Anyone familiar with Marc David's concepts around the psychology of eating? I just finished a webinar of his, and I must say I'm intrigued. One of his primary concepts is that it is as much HOW one eats as much as WHAT one eats that relates to digestion and health.
He talks a lot about the cephalic phase of digestion, and suggests that our typical practice of inhaling food quickly interferes with our ability to digest and assimilate food.
I find this intriguing for two reasons. One, I see that this potentially ties into the whole concept of food reward, because if you eat typical SAD food quickly, perhaps there is an issue with it not "registering" ... whether in terms of nutrients or satiety etc.
Two, I think it's relevant wrt our evolutionary past. Grok didn't inhale his food nor did he multi-task his meals with lots of other activities. Sitting down and just eating? Yikes. Perish the thought!
What say you PHers? Is mindful eating something you spend any time or energy on?
I think the "how" of eating is more related to being angry, stressed out, or in a hurry around the eating period -- a little before, during, and a little after. The GI/digestive system is intimately linked with our brains (in fact, some call the GI tract "the second brain"...there's a book about it.) It's the enteric nervous system. Our mental state when we eat can powerfully affect our digestion -- decrease or suppress stomach acid, inhibit peristalsis (physical movement of food through the system), etc. (Why do we think digestive issues are so closely linked to psychological feelings: "butterflies in the stomach" when we're nervous, and a lot of people get GI effects from nerves or fear -- constipation, diarrhea...depends on the person how they react.)
I'm amazed by what I see at work on a typical day -- people scarfing down "food" (and I do use the term loosely) at their desks in front of their computers, then hurrying off to meetings. (And invariably popping antacids or something later on!)
You'd be surprised at what just slowing down can do for digestion. (Relax the sympathetic nervous system and engage the parasympathetic. Kill the "fight or fight" and allow the "rest and digest" to take over.) You'd also be amazed at what CHEWING sufficiently can do! I'm shocked at how quickly some people eat. No wonder their bodies have such a hard time breaking down food...chewing is the first step. The better you do that, the more surface area you give your digestive enzymes to work.
(Sorry...probably WAY more than you wanted to hear!)
P.S. And I didn't even address the issue of over-anxiety some people feel about a little exposure to regular ol' salad dressing or grain-fed steak at a restaurant. (Sometimes the stress about that can be worse than the consequences of just eating the food, if you ask me.)
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