Do NOT Eat Stressed!

Stress is a huge contributing factor in health and is one of the main reasons so many of us experience imbalances.

Our cells are conscious thinking cells, full of intention and potential. They are made of the same chemicals, neurotransmitters, and neuron cells present in your Central Nervous System. If your mind is stressed, your body is stressed. If your body is stressed, your digestion will be affected, and proper digestion is the foundation of our health.

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Anything you feel in your mind gets transmitted into your body. You can see the effects of stress immediately on your skin and in your gastrointestinal tract, and there is no medicine that can help these symptoms if the root cause of stress is not addressed.

What you put into your body matters in terms of nutrition and substance, but how you manage your stress determines how well you digest and assimilate that same substance. Everything begins in the gut- everything. Every dis-ease, every creak, every tickle, every pain, every sign of inflammation, every discomfort can be directly linked back to digestion; what we put in our bodies either builds us up or tears us down. The way our body is able to manage stress is therefore one of the most important deal breakers when it comes to our overall wellbeing, and can be the tipping point when it comes to manifesting disease.

We don’t always realize that our day-to-day experiences are actually stressful. Spontaneous stress has it’s effects on us just as much as daily stress. Stress hormones like to nestle in our gut and stay there, meaning they are present when we digest our food. The manifestation they cause is very hard on the body, and if these stress hormones are present, you won’t digest your food properly. This stress is actually worse than if you skipped a meal and let your Agni (digestive fire) go. Ayurveda recommends eating at the same time in regular intervals, yet it is better not to eatwhen you are stressed than it is to eat and force your body to digest under extreme conditions.

Do NOT eat stressed. Everything begins in the gut.

Everything our senses take in needs to be digested. There is a balance between our Autonomic Nervous Systems- the sympathetic (fight or flight, what keeps you alert and ready to act) and parasympathetic (relaxation, digestion, rebuilding, rejuvenation), that our bodies juggle with in order to maintain homeostasis. One always tends to dominate the other at any given moment. If you eat stressed, your sympathetic tries to deal with the stress which excites you, while your parasympathetic tries to calm you down so you can digest properly. If both are happening at the same time, internal chaos emerges and the sympathetic stress handling system will dominate, because it is dealing with the immediate threat. Because we are eating when this fight or flight action is in full effect, our digestion takes a back seat. And because we digest everything, including sights, sounds, thoughts, emotions, and environment, digestion actually adds even MORE stress to our system. It is no wonder we experience things like ulcers, low energy, hypertension, hair loss, acidity, heart burn, skin irritations, sluggishness, food allergies and sensitivities, colitis, headaches, bloating, discomfort, etc.

Your body takes what you eat and miraculously turns it into your physical being. Your sandwich literally gets taken apart and chemically restructured to become your liver cells, skin, blood, brain cells, finger nails, eyeballs, and so on. As important as it is to eat clean, whole, nourishing foods,the energy and space with which you take in your nutrients also matters, because it is with this quality of transformation that you will be built. Eating should therefore be a sacred ritual where we sit for a few minutes in silence and thoroughly enjoy nourishing ourselves in a conscious space. This not only ensures that we are built with the highest quality and that we digest our meal properly, but that we don’t over eat.

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Ayurveda recommends:

Washing your hands before you eat.

Feeding someone else first if possible.

Praying for 15 seconds before and after food. Gratitude does wonders!

Eating slowly.

Not talking during eating- this creates counter friction.

Eating in silence and focussing on each bite as it nourishes you.

Taking a few minutes for a short walk after food, about 100 steps.

Finishing your meal as soon as you feel a light sweat emerge or feel water in your nose. This is your body’s signal that you have reached capacity.

Breathing, meditation, and yoga have extraordinary stress reducing benefits and are easy to incorporate into daily life. Taking ten deep breaths can help set a huge internal shift in motion for the better. Counting five things you are grateful for can bring you back into the moment of now. A spontaneous in the car dance party jamming to a good song can uplift your mood and change your perspective while sitting in traffic. There are a ton of things you can do to alleviate stress in the moment according to how you experience it, and it is well worth taking the thoughtfulness to incorporate these tiny steps in order to manifest huge changes in your health.

No matter how stressed you may be, take the time to eat in peace. Your body will thank you.