Did you know that your gut communicates with your brain? There definitely exists within us a “gut-brain connection”, which is largely responsible for the gut-feeling we often get, or most people often talk about. Sometimes, however, our habits get in the way of allowing our guts to properly speak to our brains.
One the biggest habits that affect our gut-brain communication is the food we eat since, after all, food goes directly into our gut. When we eat foods that are not so good for us, communication is inhibited between the two and the resulting feelings can vary. Some people experience brain fog, a change in their mood, trouble focusing, or feeling down/depressed. Most people don’t realize it, but the food is medicine and what put into our bodies is constantly feeding our brains—and it’s not just the kinds of foods you are eating, but when and how much.
For example, a dairy-filled ice cream cone. At the moment, eating this type of food can feel extremely satisfying. But for most, especially those with unknown dairy sensitivities, 20 minutes post-ice cream cone can feel nothing short of literally gut-wrenching. Same example, but pretend this time you had an ice cream cone, a pretzel, and a slice of pizza in the span of one hour (sounds like a day at the fair). Your stomach may be full and uncomfortable, and you might ask yourself why you ate so much. Soon, you feel sluggish and tired.
It’s more than easy to mindless eat in the modern day—with busy lives, hectic schedules, and the temptation of unhealthy food in pretty, convenient packaging. But, if you learn to apply mindfulness to eating, and pay attention to your various eating habits (what, when and how much), you will notice the type of food, amount, and eating times that make you feel like your optimal self, versus when you do not.
I personally went years (and still have moments) where I was eating relatively healthy, but the amount and timing were wrong, or even the type of healthy foods was wrong. It took me quite a while to learn to link my eating to how I was feeling. It wasn’t until I was exposed to “mindful eating” that I began to take notice of how foods were affecting me and making me feel, or how eating too late or too much made me feel pretty downright bad. Now, I pay attention to what I am eating, when and how much. As a result, I eat a plant-based diet with very minimal dairy, am mindful of my portions, and try to not eat past 6 p.m. (this one gets hard on weekends and with a husband who eats dinner late).
If you suffer from an upset stomach, lethargy, moodiness or discomfort following a meal, maybe it’s time you become more mindful of your eating habits.
Below are 3 tips to incorporate mindful eating into your life, for a happier and more vibrant you.
1) See, Smell, and Save Your Food
See and smell your food. In doing so, acknowledge, just very briefly, where this food came from. Acknowledge the time and energy that went into preparing it (when by you, or someone else). Then, take small bites and chew slowly so you can really taste your food. It’s amazing the flavors you’ll notice when you eat slowly instead of scarfing down your food. Because you have to eat, you might as well eat foods that keep your metabolism at its peak. We’re rounding up 15 of the best metabolism-boosting foods you can add to your grocery list. Read on to find out what they are.
2) Stop When You’re ¾ Full
This one requires testing your body out and really learning to listen to your body. Even if you are not sure you are full, take a break for 15 minutes and if you’re still hungry, then eat a bit more. It takes about 15 minutes for our stomachs to tell our brains we are full, so wait a bit. Avoid eating until your pants don’t fit (unless it’s Thanksgiving), and you will feel much more energetic and just overall better.
3) Post Eating, Listen to Your Body
This tip, to me, is the most important. I went for years not realizing I was sensitive to many foods simply because I became accustomed to a stomach ache or discomfort after eating. I am not sure how it happened, but one day I began to feel how bad I felt after eating certain foods. If you do notice discomfort after a meal or snack, make a mental or actual note of what you ate, and notice if you feel the same next time you eat the same food(s). This may provide insight into a food sensitivity you had no idea you ever had, all because you trained your brain to ignore the feelings of discomfort. I hope you can try incorporating these 3 mindful eating tips when you have your next meal, and because you have to eat, you might as well eat foods that keep your metabolism and gut health at its peak— so I’m rounding up 15 of the best gut-boosting foods you can add to your grocery list.
Scroll through to check them out.
Next up, find out why castor oil may be even healthier for you thank you think.
When she’s not in a courtroom, mindfulness expert and attorney, Mona Tashroudian, shares her healthy living secrets in our “Ask a Mindfulness Expert” column. Check out Tashroudian’s blog, Mindfulness Law for more on how to find balance with your busy life and stay zen.