There are numerous types of diet aimed at weight control and better digestive function but how and when we actually eat matters too. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), not only is the nutritional content in our food important but so too is eating in a peaceful setting, away from the work station and not thinking about anything that upsets us. In TCM it is thought that whatever we are thinking when we eat is swallowed with our food, that our digestive organs are more open and sensitive to emotional upset when we eat.
There are good physiological reasons why eating on the run is not good for us too. When we ingest food our digestive organs spring into action and need more of our circulating blood to power the digestive process, if we insist on being physically and/or mentally active while we eat, our muscles and brain actively compete with our bellies for more of our precious blood flow.
This is easy to prove to oneself, try eating identical meals in two different scenarios at the same time of day, what feels better between eating in peace and quiet with no distractions or answering the phone between mouthfuls as you hurriedly walk back from the take-away? Is it possible to enjoy what you eat when you are just “filling the hole” ? Do you think you might be more susceptible to indigestion eating this way? Is it really hygeinic dropping crumbs all over your work station? Recent health studies have shown that your PC keyboard has more germs on it than toilet seats do.
The failure to chew enough before swallowing makes it harder for food to be broken down by our digestive organs, poor posture crams our stomachs for space and insufficient exercise can make us more prone to constipation- there are many factors that effect our digestion. In TCM eating late at night is not considered ideal and meals are considered best when they all contain the “5 flavours” sour, sweet, spicy, salty and bitter.
We all need the same nutrients but a person with Crohn’s disease has to avoid gluten, the lactose intolerant need to avoid dairy, if you have haemachromatosis you should go lightly with your iron intake and most of us never drink enough water. Learning about our own idiosyncrasies is helpful if we want to live long and happy lives. If you do want to take suppliments it is better to get an expert opinion rather than self-diagnose and choose products that are properly absorbed in your alimentary tract, portaloo contractors often find piles of undigested tablets in the bottom of their tanks that have passed straight through their users.
One frequent area of disagreement between medical practitioners and natural doctors is the necessity of vitamin and mineral suppliments, doctors often say that suppliments are unnecessary because there are plenty of them in our food already but naturopaths may recognize their patient’s symptoms to signs of mineral and vitamin deficiency. They may both be right if the patient’s digestive tract just isn’t extracting what it should from the food they eat.
Keep an honest record of what you eat for a while and compare it to what nutritionists recommend and see what you come up with.