Where is that place for you? You know, that place in nature that makes you feel connected, totally present in the world and at peace with your life. A place that allows you to just be?
For me, it’s the ocean. When I stand quietly and stare at the horizon and feel that soft ocean breeze in my hair and the sand between my toes, I am totally and completely present. In that moment, I realize how very small I am in the world and how insignificant my problems are. I can breathe deeply and be fully in my body and I can find gratitude for even the small things in my life. I am alive!
Where is your place?
The ability to be present in our body is called “Awareness”. Awareness is our capacity to experience life as it’s happening and it can bring with it a deep sense of relaxation, increasing our metabolism quickly and simply. If we can bring awareness to our food preparation and our eating, we can improve our digestion quite powerfully.
Scientists call it the cephalic phase digestive response (CPDR) and it refers to the power that our awareness has on our nutrient assimilation, digestion, and calorie-burning. According to Marc David, in his book, “The Slow Down Diet”, researchers have estimated that as much as 30 to 40 percent of the total digestive response to any meal is due to CPDR - our full awareness of what we’re eating!
When you see your favorite food and your mouth starts watering just thinking about eating it, that’s CPDR. Digestion literally begins in the head, initiating the secretion of saliva, gastric acid, and enzymes, preparing your organs throughout your digestive tract to shift in preparation of the incoming food.
Think of the power you can have, by simply taking a minute as you’re eating, to be aware of the food and the nutrients they’re providing you. Don’t waste this opportunity at every meal to quickly boost your metabolism!
In addition to the benefits of eating with full awareness, let’s think about what can happen when we eat without it. Our stomach will receive all the food we eat, and feel full, but our brain will still be hungry because it isn’t even aware that we ate. Our brain (“CPDR”) actually requires taste, pleasure, and awareness, which it’s being denied without awareness of our meal. This explains why we can feel hungry shortly after eating.
This week, choose to be present at each meal. Put time aside to eat at the table, and avoid eating while driving, working, or watching tv. Focus on your food, the colors and textures, tastes and smells, and the ambiance of the room. Maybe light a candle and enjoy pleasant conversation. Receive nourishment from each meal. Be present and aware.
To help remind you daily, we've created a really pretty "Awareness While Eating" pdf that you can hang on your refrigerator. For additional support and accountability, head on over to my Facebook page and let us know how you are choosing to experience awareness this week. Can't wait to hear from you!