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Food For Thought – The Holidays & Adrenal Fatigue


November 23, 2009 | Published by

Christmas dinner by Flickr user Connie MaIf you are recovering from stress and adrenal fatigue and concerned about your food intake and energy as we enter the holiday season, here are some sensible, practical guidelines that have evolved over the past 20+ years of observation. I hope they will make it easy for you to eat in a relaxed manner and keep fat and food consumption at healthy levels without having to become a mathematician to count calories. They are simple guidelines, but if you follow them, they will have a profound, positive effect on your health.

1) Before you begin each meal, settle yourself, quiet your mind and body, take a couple of deep breaths and relax. This helps prepare your body for food by diverting the blood flow into your digestive system from your muscles. It also stimulates the nerves that control digestion, increasing the flow of digestive juices and activating the muscles of the digestive system. This is an important step, so make sure you take the few moments it takes to do it every time you eat. You can still do this even if you are eating in public, or at a business meeting. Just sit quietly, take a couple of deep breaths, let the air out slowly and let yourself totally relax for those few seconds. No one need know what you are doing. If you cannot do this at the table, go to the washroom where there is more privacy.

2) Chew each bite of food at least 30 times per mouthful. Why? Several reasons. For one, the satiety mechanism for appetite (the sense that makes you feel full) is located in the hypothalamus, a primitive part of the brain. There is a 15-minute delay after your stomach is full before the hypothalamus tells you that you are full. Chewing gives this mechanism a chance to keep up with your present state of fullness.
Another reason for chewing each bite 30 times is that thorough chewing decreases the size of food particles which decreases the burden on your digestive system. This allows for better digestion. Still another reason is that the mere act of chewing helps the body relax and prepare to digest the food you are eating. And finally, people who chew their food thoroughly eat less than people who do not chew well.

3) Eat only until you are satisfied; not until you are completely full. The ancient Chinese doctors had a saying: “The first 70% is for yourself; the last 30% is for the doctor.” If you only eat until you are satisfied, you will learn more accurately what your actual dietary needs are. People and animals who slightly under eat tend to live longer and have fewer health problems.

4) Don’t force yourself to eat things you don’t like just because they are “good for you.”

5) Learn to taste and appreciate your food as you are eating.

6) Avoid all you can eat situations unless you have good self-control.

7) Remember, you do not have to clean up your plate.

8) Wait at least 20 minutes after the meals before eating desserts.

9) Have natural desserts such as fruit or dried fruit.

10) Have desserts only one or two times per week.

11) Listen to your body before, during and after every meal.

Eating consciously and providing your body with fresh, wholesome food can produce tremendous long-term benefits to your health, and help reverse the negative effects of stress and adrenal fatigue on your body.

Image credit: Christmas dinner by Flickr user Connie Ma

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