• Karen Murray Heffron

Does Eating Ever Come to Mind?

So many of us eat on the run, it’s no wonder we have digestive problems. Working full-time, I’m just as guilty. It’s so easy to grab something on the go with my kid and dog responsibilities. There are many problems with this intention. Food can only digest in a “parasympathetic state.” Let's take a trip back to high school biology: We spend all our time in either a sympathetic or parasympathetic state. Sympathetic means fight or flight. Our hormone cortisol mobilizes sugar and shunts blood away from the digestive tract to the muscles to physically run away or fight the danger. Unfortunately, this response occurs whether you truly are in danger or worried about the news, feeling bad about what you’re about to eat, or running around ragged. When this system is working, our taste buds become dull – who would want to crave chocolate when escaping from a tiger? With mindless eating, we could down anything without batting a eyelash. My teacher spoke of a doctor who would grab an Egg Mcmuffin on his way to work. He was told to take an extra 20 minutes and eat the Egg Mcmuffin slowly to savor every bite. When he returned for his session, he told my teacher when he slowed down, he realized he didn’t really like Egg Mcmuffins! Next time you eat a meal, try taking some deep breaths before eating, eat slowly, and pay attention to how it tastes and how you feel during and after the meal. Do you feel nourished? Is the food really delicious or are you eating it out of habit? The more you see that a food isn’t serving you, the more likely you are to make a choice not to eat it next time. Awareness heals!

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