupted.

Food is sustenance that allows us to stay energized, focused and complete all those tasks on our to do lists. So it makes sense that we should take the time to eat properly and mindfully so we can be as efficient as possible.

Heres how you can start...

1. Find a place to sit (not stand) when you're ready to have a meal.

2. Take 3 deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth.

3. Show gratitude toward yourself and for the food you're about to eat through prayer or just through thought.

4. Once you feel you're in a calm state, enjoy your meal or snack and make sure you're chewing thoroughly. If you find yourself getting into a stressed state again, stop eating, accept the thoughts that are coming, then begin to eat again.

I know, I know it seems silly to put effort toward eating, but our way of life has become so stressful and anxiety provoking that being calm is no longer the norm.

Eventually, once you stay consistent with this technique, you'll notice it will take no time at all to get into a relaxed state during a meal or snack. This can also improve your relationship with food and perceive it as sustenance and not a hassle!

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