As you’ve probably heard me say time and again, the health of your digestive tract has a lot of influence over your entire health.
Your gut is linked with your nervous system, your brain, your immune system, your hormones, and it’s extremely linked to your weight. The trillions of bacteria in your gut play a large role in: weight management and avoiding obesity; preventing diseases like diabetes, arthritis, MS, even cancer; balancing neurotransmitters (affecting our mood, stress, depression, etc.); boosting immunity (to avoid getting colds/flu/infections); supporting digestive health (pooping regularly and properly, avoiding tummy aches, bloating, gas), and more!
So clearly, it’s extremely important to keep your gut and belly healthy in order to both lose weight and stay healthy. One important way to do this is taking probiotics. BUT it’s a lot more than that.
Improving your DAILY HABITS and RITUALS to improve digestion is absolutely key. That includes paying closer to not only what you eat, but also HOW you eat.
Too often, we’re eating when we’re feeling rushed, stressed about work, our to-do list, etc., and this impairs digestion and usually leads to a bloated belly. And if we eat this way too often, we can end up with nutrient deficiencies, digestive symptoms, and gut issues (such as leaky gut). And as I mentioned earlier, these gut issues can then affect the rest of your health.
So today I want to share a lovely ritual to apply at EACH MEAL before eating, that will help you get your body out of its sympathetic state (“fight or flight”) and into a parasympathetic state (“rest and digest”), in order to help your digestive system function optimally. When your body is relaxed and focused on eating (vs on other things), your body will better absorb nutrients (to boost your health) and avoid digestive problems.
Here is an effective ritual designed to boost your gut health, helping you digest better, assimilate nutrients optimally, and avoid bloating:
- PREPARE & SERVE CALMLY. If you’re cooking or helping to prepare the food – be sure to do it consciously, slowly, while relaxed and smiling. Try turning on some soft music. Even if someone else cooked your food, apply this concept to just the process of serving your food on to your plate – do it with love and patience. If you find yourself rushed, stop, and consciously slow down.
- SIT DOWN TO EAT, REMOVE DISTRACTIONS & AVOID GETTING UP. When you set the table, make sure you get everything you need at the table so you don’t have to get up while eating. Turn off the TV, close your laptop and any other major distractions.
- STIMULATE YOUR DIGESTION before eating. I personally add roughly ½ tsp of apple cider vinegar to ½ cup water that I drink before my meal (then avoid drinking too much during my meal). Digestive bitters are another great option.
- LOOK & SMELL. Take a moment to observe the colors of your plate, and smell the delicious food. Maybe take a picture and post on Instagram!
- GIVE THANKS and/or say a prayer for the delicious food that you’re about to eat.
- BREATHE. Take 3-4 deep breaths. Try inhaling for 4 long counts while inflating your belly, then exhaling for 4-5 counts while deflating your belly. This is probably the most important step for relaxing your body and giving it the signal to switch from sympathetic to parasympathetic.
- CHEW & TASTE. When you take your first bite, make sure to place your fork down after, and chew the bite until the food is almost liquid in your mouth. Taste all the flavors in that one bite.
- EAT SLOWLY. Make a conscious effort to continue eating that way – slowly, chewing well, and putting your fork down after each bite. And appreciating the delicious flavor of your food.
Believe it or not, applying this simple ritual to your meals will make a huge difference for your gut, and therefore, for your overall health.
Maybe this week start by just applying part of this ritual and work your way to applying everything. And as always, let me know how it goes!
Love and Healthy Rituals,