Daily living in a modern society can be busy. Within the course of one morning, it is easy to over commit and find oneself rushing to get from A to B, to get the school lunches ready for the day, to prepare your own lunch, to have the time to sit, meditate, exercise, drink your warm water, have a shower, make your breakfast, eat your breakfast, decide what you will wear, brush your teeth and finally get out the door.
Deep breath, that is an active morning!
So your morning might not look quite like that and may have it’s own unique features.
It is common that our lives have become busier than the ‘olden days’. Technology has streamlined many activities and tasks as well as enabled us to be more productive and in general, ‘do more’.
This can be a great blessing. This can also be a good time to remember the value of having time to sit, be still and savour the moments that make up your day.
When we get ‘busy’ simple activities like eating can become restricted to a certain amount of time. Look at the clock, five minutes to eat breakfast. Gulp, gulp, gulp, out the door!
We start to inhale our breakfast, rather than sit and CHEW what it is we are taking in.
It is admirable to make sure that breakfast is eaten, however the stress involved with rushing can create your digestive system to tense, your mind to become anxious and your nervous system to be in flight or fight mode, rather than rest and digest.
With this response in your body, digestion can become heavy and imbalances can start to occur.
It is at times like this that stopping and taking five conscious breaths into your belly can help the nervous system to calm down, relax and rebalance.
This could be where saying ‘grace’ before a meal once came from. The act of sitting still for a moment to centre your mind and body, gives gratitude to the energy and life that has gone into your meal as well as calms the body, so that when you take your first bite, you are present, centered and able to digest your meal properly.
Chewing is one of the first stages of digestion. Through this process, signals are sent to the organs of digestion to release enzymes, acids and juices that are needed for proper assimilation and elimination of the meal you are eating. This leads to peaceful digestion and nourishment of the cells and tissues in your body.
Like our physical digestion, we have mental digestion, which requires the same amount of mindfulness to keep the system clear and peaceful. When we are busy and miss out on time to eat our meals in a peaceful way, we also miss out on being able to digest our thoughts, feelings and emotions properly, which can lead to clogging of the channels and mental ‘indigestion’.
Here is a simple mantra to keep in mind for creating peace with-in and peace with-out…
Rather than trying to DO more, CHEW more.
When we take the time to really chew our meal, or chew our thoughts… a profound sense of inner peace and relaxation comes about, as we have given our mind’s and bodies the space they need to assimilate, transform and eliminate what we have put in.
Next time you sit down for your meal try the follwing:
- Take a moment to give thanks for the food and the energy from others and yourself that has gone into bringing it to your table. This will calm and centre your mind and body, bringing you into the present moment.
- Take one mouthful at a time and enjoy the process of chewing, allowing the mouthful to become smooth and broken down into a paste. This will streamline the job of your stomach and intestines, allowing the enzymes and acids to mix easily with the food and digestion to be peaceful.
- As you enjoy each mouthful, be aware of the various tastes and textures of what you are eating. It takes the brain 20 minutes to realize that you are full when you are eating. By chewing your food properly, the brain has more time to tell you when you are full, before you get full. This can help prevent over-eating, which can burden your digestive system and leave you feeling heavy.
- Chewing can be a meditation. Chew your thoughts in the same way, through taking some deep breaths, giving gratitude and sitting still with yourself, allowing any undigested thoughts, feeling or emotions to come to the surface and then dissolve with your awareness.
Through chewing our food, thoughts, feelings and emotions with a greater sense of mindfulness, we relax the nervous system, digestive system and mind. This removes blockages on the physical or emotional level that could prevent proper nourishment from coming into our bodies and allows for true nourishment from the inside out.
Chew chew chew, for peace within and without. x
According to Ayurvedic medicine it is best to shower before eating, rather than after.
When we eat, our blood goes to the stomach and centre of our body for digestion to take place. When we shower, through the pressure of the water and the temperature, blood is directed back out to the extremities, distracting the body from it’s task of digestion.
For smooth, easy, sound digestion try showering before breakfast or dinner and see if you can notice a difference.
It becomes a nice ritual, to cleanse and purify the body, then enjoy nourishing it with your wholesome food! A simple alteration that can make a big difference to the effectiveness of your digestion over time.
It feels so good to be fresh and sparkly before eating and you will smell lovely for your own company or those who you will be sharing your meal with.
To happy eating & healthy digestion! x
“Only eat what you can digest”. ~Jayadharma