Shifting Paradigms in Nutrition: Intelligent Eating
HOW you eat is as important as WHAT you eat. A little voice in your head might say, "I know how to eat! Are you telling me that there is something wrong with gobbling my whole wheat, grilled vegetable, and nonfat turkey wrap while I'm merging on the highway?" or, "I’m trying to juggle my spoon into my low-fat, plain yogurt with my wet nail polish!" Exactly how many things can we do at the same time? "… but, if I get just one more thing done today, I can do five more things tomorrow!" It is insane! Eating while simultaneously doing other activities interferes with digestion and health.
We can make more conscious choices about what we eat today. But, will we remember the flavors and the consistency of our meal? How about the manner in which the food got from the plate into our stomach? Will we be aware of when we are full? Do we eat automatically because we know we should, or do we forget to eat all day and then eat the equivalent of three meals in one sitting at 10 p.m.? Well, well, well. Let's stop for a moment and take a deep breath. 1…2…3…4…, hold it. 1…2…3…4, and slowly breath out, 1…2…3…4. Where are we running to? If we don’t nourish our bodies properly, soon we will not have bodies with which to do all of these activities.
Believe it or not, by simply paying attention to the HOW part of eating, you will experience health benefits. You will experience satisfaction from what you eat, have more control over how much you eat, and may lose some undesired fat. And, you won't have to change a single thing in your diet! How easy is that? The question is, "are you willing to do it?" Is this something you dare to try as a New Year's resolution? Will you change your thinking and take this first step? Even if you pick one thing out of the following list, you are winning!
INTELLIGENT EATING HABITS
– Eat in a settled atmosphere
– Never eat when you are upset
– Always sit down to eat
– Schedule time for meals in your busy schedule
– Use utensils to eat
– Avoid ice cold and boiling hot foods and drinks
– Don't talk while chewing food
– Chew food into a puree before swallowing
– Swallow food completely before you put another bite into your mouth
– Eat at a moderate pace, neither too quickly nor too slowly
– Wait until one meal is digested before eating the next (i.e., intervals of two to four hours for light meals, four to six hours for large meals), or after overeating.
– Drink eight ounces of water or decaffeinated, sugar-free drinks, such as herbal teas, 15 minutes prior to a meal
– Sip room temperature water with your meal
– Eat freshly cooked meals and uncooked fruits and vegetables whenever possible
– Experience all six tastes at every meal—bitter, sweet, sour, salty, astringent (legumes), pungent (spicy)
– Leave one-third to one-fourth of your stomach empty to aid digestion—two handfuls of food is the approximate desired meal size
– Eat dinner by 7 p.m.
– Sit quietly for a few minutes after your meal
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