Have you heard of Eating Hygiene?
This is referring to what is happening when you’re eating. Consider things like your environment, how fast you eat, how you cook the food and what you’re doing at the time of eating.
The objective here is to provide an opportunity to consider & honour internal hunger cues.
This involves eliminating distractions and dedicating meal times for mindful eating.
The reason this is important is that focusing on a good environment when you’re eating and being more present can help you slow down how quickly you eat which means you get full “properly” instead of scoffing down food and then waiting for your stomach signals to play catch up.
Digestion begins in the mouth with an enzyme called salivary amylase.
The enzyme is embedded in our saliva and when food enters the mouth it signals the release of amylase. To aid in optimal digestion, it is important to chew food 20-30X.
Typically, people chew 6X before swallowing their food. If food isn’t fully broken down in the chewing process, the other parts of our digestive tract have to work harder.
By not completely chewing our food, we are missing the first enzyme intended to break down food. This causes large, undigested food to enter the lower GI tract and can cause bloating, flatulence, and distention.
It takes about 20 minutes for your gut to signal to your brain that you’re full and reduce your sense of hunger.
Set a timer next time you sit down for a meal, you might be surprised by how short of time you eat.
An easy tip you can practice is putting my fork/spoon down in between bites.
Your body needs oxygen to function and believe it or not oxygen is needed to properly digest food, so taking time to breathe in between bites is a great idea!
This is also a good time to eliminate distractions.
Try and make your eating time exclusively that.
Instead of sitting on your phone and or watching TV, listen to a podcast and audiobook or some music while you eat and slow yourself down.
By eliminating distraction, you’ll also remember how good food actually tastes and get to savour it more and in doing that you will also be able to be better in tune with your hunger cues.
This will be a bit different at dinner time if you have family and you all sit at the table or you sit together and watch TV and eat, which is fine, we just want to try and focus on having a relaxing and non-distracting environment while eating WHEN it’s applicable.
SO IN SUMMARY …
Remove distractions, make sure you’re eating when you’re calm.
Chew 20 – 30 times each mouthful and put your fork/spoon down between meals.
Set a timer of at least 15 minutes to eat your meal.