House Call Newsletter: Health News You Can Use

Eating Food to Nourish This Holiday Season
Vol. 12.1.8

With the holiday season in full swing, I want to talk about using a different mindset when thinking of food. Instead of eating foods to indulge or gorge ourselves, why not eat foods to nourish ourselves during this hectic time of year? Your health and your waistline will thank you for it in January 2009!

FOOD: EATING TO NOURISH

Food is what fuels our bodies, it is nourishment. To nourish means to feed or sustain with substances necessary for life and growth. With our present day lifestyles, some of us hardly make the effort to nourish ourselves.

We all have different nutritional needs and desires when it comes to food. The process of eating is an experience of the senses. It is best when both enjoyable and nourishing. Food needs to be balanced and thought of as nourishing not just as part of our daily routine.

Considerations concerning different aspects of food and eating...

Attitude: How we feel and think about food and eating play a major role in how the food will or will not affect our bodies. Some people use food to get through rough times. Some people use meal time or a snack for a regrouping of thoughts or enjoying someone's company.

Eating is a time to explore the senses of taste, smell, feeling, and vision. Learn to experience those sensations without feeling the need for gorging or pushing food away. This holiday season is a time to reassess your attitudes and habits about eating and food.

Diet: Food is best when balanced and varied. Include fish, meat, poultry, and/or vegetable protein, fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, legumes, and plenty of liquids, preferably nonalcoholic.

Shopping: This is also an experience for your senses. Don't do your shopping in haste, especially when making changes in your eating habits. Buy and eat foods that are as fresh as possible. Look for crisp vegetables that are rich in color and look alive. Find nuts that haven't been exposed to open air too long. Check dates on meats for freshness. Quality is the key, and what may cost more may not necessarily be best or better.

Time: Time taken to do minor preparation stimulates the palate and helps the appreciation for eating. Frozen and microwavable foods do not stimulate this process.

We all have different internal clocks to eat by. It is best not to go too long a time without eating (unless fasting). Our bodies give us signs when we need to take in food: Headache, dizziness, decreased concentration, tiredness, clumsiness, irritability, and/or 'spaciness'.

It is more beneficial to eat in a sitting position rather than eating on the run. The body produces many responses. Of those, 'flight' and 'nonflight' are the two major responses. Digestion of food takes place in the 'nonflight' phase.

Gaining weight or losing weight can't take place if the food isn't digested and utilized properly. You may need to make some changes, i.e., getting up earlier. Meal times are ideally a time of calm, not a time for family arguments, business transactions, or school work. These types of actions have the tendency to cause tenseness, a 'flight' state. Keep a record of how you are feeling in relation to the food you have eaten.

Cooking/preparing: Food will not taste good if it is under or over cooked. Some people may feel comfortable with food heaped on the plate, others may like things more separate and pleasing to look at. One's attitude when cooking affects how the food tastes. People don't have to be gourmet cooks to take the care needed to prepare and cook food for the body and spirit.

Eating: Food must be chewed thoroughly and it helps to start with small bites. The chewing process causes the release of saliva and enzymes in the mouth which mix with the food and stimulate enzymes and HCL (hydrocholric acid) in the stomach. This action then stimulates release of other enzymes. Chewing well decreases the break down time of the food particles, decreasing the work load on the body, making it more efficient getting the nutrients to where they are needed.

After eating: It's best not to do heavy exercise or sleep after eating. Walking or light activity allows for the digestive system to work. When one is on a fast pace, 'flight' phase, the blood that should be present for digesting food is required elsewhere.

Apply the above information this holiday season when eating to nourish yourself!

To Your Optimal Health,


P. S. For more information on diet and eating, order a copy of my latest book, House Call: How Ordinary People Have Extraordinary Health. The book is full of effective advice for losing weight and eating healthy!

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Copyright © 2008 Melissa M. Dawahare, ND, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.