Now, most people think of good nutrition as kind of a numbers game, meaning that, if you have the right amount of nutrients, and if you avoid certain junk foods or toxins, and if you cut calories, then you’ll have the best chance of greater nutritional health. And there is truth to this. But what I want to suggest is that WHAT you eat is only HALF of the equation, that there is more to the story of good nutrition. And the other half of the story is HOW we eat, meaning your thoughts, your emotional state, your level of stress when you eat, and the level of attention that you are bringing to each meal.
Now, why is it true that how you eat is so important? The most important thing I can do for my clients is to help them reduce and/or cope better with stress.
The negative effects of stress on the body are numerous, including an increase in inflammation, increased food sensitivities and allergies, increase in insulin resistance... just to name a few. And eating during stress will generally lead to digestive upset, decreased nutrient assimilation, and unwanted fat storage which leads to weight gain.
There are four main ways that you can experience stress. So, it might be…
Biological and chemical (in the processes of the body)
Mental or emotional (in our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings)
Spiritual (whether we feel connected or not to something greater than ourselves)
Structural (in our bones or muscles)
Let’s get a little science-y for a minute…
The branch of the Central Nervous System (CNS) that most influences the gastrointestinal function is called the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The ANS is responsible for stimulating the digestive process.
There are two branches of the Autonomic Nervous System: