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The Spirit of Healthy Eating:

Each experience of life is an experience of mind, body, and spirit. Eating is no exception. Everything we put into our bodies has an effect on mind, body and spirit. Consider the following and enjoy the experience of healthy eating:

1. Allow no distractions during eating. This means no T.V., reading, conversation, etc. If eating is to be an experience, you will want to keep all your focus on eating. Notice the taste, texture, color, aroma, temperature, etc. Talking with your mouth full is not only rude but focuses attention away from the eating experience.

2. Take your time. It takes 15 minutes for the brain to get the message that the stomach is full. If you eat too fast, you may easily overstuff yourself without any awareness of it until too late. If you feel like you want a second helping, wait 5 minutes and then ask yourself if you really want more food. Put your eating utensils down between bites.

3. Chew each bite thoroughly. The teeth and saliva are a very important first step in proper digestion. If you hurry this step you are making the stomach work harder than it should to make up for what the mouth didn't have time to finish.

4. Always sit down to eat. This can be at table, picnic blanket, etc. This assures more attention to some of the other steps. Standing or walking around to eat is a sign of being elsewhere in mind and spirit.

5. Choose your food wisely. The purpose of eating is to nourish the body and satisfy the mind and spirit. If your car is tuned to run on high grade fuel and it is fueled with regular, you know you will get poor performance. The body's response to poor food choices is the same. It may not show up immediately but the body is our vehicle for many years. Doesn't it deserve the proper fuel? Ask yourself: Am I honoring self with this food choice?

6. Proper digestion requires energy. Take at least 5 minutes after completion of eating to allow the body to begin digestion. You may take a very leisurely walk, sit and have the conversation you avoided while eating, read, etc. Remember that food is a form of energy and as we take it into our bodies it is broken down from its form and stored in our form. A couple ounces of broccoli + a dab of potatoes + a pound of stress = a formula for storing stress in the body.

7. Eat only when the stomach is empty. The stomach processes different foods at different rates with different enzymes. Protein requires an acidic environment and carbohydrates require a basic environment to digest. Constantly adding new food to the process slows the digestion and can contribute to improperly digested food. Watermelon takes only 10 minutes to clear the stomach and a full meal may take several hours. Ask yourself if your stomach is empty of the last meal before eating again.

8. Avoid dieting. The first three letters in diet spell die. If the body system perceives starvation, it will be much more likely to store everything ingested and slow down the metabolism to conserve all it is storing. If you eat moderately and often, the body is much more likely to use what it needs and discard the rest.

9. Avoid drinking during eating. The digestive enzymes are diluted and therefore less effective when a lot of liquid is ingested during a meal. If you chew your food thoroughly and eat mostly water-based food such as fruits and vegetables, you will not need to drink during your meal.

10.Hydrate between meals. It is common knowledge that we need to drink a generous amount of safe water. If you always carry water you are much more likely to create a habit of drinking throughout the day. Carrying water will also encourage that beverage over others like sodas that actually leach nutrients from the body during processing. A formula for determining how much water you need daily is to divide your body weight in pounds by 2 and convert the answer to ounces of water. Example: body weight of 150 lbs. divided by 2 = 75. That means 75 ounces of water per day.

Fran Henry, Personal and Small Business Coach, can be reached at 386-753-0323, or email: fran@franhenry.com

With over 30 years in the health care/dental industry, Fran has worked with thousands of people to create a healthy lifestyle. For an introduction to a new life you truly deserve, visit her at www.franhenry.com.

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