Join Basmati.com every week for a Q&A session with one of Basmati’s practitioners, Melissa Hill (FDN-P)! We know that there is a lot of confusing information out there, which can make applying health advice overwhelming. Sometimes, it’s best to ask a practitioner directly, so each week we’ll cover a common health question!
Do you have a health question you’d like to ask? Write to us at editors [at] basmati [dot] com and your question could be chosen and featured in a future column!
Q. Is it really a problem that I eat fast and when I’m on the go? What is the best way for me to improve my digestion?
A. It turns out that one of the best ways to improve your digestion, and therefore your health, is to slow down! This seemingly simple concept can out-perform many supplements and support a positive shift in your metabolism. You might be eating the ‘healthiest’ food, but if you are eating in a rush or not chewing your food properly, you are setting yourself up for poor digestion and all the negative health consequences that follow…things like gas, bloating, indigestion, mal-absorption of nutrients, sluggish energy, brain fog, food sensitivities, bacterial overgrowth, and weight gain -- just to name a few! It all starts with digestion.
If you don’t take a moment to get yourself in the proper state of rest and digest before eating, you are less likely to gain the assets from the food you are consuming and more likely to have to deal with their potential liabilities. Don’t overwhelm your belly by just shoveling food down fast (pretending like it didn’t happen won’t bypass its effects on your body either, LOL). Try to chew until your food is liquid. Chewing your food well is key to help facilitate the breakdown of food and signal the body to get digestive enzymes up and ready for the food that is about to come down the hatch. This way, your body is primed to get the most out of each morsel, which means you get the most energy from your food with minimal waste.
In this way, you also can enjoy your food and really taste it. Make it a moment of mindfulness. After all, we aren’t just what we eat but what we absorb from what we eat. And it turns out, HOW you go about eating has the biggest influence on the efficiency of the whole process. My advice is to sit down, take a few deep breaths, take a moment and ponder what you are eating, how it got to you, where it came from. Develop a sense of gratitude for the food in front of you, as it is about to become you. Literally, the food you are consuming is going to be transformed through the digestive process into its smaller components and nutrients that you will either absorb and make use of in your body somewhere, or excrete that which is not useful or digestible to you.
This will actually start to change your relationship with food. If you have ever struggled with over-eating or strong cravings that have de-railed your good diet intentions in the past, then this is definitely a practice you should consider. It can be a total game changer – giving yourself the moment to assess how you are really feeling before just mindlessly or reactively eating. What are you really craving? Is it a physical or emotional craving? Giving yourself this time to look at your food choices, and why you might be choosing them, will give you the space to break those habitual tendencies and allow for more mindful eating that is in line with your true goals and desires. Slowing down to eat and chewing your food well can make a profound difference for your health and ability to lose weight.