Updated: Jan 28
Eating keeps us alive. We have to eat and eat well so that we function every day of our lives. It has always been a requirement that a lot of us love! It has the potential to nourish our mind and body, yet it can cause disease, illness and death if abused (1). Intelligent fasting can also have a healing and cleansing effect on the body, sometimes providing more health benefits than the vitamins and minerals provided by food and drink; I will write about fasting in more detail in another post. Let us get to the heart of what happens when we make certain choices.
Have A Feast
Food is central to many social events where buying, preparing, serving and celebrating increase the enjoyment, satisfaction and overall experience (2). This is partly because the body has had ample time to prepare for the food which serves to replenish and fulfil us.
Knowledge Is Power
Within the digestive system the interaction between muscles, organs and other vessels is beautiful. If correctly programmed, our internal system should always run efficiently. Most people forget the eyes, hands and even your nose can come in contact with your meal before food and/or drink enters your mouth.
Looking At Food
Looking or simply thinking about nutrition can kick-start the digestive system. After the sight and discussion of food, food is placed into the mouth and the hands often touch the surface of whatever it is you are eating or drinking, this further eases digestion .
Senses In Your Mouth
Glands in the mouth moisten food and start to digest carbs if they are present in the foods you have eaten recently. The teeth sense food as well as grind it. The tongue moves food and sends signals to the brain. The throat allows food into the oesophagus which carries chewed food to the stomach. The stomach continues to digest the food before it moves into the small intestine where 90% of the nutrients are absorbed. Without going into more detail, the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, large intestine and anal canal complete the lengthy ordeal.
Food Glorious Food
Losing awareness of food has negative consequences; chewing gum, for example, results in the stomach pumping out hydrochloric acid to breakdown food, but when nothing enters the stomach, the acid can cause irreversible damage.
Factors Affecting Your Food
Rushing from a to b, being in a stressful environment and allowing distractions to take control during meal times are all contributing factors which remove the peace, enjoyment, satisfaction and comfort food can give us (3). Instead, one becomes less able to recognise flavours and textures of the food they are eating. It is important to sense how food and drink makes you feel before, during and after consumption (4). Portion sizes also tend to become larger and less controlled (5). Eating this way does not benefit us as much and can actually be damaging if one eats when stressed as the body does not digest or clear sugar effectively. It should remain one of the few precious moments where we can sit down with co-workers, friends or family (it is fine to enjoy food alone from time to time) and embrace the pleasure food provides us with without allowing ourselves to become ignorant of what we are eating and how we are eating it or glued to technology during these periods or.
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The Effect On Your Brain
Fat gain, brain fog and poor sleep quality are three of many devastating side effects of this unhealthy pattern. Think of the brain as a General, screeching orders through the ranks to ensure things run like clockwork. If the General sent confusing orders, the effect would be similar to that of Chinese whispers; by the time the message reached the intended target no-one would have a clue what to do. The human body is the same, faulty signalling from unhealthy habits and unhealthy food leads to changes which can compromise health (6). Everyone is at risk especially children, the elderly and pregnant women.
It is important to fully immerse yourself in whatever you are doing whether it is eating, fasting, exercising, sleeping or working, in order to appreciate each of them.
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Related post: What Should We Be Eating
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Co-founder of 'The Evolved Way', and experienced personal trainer, Samson practices what he preaches. His own healthy lifestyle, which informs this site, is based on understanding the right way to eat and exercise, not excluding of course going out and enjoying life knowing you can still feel and look good.
John Maitland is the co-founder of 'The Evolved Way.’ A personal trainer with over 10 years’ experience, he has worked alongside a wide range of leading CEOs, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. John is a keen athlete and holds a black belt in Shaolin Kung fu. A fan of the great outdoors, he can often be found exploring the British countryside and mountains...or breaking pine boards with his fingers.