Eating habits & how to eat

In this article i am presenting my views and opinions regarding the eating process seen as an experience (“how to eat”). Another article will cover the “what to eat” perspective.

Eating is something what we do rather often and is amazingly one of the things that we are bad at. How many of us wondered how and why we can do to improve eating ? I guess very few.

I read everyday reviews of food, good vs. bad food comparison but i read less on how to eat them. The eating experience is what defines us more than the food itself. The eating experience decides if the food we will eat will deposit in our body as fat or will be used for other purposes … creating muscles, aiding memory & brain functions.

We already know some things like … eating at regular times is better, never eat too late in the night etc. What we don’t know or don’t realize?
Here are some of my opinions about the eating as an experience:

General considerations
– everything is about balance, balance anything you eat. If you eat during one meal more sugars, refrain from eating the same during the next meal. If you eat too much meat in afternoon don’t eat meat in the night, etc.
– do eat in the morning and remember … coffee is not food !
– eat 3 times per day. I don’t advise you to at more times or less times unless your body is already out of balance.
– feeling tired all day ? it might be because of eating … consult a doctor. I once felt bad a whole week … until i realized that my body was not receiving the quantity of useful substances it needs even if i was eating a LOT. Some kids have worms when they are young … and worms are doing this. For grownups like me certain stomach problems can prevent food from being completely digested so go and consult a doctor. Your stomach don’t have to hurt to go to a doctor. If the stomach hurts is already something bad or you are already too late!
– read the labels on products and don’t buy to many things that you don’t know how to prepare yourself
– compare products ( you can even buy both and try them in the same time ), don’t believe anybody but you
– packing does not make a good product ( give a chance to small companies that don’t afford or cannot make fancy packing for their products )
– check any expiry date on any product you buy

Before eating
– make a little bit of sports especially the ones that involve stomache muscles. This way we “pave” the path for the new food to enter our body. I noticed that after and during swimming for example i can exhale easily the gases built up in my stomach and feel less stomach swelling. We already “eat” too much gases ( sparkling water, soft drinks – by the way … why do people reffer to carbonated drinks as soft drinks ? … this mislabeling for sure hurts our understanding of drinks and makes us accept easily bad drinks for our health ) while eating … the digestion would be much better and pleasant without them
– don’t drink too many liquids as the liquids will lower your stomach acidity thus lowering your body ability to completely digest food and in turn you will eat more food and have less energy after
– prepare yourself mentally for eating, switching your thoughts from other things, in turn this will signal to your body to start preparing itself for what is to come. Some religions got this right 🙂 People are thanking for what food they will eat thus concentratng on the food and on the whole process. On the other hand this can happen in the opposite way to some of us. I am sure you have experienced this: if we talk a lot about food and about some food types in particular we become hungry even if we are not very hungry. So our brain has a very big impact on how and why we eat. Let’s control our brain the same way as we do with reasoning ( maths, exact sciences ) and we can accomplish a lot of things. We won’t eat unless we are hungry, we will be able to control our eating and be less prone to gaining weight. We know now this: it’s better to think of food before eating and while eating and not to think to much about food in between meals.
– if you are really, really hungry you can eat some fruits. Start eating other foods types at least 10 minutes after eating fruits. Why we can eat fruits ? Because fruits contain basic sugars and other components that are easily ( thus faster about let’s suppose … 10-20 minutes for an apple ) digested by our body and don’t have a big impact on the food that will come after.
– washing hands. I consider this very very important yet myself i fail to do it every time. Need not for me to explain why… again religion thought some of us to wash before eating based on the need to be ‘ritually’ clean while consuming foods. ( http://asimpledesire.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/dont-wash-before-eating/ )

While eating
– eating location and time is an important thing. Sometimes we need to eat on the road. Sometimes we need to eat at wrong times. This is perfectly ok as long as you don’t make a rule out of it. Don’t do other things meanwhile. Stop any other distractions that will give your body wrong signals about what to do with the food. In a word … awareness!
– think more about the food you are eating
– talk more about the food you are eating than anything else ( and don’t talk about things that make you uncomfortable or angry )
– eat the soup at the beginning of the meal. Why? Because i consider the order of eating food being of utmost importance. In Europe we tend to eat the soup among the first courses, right after the appetizer. In some Asian countries soup is served at the end of the meal. I believe that if we eat the soup at the beginning it will have a “bad” impact of our stomach flora and acidity ( PH ) and we will eat less food during that meal. In fact any liquids are having the same effect on digestion. If we drink soup at the end will have a smaller impact on the quantity of food that we can consume. Don’t think that by eating soup/liquids you will eat less and you will loose weight! Maybe you will in fact eat less / meal … but you will be hungry faster and eat more than the normal 3 times / day.
– mixing ingredients and food types. Sometimes the best foods are prepare by mixing a lot of ingredients so it’s ok to mix. If you do this you should learn how to.
Don’t mix too much fresh food ( salad for example ) with fried food. Digestion for this 2 types of food is different and mixing them will leat to possible bad results. You should eat similar cooked foods instead, preferably cooked using steam cooking that makes the food softer and dosen’t destroy all the good vitamins and nutrients.
– less water/drinks during a meal put’s less pressure on your body to generate enough acidity to digest the food. While you will feel hungry faster after a meal without too much water intake this is the best way for our stomach

After eating
– immediately after eating take a few moment to rest, it will for sure help digestion as the body needs more blood for this purpose
– don’t do sports immediately after eating
– don’t think at things that make you angry just for few minutes. Let the body use blood for different purpose.
– don’t change the temperature too fast, especially don’t heat up your body. Some example is foot bath. If you put your feet into hot water the blood will tend to go to your feet. In the same time your body needs blood to digest the food … so guess what will happen ? You will faint or at least feel very bad because your brain you won’t have enough blood available to function properly!
– don’t forget to wash your teeth, or use some chewing gum, after all teeth are our own lifetime eating tool.
– don’t continue eating snacks or fruits immediately after eating… this will have a bad effect on your digestion … wait some time … around half an hour for light foods and more than 1 1/2 hours for slightly uncooked meat products ( beef ).

In between meals
– don’t use too much chewing gum
– try not to think at eating
– if you feel like eating … eat fruits ( eat acid fruits – apples for example separately from sweet fruits – banannas for example ) – if you want to read more indepth information about fruits visit http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/fruit-article.html
– drink as much water as you can and as you need. Our body is more than 80% water so it only normal to drink a lot of … water.

We know that nowadays food quality depends mostly on how much money we have or we want to pay for it. This aspect has changed radically as people even 100 years ago wore spending a bigger part of their income on food and less on other things. Now we tend to spend less and less means … of course for less quality, less natural products and much more preservatives to keep the food fresh longer so the supermarkets won’t have to throw it away very fast. So think more about the quality and less about the price when comes to this important thing what we take for granted… food.
But no matter how cheap is it or how expensive we can do something good about it. We can spend some time finding good quality ingredients, we can learn some basic denominations and food types. For example did you know that Valencia oranges have more juice than Navel kind ? The type is printed onto the small sticker.

I myself follow only a part of this advices but this are also my goals, i want as much to improve as any of you. Do you have any other opinions? I would be happy to listen to them.

Dan

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16 Responses to “Eating habits & how to eat”

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