Page Two From Kripalu

There is more to life than increasing its speed.  -Mohandas K. Gandhi

Crunchy salad with Kripalu house dressing

As I mentioned before, I just got back from a few days at Kripalu. I learned a lot about how food and our eating habits can affect us. I’m not an expert at all but some of the info has helped me see things in a new light. 

Raw jicama salad with other good veggie stuff

Throughout history there has been a separation between science and religion which has led to a separation in the way we think of mind and body, but now we know everything is connected. The nutritionists at Kripalu explained that digestion starts before the food enters our mouths. It’s called cephalic eating and refers to the smell, sight and anticipation that comes before we touch our food. They also reminded us that we live in a fast paced society, and that sometimes (most of the time) we eat too fast and don’t really enjoy our meals. In Ayurveda it is suggested to chew each bite 30-40 times. I tried it out at lunch. It took me 30 minutes to eat and my jaw was tired. It goes back to the French paradox. Chewing each bite thoroughly is part of a healthy digestion process. The saliva coats the food and helps it move through the digestive tract easily. It’s something I can definitely work on. 

Moroccan interpretation: baba ganouj, pita chips, tagine, swiss chard and millet

We also discussed stress and how it relates to digestion. The enteric nervous system in the gut is called the “second brain”. There are more nerve endings there than the central nervous system.

Basically the gut holds our stress. Have you ever been so stressed about something that you had stomach pain or threw up? Our gut can’t handle stress and digest food properly at the same time, so it might do one or the other. The key to great digestion (and the absorption of nutrients) is stress reduction. That’s where yoga and meditation can come in. These ancient practices are being studied by scientists right now and they’re being proven to keep people healthy.

 I invite you to try mindful eating with me this week. Look at your plate before you dig in. Take in the sight and smell. Take a deep breath and relax. Give gratitude that you have a healthy meal in front of you. Maybe think about where the food came from and all of the people who worked hard to provide it to you. Eat each bite slowly. Savor as you chew 30-40 times. Put the fork down between bites and enjoy.

Let me know how it goes!

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2 Comments

Filed under Dining in, Eating out, Travel & Leisure

2 responses to “Page Two From Kripalu

  1. Oops…how ironic that I was reading your post as I was scarfing down a bowl of cereal! 😦

    As wholeheartedly I agree with the importance of mindful eating, sometimes it’s just really hard to do in real life. It’s certainly achievable at a retreat or while on vacation, but sometimes it’s just near impossible during a busy work day. On those days, I try to at least take a few deep breaths before taking my first bite and swallow each bite before taking another.

    • I agree that eating every bite slowly and mindfully may not be realistic. I guess that’s just part of finding some balance. I love the idea of taking a deep breath and relaxing before digging in and at least trying to take the first few bites slowly. I also thought about maybe focusing on one meal a day, which for me would be dinner. As for busy workday lunches, when I was an elementary school teacher I tried to take my lunch outside when I could. Sometimes I would sit at a table other than my desk or try to clear a space at my desk to eat peacefully. In my opinion baby steps make a big difference. Any other tips for trying to stay mindful when you’re in a rush?

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