Are you digesting your food perfectly? Probably not.
Even if you don’t suffer from digestive complaints (and this is honestly more rare than not these days), you can always amp up your digestion. Optimal digestion is SO important because it’s the process that gives us the energy and vitality to be rockstar humans.
If I asked you to point to where digestion starts, would you point to your stomach?
Would make sense, but in fact, digestion starts in our MOUTHES with the process of thorough chewing and the releasing of *enzymes in our saliva (*enzymes are complex proteins that begin the process of breaking down your food).
Unfortunately, most of us are eating in ways that really work against optimal digestion, and we’re suffering because of it. If you eat while rushed, stressed, upset, driving, walking, looking at your phone, computer or TV or simply as a quick means to not keel over and die, you’re wreaking havoc on your digestive system and probably not getting as many nutrients from the food you’re eating.
Enter: Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is simply eating with intention and attention; eating with the intention of caring for yourself and eating with the attention necessary for noticing and enjoying your food and its effects on your body .
In our food-abundant culture, eating is often mindless, rushed and joyless. Mindful eating is an ancient mindfulness practice with profound modern implications and applications for better nourishing our bodies.
5 Mindful Eating Practices to Help You Digest and Enjoy Your Food
- Start small.
Choose one meal or snack each day and commit to focusing on mindful eating at that time. Stop multitasking at meal times. It’s really difficult to focus on eating (and consequently digestion and nutrient assimilation) if you’re doing other things. Set aside time for eating without other entertainment.
- Only eat at a table.
Another way to minimize mindless munching is to get into the habit of only eating when you are sitting down and able to give the food your full attention. No more snacking on the run.
- Appreciate the appearance.
While we’ve all drooled over gorgeous food in magazines or online, sometimes we forget about the beauty of the food we are about to eat. Taking the time to notice sets the scene for mindful eating. Focus on each mouthful. Think about the flavour, texture and even the sound of the food in your mouth. Focus on how much you like or dislike these sensations.
This one is HUGE and made a big difference for me. While it can be overkill to go to the extreme of (recommended) 50 bites per mouthful, make sure you chew your food enough so that it is well broken down before you swallow. Set a number between 30 and 50 and try to get there with every bite. This exercise will at least be an eye-opener to show you how insufficiently you probably actually chew before swallowing already, and that you need to work on it.
Remember, digestion starts in your mouth and your stomach doesn’t have teeth!
Use cutlery and put it down between mouthfuls. It’s much easier to take smaller portions when using a knife and fork.
- Talk and share.
One of the joys of eating is sharing a meal with loved ones. It can be challenging to incorporate mindfulness in a social situation but not impossible. Turn the focus of the conversation onto the meal while you are actually eating. Share what you are experiencing in terms of flavours and textures, likes and dislikes. At first this may seem a little weird but trust me, you’ll soon find yourself having fun with it.
If you find yourself eating alone a lot for whatever reason, that’s cool too. Put on some nice music while you enjoy your meal instead of scrolling through Instagram or watching Netflix, so you’re still present and focused on your food.
- Digestion is very important and deserves far more attention than we give it.
- You can improve your digestion with simple daily practices.
- Try to sit down for meals.
- Avoid eating in a distracted state.
- Make an effort to CHEW way more than you are. Way more. You’ll thank me.
Love your food and your body!
She is here to preach what she practices and help you to prepare amazing whole food meals from scratch, grow your own organic food and optimize your lifestyle and environment to promote the most vibrant, glowing and energetic you.
Laura is currently based in Dundas, Ontario, Canada but works remotely with people from all over the world!
Latest posts by Laura Franklin, CNP, CFMHC (see all)
- IG: Yepppp, it’s 🍲 season (that’s a soup if you were wondering).Soups are a great way to pack super nutritious plant goodies into a delicious masterpiece of scrumptiousness and to also make you feel cozy.They can also be VERY filling and satisfying.This is why I appreciate soups. I love using bone broth as a base to add steamed veg in a chunky concoction or for a creamy smooth texture, blending in veggies like, my all time favs, CAULIFLOWER which produces a surprisingly creamy treat for the palette.BONUS: add an anti-inflammatory punch to your soups by popping in turmeric (freshly grated or powdered), garlic, ginger or all 3 — these are warming spices that boost the immune system so are also great for this time of year 🙌🏼.If you’re like me and appreciate bacon, do yourself a favor and just go ahead and add some crumblies to the top of your blended veggie soup (bonus if you can get it from a pastured source). And maybe even some fresh green onions too, like I’ve done ⤴️The sky is the limit for soup, folks!Just make sure you’re adding enough GOOD SALT (Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt are great) and some GOOD FAT (extra virgin olive oil, ghee, avocado oil) to really pull out all those flavors.And that’s that for soup for today.𝗔𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗮 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗽𝗲𝗿? 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁’𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗳𝗮𝘃𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗽? [𝙻𝙸𝙽𝙺 𝙸𝙽 𝙿𝚁𝙾𝙵𝙸𝙻𝙴 𝚃𝙾 𝙼𝚈 𝚂𝙸𝙼𝙿𝙻𝙴, 𝙲𝙷𝙸𝙲𝙺𝙴𝙽 𝙱𝙾𝙽𝙴 𝙱𝚁𝙾𝚃𝙷 𝚁𝙴𝙲𝙸𝙿𝙴!] - November 27, 2019
- IG: 𝗗𝗢 𝗪𝗛𝗔𝗧 𝗬𝗢𝗨 𝗟𝗢𝗩𝗘 ⠀(𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘨𝘶𝘪𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘮𝘦)⠀⠀Guys–I’m so excited to share a recent interview I did on 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙇𝙞𝙛𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙮𝙡𝙚 𝙀𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙪𝙧 𝙋𝙤𝙙𝙘𝙖𝙨𝙩 with Michelle Risi (which can be found on all podcast platforms and is also linked in my profile!) ⠀⠀In this interview, 𝙄 𝙨𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙢𝙮 𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙖𝙡 𝙟𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙄’𝙫𝙚 𝙪𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙮 𝙜𝙪𝙞𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙥𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙞𝙥𝙡𝙚 𝙤𝙛 “𝘿𝙤 𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙇𝙤𝙫𝙚” 𝙩𝙤 𝙜𝙚𝙩 𝙢𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙄 𝙖𝙢 𝙩𝙤𝙙𝙖𝙮 (spoiler alert: I am currently doing what I LOVE).⠀⠀As a multi-passionate serial entrepreneur, I have faced some challenges (like imposter syndrome) and also some really great wins (like my recent completion of FMCA’s Functional Medicine Health Coaching program and the new company that I co-founded, @HealthUpgraded)! ⠀⠀I share my honest journey, what I’ve learned along the way, and more on the interview – and I can’t wait for you to check it out! ⠀⠀Have a listen and let me know what you think🙏🏼.⠀⠀PODCAST EPISODE LINK IN MY PROFILE - November 26, 2019
- IG: When you think back to what you ate today, yesterday, three weeks ago or even last year, how different is the food on your plate?Some people naturally include a wide range of diverse food when choosing their meals, but for many of us, it’s easy to fall into a trap of eating the same foods daily.By eating a varied diet, you’re more likely to ensure that you consume adequate amounts of all essential nutrients. This not only reduces the risk of nutritional deficiencies, but it also provides numerous health benefits, like:𝟭. 𝗔 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗲𝗿 𝗚𝘂𝘁The gut microbiome is incredibly important to your overall health, and it’s best to have a varied population. The best way to achieve this variety in the gut? Eat a diet filled with assorted foods.𝟮. 𝗟𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿 𝗥𝗶𝘀𝗸 𝗼𝗳 𝗙𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗔𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗿𝗴𝘆 & 𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲When you eat the same food again and again, you increase your risk of developing a food intolerance or allergy to that food. Researchers determined that a decrease in food diversity at 6 and 12 months of age had an association with hay fever & asthma. Another study found that infants who ate a diverse diet rich in veg & fruit, as well as meals prepared at home, had fewer incidences of food allergies compared to children who consumed a less diverse diet.𝟯. 𝗡𝘂𝘁𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗦𝘆𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗴𝘆Numerous studies reviewing high intake of fruits & vegetables find correlated health benefits, including preventing heart disease & cancer. When you consume a variety of food, you gain from thousands of phytonutrients acting together to provide you with many advantages to your health, some of which have yet to be identified.𝟰. 𝗥𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝗜𝗻𝗳𝗹𝗮𝗺𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻Inflammation is associated with several chronic illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease. One study found that a variety of fruit & vegetable intake was inversely associated with lower amounts of the inflammatory biomarker, C-reactive protein. In this study, 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘶𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘺.Wondering what’s in my hand? They’re West Indian Raspberries I foraged in Hawaii! - November 25, 2019