I remember when I was growing up mealtimes were sacred for my family. I used to set the table whilst my brother would go and bring my dad up from downstairs. We all sat together and talked about the day, no t.v., no distractions, just casual conversations about the day and enjoying the home cooked meal we were served. Mum’s dishes always seemed to taste so much better than the same recipes I make my kids now. Perhaps it was the fact that when we sat down to eat we were taking the time to appreciate our food, really taste and experience what was in front of us and enjoy the company we were with. It was truely family time.
I realised the other day how things have changed since I was a kid. Finding the time to sit down together as a family for dinner seems to be difficult. There is always a distraction, t.v., people calling during dinner, a never-ending list of things that need to be done. How often do you find that you sit down to a meal and end up realising that the bowl is empty but you really didn’t taste or enjoy the food that you just ate? I so often find myself inhaling my meals so I can get onto the next thing on my to do list while the kids eat together.
So how long does it take for your stomach to register that you have eaten?? In regular healthy people there are a number of things that happen to your body when you eat food or drink a beverage. Stretch receptors in the stomach signal to the brain when you have eaten or drunk. Hormones are released once food enters the small intestine and leptin is released to work with dopamine to provide a feeling of fullness and pleasure after you have finished your meal. It takes around 20 minutes for your stomach to register that you are full and for these processes to occur. It therefore makes sense to slow down your eating to allow your body time to register what you have consumed. If you eat too quickly you can overeat, taking in too much food and making yourself feel over full once your stomach has had a chance to register how much you have consumed. Here are a few links to give you some more information –
Depending on your gender, metabolism, the amount of food you have eaten and the type of food consumed, it takes 24-72 hours for food to move through your digestive tract. Sugars are digested quickly which is why you feel hungry quicker after eating sugary foods. Fibres are slower and proteins and fats take much longer to break down.
Appreciating the small things in life is a skill that many of us have lost as modern life gains pace and we lose our ability to focus on one thing at a time. Mindful Eating is a life skill being taught as a way to bring yourself back to the present, the here and now enjoying the experience of eating. It is all about being present the moment, really taking the time to enjoy each mouthful before taking another. Tasting the aroma, flavour and texture of the food. It’s also about thinking and being thankful for all the effort that went into growing the food, processing the food, cooking and serving the food.
Try Mindful Eating next time you sit down to a meal and see how you enjoy the experience!!! Enjoy!!!