How many of you thought that digestion began in the mouth?!
I remember as a kid growing up, I would inhale my meals without pause. My family would repeatedly remind me to slow down but I loved food so much that it went in one ear and out the other.
Well, if I knew then what I know now, I would have been a lot better off because as a kid I suffered from digestive issues all the way through high school and university. First year university was when I finally received an official diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I wasn’t a kid, but still, nothing made sense. It all makes sense now.
Rushing through my meals, improper chewing was very easily one factor that greatly contributed to my unhealthy gut.
Up until a few years ago, I believed that digestion began in the stomach. Then I learned that it began in the mouth and now I know it begins in the BRAIN! Yes, brain! Who knows what research will reveal a few more years from now.
The digestive system comprises the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine (colon) but did you know there are also accessory digestive organs ? These are outside of the digestive tract and include our teeth, tongue, salivary glands, gall bladder, pancreas and liver. Basically, the digestive tract begins in the mouth and ends at the anus but really begins somewhere else….
Here is the part you’ve been waiting to hear. Well first let me ask you this? How do you feel when you see food? Exactly! You tap into your senses and get ready to dive into that meal so even before that food goes into your mouth, any sound, sight, taste, odor that you associate with food can trigger your body to prepare for the arrival of the food. Your body “pumps up”. This is why it is so important to be relaxed while eating the food you are about to eat – known as ‘Mindful Eating’. If you’re stressed the body will not be able to focus on digestion. Being present with the food, bringing it close to your nose and taking an inhale, listening attentively to any sounds made will help prepare your body for digestion.
Interesting, isn’t it? So the next time you sit down for your meal before lifting that utensil, notice how your body feels. Our brain talks to our gut; our gut talks to our brain.
Eating mindfully can be a simple easy way to enhance our total digestive function so chew your food at least 30 times and avoid eating while stressed!!
Written by Tania Christina Scavone
Lipski, Elizabeth. Digestive Wellness 4th Edition, 2012.
We live in uncertainty every day of our lives. Why is now any different? Why is humanity in survival mode? Maybe we all have differing opinions on this but the one thing we can be certain of, is that most are leading with fear. We have the option to lead with love or fear everyday so why is this situation any different – a question I pose to my readers, loved ones, clients and students. We wake up each morning uncertain of what will unfold but continue on with our days. These days, we continue to wake up with this same uncertainty but we are living our days in a state of stress, anxiety and panic. When you wake up, you have somewhat of an idea or plan, if you will, of what will unfold throughout your day. You have meetings, daycare drop offs, school, lunch dates etc…but in an instant this can all change. Despite this you continue living your lives or for those with existing anxiety, you try your best.
This virus pandemic, according to Deepak Chopra is creating a fear pandemic for all and especially for those with existing anxiety.
As many of you know, I don’t watch the news on a regular basis. I watch when I really feel the need to be informed but then off it goes or I turn to a more reputable factual source online. Remember, the media is there to share a “story” and always has a way of making things appear worse than they are. This can have a direct effect on your mood. It’s happened to me; I’ve felt this closing of my chest, a sense of hopelessness, helplessness and utter misery as I am sure many of you have felt as well. I now know when to turn away and go inward to find that love, hope and faith.
When we lead with fear we are slowly shutting our immune system down and moving into that stressed ‘sympathetic’ nervous state which prepares the body for ‘Fight or Flight’ – which we have been seeing with the hoarding of toilet paper, canned goods and other items. There is no need to Fight or Flight because there are preventative measures being taken that I truly believe will help. If we are faced with a very hungry tiger, then you will have no choice but to respond with ‘Fight or Flight’ (good luck with the fighting part though). We are not at that stage! We can protect ourselves with physical distancing, good hygiene (which I hope is something we all HAVE been doing even prior to this outbreak), supporting our immune systems (probiotics, bone broth, nutrient dense food, medicinal mushrooms etc…) and keeping calm!!
Acknowledge your feelings without judgment. Pause. Take an inhale, exhale relax your shoulders. Repeat after me, “ From now on, I choose love over fear”.
Below are some ways you can begin to ease any worries, or anxieties and slowly move away from the fear and into the love, hope and faith
** Written by Tania Christina Scavone B.Ed; CNP; 200YTT