Nutrition Wellness

Food Rules: Understanding Fuel and Fire

Controlling how we eat…

When it comes to nourishing our body, how we eat is as important as what we eat. As a culture, we have replaced family dinners with food on the go.  Today, 20% of all American meals are eaten in the car and at least 1 in 4 people eat some type of fast food every day. 53% of breakfasts are eaten alone. Sound familiar? If so, you are not (technically) alone.

To get the most nourishment out of your meal, it is important to sit down with the intention of eating in a relaxed and present manner. Take time to notice what you’re eating. More mindful eating can be accomplished by engaging all of your senses while chewing your food fully. Avoid the temptation to rush away from the table or multitask during mealtime. If possible, it’s advisable to have the main meal in the middle of the day when your digestive fire is at its peak.

When using your senses fully, they will also let you know when you are full. This will allow you to satisfy your hunger while not indulging cravings or eating more out of habit. It helps to have regular meal times so you don’t get overly hungry and to stop eating when you’re about 80% full.

It’s equally important to give enough time for the previous meal to have been fully digested before eating your next meal. Observing a 12-hour fast will allow the digested nutrients to be assimilated in your body. This fasting time normally happens when our digestive fire is low, at night. Fasting from 7 PM to 7 AM usually works well with our natural body rhythms.


Controlling how much we eat…

If you learn these tricks, you’ll be winning the battle, but not necessarily the war. It’s also important to consider how much you eat. Many ancient whole health systems and traditional wisdom encourage that you stop eating when you’re 75% – 80% full. Some ways to help you do this are to serve a portion of your food and then store the rest if there are any leftovers before consuming your first portion.

It’s also helpful to use smaller dishes. The choice between a 10 and 12-inch plate can greatly impact food consumption. Research by Professor Brian Wansink from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab found that reducing plate size from 12 inches to 10 inches typically results in less calories being served and the perception that the serving was more filling.

Also, eating when seated, eating slowly and consuming food earlier in the day can help to limit intake. The focus on eating more fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber can reduce the amount consumed and also beings are a fairly nutrient dense but calorie light option that can increase you’re feeling of fullness.

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