Guest Blog Feature by Julia Thornton
Full disclosure before I begin: I am known as a Prosecco guzzler, I inhale my coffee, and I often eat straight from the nut butter jar. In fact, I have been known to put the jar in the car to stop me dipping into it whilst working from home (and this was pre Covid-19!).
So, on the subject of how we eat, I am most certainly not perfect and I share the following with you not because I’ve nailed it – but because being inclusive, making things accessible and trying to find solutions is in my nature…(also great traits of a PA/VA huh?).
There is a whole wealth of information on the importance of what we eat: how foods contribute to our health and wellbeing, the nutritional value of food and drink for our bodily functions, which vitamins and minerals do what, and of course why excess processed foods, saturated fats and alcohol won’t make you feel fantastic.
But the other day, I ate what would be deemed a pretty healthy snack (yes, it included nut butter – with an apple and two oatcakes) and soon after I felt really bloated and quite bleugh. I’m not allergic to any of those foods, so why did I feel so rubbish?
Could it be that I didn’t even wait to put them on a plate: instead standing in the kitchen dipping the oatcakes into the nut butter whilst I cut the apple up, munching away without much thought and gulping down the last mouthful because I hadn’t actually chewed the apple very well? All within the space of 3 minutes? Umm…
So despite the wholesome nature of what my snack was, it was how I consumed it that caused me the issue. Gone in less than 180 seconds but paid for through discomfort and bloating in more than 4 hours. Not really the best trade.
Lockdown encouraged a slower pace of life – less rushing, less stress of trying to fit everything in and less FOMO (bliss!). I’ve also recently taken up yoga again and love the mindfulness that comes with the practice. So now I need to apply the same actions to how I eat every day.
I’m determined to get better at it so today I set myself reminders on my phone and on my laptop about how I eat. Small targets like not eating in front of my PC, not scrolling Instagram whilst drinking my coffee, trying to take a break outside with my other half for our afternoon cuppa. I don’t have to spend ages doing these things (10 minutes outside is achievable and realistic) but I do need to stop doing them at 100 mph. I’ve committed my actions to my five minute journal too to hold me to account:
- No eating anything standing up
- Eating everything today mindfully
- Nourishing my body and mind with all my food choices today
I might slip off the wagon occasionally (#realitycheck) but as with anything, practice makes perfect and so far (@ 14:49 on day 1) I’ve accomplished it. That is progress!!
None of the above is rocket science of course and you’ll have no doubt heard it before. But I think we all need a reminder every now and then that you can eat all the healthy food in the world, but your digestion won’t thank you if you’re not eating it well. And you can also eat the not so healthy foods (and who am I to determine what these are) but if you eat them slowly, savour every mouthful and relish the taste, again, your digestive system probably won’t have too much of a problem with you. Life is too short not to eat the cake – but life will definitely be better if we pay attention to how we eat it.
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