Chew on this...

by Rissa C. Gimenez

Did you know that it’s not just WHAT you eat, but HOW you eat that makes mealtime a truly healthy experience?

We may be eating the healthiest food but our bodies may not be assimilating it correctly. Poor assimilation of food can lead to many illnesses from headaches, fatigue, weight-gain and irritable bowel movement.

Here are 9 simple steps to help you make sure you eat properly and ensure proper digestion that will leave you with more energy, healthier, calmer and happier.

1. Don’t eat all your three meals—in one sitting. During mealtime, put enough food on your plate. A rule of thumb is, the size of your entire meal must be the size of your fist, since your clenched fist is also the size of your stomach. Eat small frequent meals to avoid getting over-hungry and stuffing yourself blue.

2. Chew slowly. Saliva contains predigestive juices that start breaking down the starchy food before it reaches our stomach. Swallowing food fails to break it up properly and becomes harder for us to digest and will not be absorbed well.

3. Don’t drink water with meals. Water dilutes the digestive juices. So drink your water after your meals. But do drink lots of water each day (recommended 8 glasses to 1 liter) to dilute toxins and expel them through the kidneys easily.

4. Dine by the river. Choose restaurants and café’s that have calm and relaxing views and atmospheres. Select eating places that are not too crowded with well-managed seating areas. Avoid places with loud music and noise.

5. Eat calmly. Never eat when in a huff, or in anger. Shake off a situation that upsets you first before having a meal. Light a candle for a tranquil candlelight dinner even if you are alone, or play soothing music before picking up your fork.

6. Avoid “working” lunches. Meetings over lunch put your mind on super-drive. Instead of your stomach, it’s your brain does the digesting. If you have to meet colleagues or clients over lunch, take light bites first then carry-on discussions over coffee or tea.

7. Eat leisurely. Eating on the go while driving, or on the run and in a hurry must come to a full stop. When adrenaline raises the blood pressure and quickens the heart, breaking down foodstuff in the body becomes inefficient.

8. Put your laptop to sleep. We love to multi-task but eating in front of the computer is never a good idea. Besides getting crumbs in between your keys and mayonnaise on your mouse, it’s your word processor that does the processing and hardly your digestive system.

9. Flavor your dishes with light and healthy alternatives. Instead of salting and adding heavy sauces to your meals, spice it up with herbs, spices and of course seaweed. Light flavorings are kinder to your stomach. Check out our seaweed recipes to find out how to add zing to your dishes.