For many, mealtimes are no longer rituals that invite you to slow down and enjoy food in the company of loved ones.
Instead, meals are a true reflection of our fast-paced multitasking society – rushed, unfocused, and filled with negative thoughts. The focus has shifted to quick fixes, like takeout and processed foods, and this shift has a negative impact on overall health and well-being.
The effect your diet has on overall health should not be underestimated, and is one important way to help support your immune system against viruses and other types of infection.
Food is supposed to nourish, strengthen, and heal.
As Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine once wisely stated, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food“. Taking the time to reconnect with the ritual of mealtime and to focus on food while we are eating it is a great step toward better health. Simply relaxing and focusing on your food can have tremendous positive health benefits.
Struggling to wrap your mind around this concept? Unsure of where to start?
We did the homework for you. Here are 7 key steps you need to take to improve your mealtime habits:
- Practice gratitude. Being thankful in general has shown to have immense benefits for your health. Practicing gratitude for your meal also has equally positive benefits. It is the first step of honing your focus in on your meal and calming down, changing your mindset to that of digestion. Being thankful for your meals can really help you appreciate the taste and nourishment of your food to a higher degree.
- Chew your food. This seems simple enough, but few of us actually do enough of it. Digestion begins in the mouth where our teeth mechanically break down large food particles into smaller ones, and our saliva begins the process of further breaking down food into particles that can be absorbed by our gut. Chew your food until it’s a paste – it should be more liquid than solid to help the digestion process.
- Don’t drink ice cold water with meals. Cold temperatures delay your digestion. Especially in cold months, we want to focus on warm, cooked foods to help rev up your gut to get digesting. Drinking cold water can freeze up your gut and slow digestion, leaving food feeling heavy and sluggish.
- Take time off to eat. Stop multitasking, even at work. Especially at work. Turn off your computer monitor, turn your phone to silent, stop working, and just eat. Take fifteen minutes to focus solely on the task of eating. Trust us, it’s worth it. You’ll feel better, and when you feel better, you can be more productive after you eat.
- Focus on your food. Ever noticed how easy it is to eat an entire box of cookies in front of the television without even realizing it? That’s because you weren’t focusing on the task at hand: eating. Be mindful of the smell, flavour, and texture of your food. You’ll feel more satisfied with your meal. Avoid watching TV with meals, as it can distract you from your meal. The bright colours of cartoons, the intensity of action, the fear from thrillers – all of these actions will prevent your body from fully focusing on digesting.
- Try to eat at the same time every day. Having regular mealtimes will keep your blood levels more steady, which helps control cravings and keeps energy levels consistent. Eating at the same time everyday also lets your body anticipate meals and prepare for the task of digestion, making it more efficient.
- Stop eating when you feel satisfied, not stuffed. Many of us as kids were taught to clean our plates, even if we were full. We need to retrain ourselves to stop eating when we no longer feel hungry. Eastern traditions dating back to Confucius suggest eating only until you feel approximately 80% full. You’ll feel satisfied and no longer hungry, but won’t feel the unpleasant sleepy side effects of overeating.
Working on these 7 steps will send you on a more positive journey with food. Nourishing your body is the most important when fighting HPV. Without proper digestion, your body will never have the fuel it needs to support your immune system.
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