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Podcast - We are HOW we Eat

Summary - In this episode, Victoria discusses the importance of mindful eating and how it can impact digestion and overall well-being. She shares her personal experience of rushing through meals and the negative effects it had on her body. Victoria explains the digestive process and how stress can hinder digestion. She emphasizes the benefits of mindful eating, such as improved digestion and reduced stress levels. Victoria provides practical tips for practicing mindful eating, including setting aside dedicated time for meals, practicing gratitude before eating, chewing thoroughly, engaging the senses, pausing between bites, and listening to the body's hunger and fullness cues.

Victoria (00:00.705)

Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of Victoria L. Women's Holistic Health Strategist. I am, I'm gonna dig into a topic today that I'm really starting to explore. I talked about it on the blog on Monday. But before we dig in, can I just take a pause here and express to you all how extremely grateful I am for you that are here listening, that are giving me feedback, that are helping me make this podcast better and better.

I love hearing the good, the bad, the ugly. I've had some people reach out and be like, I couldn't hear you properly and now I can hear you better. Thanks for upgrading your microphone. Like there's so much good, so much good that can come out of the feedback. So I really appreciate that you're here listening, that you're giving me the feedback. I absolutely love seeing the shares, the tags, all those kind of good things. So please, please keep that up. Let's get this conversation out there.

amongst other fellow women who are in perimetopause, are facing hormonal chaos, that are looking for connection and community to start to learn those strategies that can really help you find your wellness again, find yourself again. So today's topic, we are talking about how important it is to look at how you're eating, not just what you're eating.

And the reason why I'm digging into this today because I started noticing a little while ago this old habit that I used to have all the time. I was so horrible for this of rushing through my meals, especially my lunches at work. It really started to creep in the last little while. While I say little while, it's actually was got, it got really bad back in November, December. And you guys know that I had a massive burnout in the December, but.

this habit of rushing through my day to get all my clients in kind of stuck. And I found that I wasn't taking a pause to eat at all. So I, you know, here I was, I'm shoveling entire containers of food into my mouth. These containers contain the most amazingly prepared meal plans, right? I've been following the 28 day strategy for months now. And I, I,

Victoria (02:25.697)

I absolutely love what I've put together here. So I have these amazing lunches that I've pre -prepared for myself, yet I am shoveling them into my face in the 15 minutes that I have to get between clients. I don't even have 15 minutes actually. It's like the five minutes that I am taking this time to do this, right? And this stuff is going into my body faster than it humanly should.

And then I'm at the same time as I'm shoveling this into my body, I am feeling that stress and that anxiousness around making sure that, you know, I'm checking in with those messages that are coming in, that I am making sure that I'm on time for my next client. I hate making people wait. So I'm, you know, shoveling this in faster and faster than I ever should, than any human should eat. And then like two hours later.

I am so bloated. I am very uncomfortable. My digestion is wackadoodle. And I started noticing that the more I'm doing this, the less energy I am having in the afternoon. So like I'm eating this most nourishing, amazing food and yet still noticing, oh my gosh, my stomach is uncomfortable. I am, I am so low on my energy. Why do I feel like a bag of crap? Right. And,

it kind of had me perplexed a bit here. So I started to do, you know, what I always do. I started to research, I started to journal, I started to really take notice and become aware of how and what I was eating. Now I did notice that raw kale gives me gas. So I have now cooked kale if I'm having kale in my lunch prep, or I just leave it out because sometimes, you know,

Doing what I do is not a great thing to have afternoon gas issues. So there's that, right? But the other thing that I noticed was that I was eating when I ate this food at home. I was fine when I ate this food at work, shoveling into my face. I was not fine. So why the change? Right. Because I have always.

Victoria (04:46.497)

I've always eaten my lunch on the run. It's something that I am guilty of for a very, very, very long time. So, you know, does this sound familiar to you guys? Are you also a type of person that is shoving your food in your face in the middle of the day because you have to get back to work or you have other things that you are planning or maybe you're the type of person that...

you know, is shoveling food in your face as you're driving because you got to get to the next place for work or if you're on the road or whatever, right? So it really was something that I became mindful of and started to notice what was happening. And in our hustle and bustle modern life, we often do overlook the importance of how we are eating, right? Our busy schedules and constant multitasking.

lead to these rushed meals, eating on the way to work, also guilty of this. I am so guilty of making my shake to go to work and I have preached that that's a great way to get food into you for a long time, but now I am noticing a little bit different. So we practice and get better, right? So eating on the way to work, mindlessly shoveling food into our faces as maybe we're on the phone, maybe we're checking messages, maybe we're like,

eyeballs deep in social media reels, right? And you know, I have long been a believer in mindful eating and being mindful of what you're eating and how you're eating, but I didn't fully understand how we eat can actually affect our digestion until I hit perimetropos and until I got that complete burnout phase.

and complete adrenal fatigue that happened in this past December, right? We can, you know, the way we approach, the way we approach our meals can significantly impact not only our digestion, but also our overall stress levels and our physical wellness, okay? The last couple of weeks, like I said, I've really been.

Victoria (06:59.745)

diving into the intricate, it is such an intricate connection between our mindful eating, our digestion and our stress levels. And as someone who takes a holistic approach to nutrition, I wanted to shed light on why it's essential to cultivate this mindful approach to eating and how simple we can, how we can simply just make a couple little changes in our eating habits.

And yet these couple tiny little changes can yield amazing benefits for our health in the long run. This is the research that I have learned and implemented for my journey and caring for my body, right? Because as this is what this whole thing is about is as I'm learning, I am sharing, right? So I urge you.

to take from these points kind of what you feel connected to and leave the rest. If it's not connecting to you or you're kind of the person that maybe you notice, maybe you don't notice a difference in when you sit and eat mindfully versus when you're shoveling your face. But I can tell you that for me, reaching that adrenal fatigue, reaching the cortisol levels that were skyrocketed because of the stress within my body,

I noticed a huge difference. I noticed a huge shift in how my body was digesting under a stressed state versus a mindful state. Right? So we're gonna, I'm gonna go cover some of the points that I've kind of come up with and things that I've learned in the last couple of weeks. But like I said, take what works for you and just leave what doesn't, right?

So first, let's nerd out on the digestive process because before we can dig into the impact of eating habits on our digestive system and the stress, I want you to understand a little bit of digestion. So digestion begins the moment the food enters your mouth. It's not just like in your gut, right? The moment the food enters your mouth, the chewing starts to break down food into those smaller particles.

Victoria (09:17.345)

mixing it with the saliva in your mouth and the saliva in your mouth actually contains the enzymes that start to kickstart the digestion of the carbohydrates. So this is a really important factor. When you are eating super fast, you are not allowing that opportunity for the breakdown of the carbohydrates at the very beginning of your digestion, right?

As food travels down the esophagus and into the stomach, it then comes into contact with the gastric juices that are in your stomach that contain hydrochloric acid and enzymes that further break down what you are eating into this like gross semi -liquidous mass. That actually has a name, it's called chyme. Right, chyme, interesting. So from the stomach,

The chyme moves into the small intestine. This is where the majority of your nutrient absorption takes place. Now I want you to think about this. If you have swallowed your food basically whole, you are setting your ability to digest back a ton here because when you eat fast, you don't chew appropriately and then that

carbohydrate breakdown doesn't happen the way it's supposed to. The food gets to your small intestine and it's still in big chunks. So your small intestine, it becomes irritated, can become bloated and unable to absorb those nutrients at that place, right? Because honestly, you are only as healthy as the food that you absorb, right?

Think about it that way. You could eat all the amazing foods, but if your digestion is super wonky and you are not actually absorbing any of those foods, what good is it, right? So finally, the undigested waste products pass into those large intestine sections to be eliminated out through the colon, right? Now,

Victoria (11:28.961)

This is also the large intestine is also where the hydration is pulled from, like the water, the liquids is pulled from the mass as well. And all these steps are vital for your food to break down effectively, to be properly absorbed, because without that proper absorption, like I said, you can just eat all the healthy foods you want, but you can literally be malnourished if you're not actually absorbing the foods properly.

So what is the role of stress here? Well, stress, whether physical or physiological, triggers the body's fight or flight response. We also look into how we can fawn, hear or freeze, but most people are very aware of the fight or flight response, right? So when you're in these stress responses, you start releasing stress hormones like cortisol, like adrenaline. Now, while this response is,

Crucial for surviving in threatening like those threatening situations getting you out of those those stressful bad situations Where it when it's chronic stress? This is where we start to see the bad effects that happen into the digestive system, right? Because when stressed blood flow is diverted away from digestion to muscles heart brain to prepare for you know, the body to

fight the tiger that's in front of you, right? That's where that stress response originally comes from. So as a result, digestion slows down. So think about this. You're eating super fast because you're in this chronic state of stressed out, gotta do things, right? So you're not chewing your food. It's just going in giant chunks into your body. Then because you're in this chronic, stressed out state, your digestion has slowed down.

the absorption of the nutrients in your body is also compromised. So here you have, you're asking your body to break down these giant chunks that you didn't chew that are moving extremely slowly through your intestine. And your body is like, oh my gosh, we gotta do all this extra stuff, right? So in this state, the stress is exacerbating those gastrointestinal...

Victoria (13:53.281)

Oh my God, my words today guys, I'm so sorry. The stress is exacerbating your gastrointestinal issues, okay? So like the IBS that many, many people nowadays have been diagnosed with, which that is a whole nother thing we can dig into, but I have spoken with so many people where IBS was directly related to their inability to process stress. Interesting, isn't it? But it can...

be you know you have the the gastro issues like the IBS, the acid reflux, the gastritis, the inflammation of your intestinal tract, the bloating, the discomfort right because you know for myself here I was shoveling this amazing food into my face asking my body to digest it even though I was in this slow down at my my ex and my body is all slowed down in its digestion.

The food chunks are massive. So no wonder why I wasn't getting the energy from the food that I should have been getting. Why I was feeling so bloated. Like I am literally asking my body to break down giant chunks of food that it has no ability to do. And this is why when, you know, why when I stressfully shove the food into my face, my body reacted the way it did. It was because I was in a state of poor digestion and I was causing upset stomach for myself.

So what do we do? Well, we change from mindless eating to mindful eating, okay? So the contrast between the two scenarios, I want you to picture this, mindful eating versus mindless eating. Mindful eating includes paying full attention to the eating experience, you know, the experience from selecting and preparing the food to the act of eating itself.

It encompasses engaging all your senses, savoring the flavors and being present in the moment as you are ingesting and eating this food. This allows us to have an experience with our food, to be calm, to enjoy it, to be present with our meal. The body is able to move into that rest and digest where the proper nutrition is absorbed from the food.

Victoria (16:19.297)

and your body is actually able to properly process it, right? On the other hand, we have that mindless eating. What I was doing, I'm gonna share with you how I've changed this at the end. The mindless eating often occurs when we're distracted, when we're rushed, like me, shoveling the food in my face between my clients.

Eating while working if you're the type of person that's sitting at your desk mindlessly shoveling your lunch into your face because you need to get that report done Scrolling through your phone. That's another bad habit. Okay guys, how many of us pick up our phone?

have no idea how much food we're putting in our body because we're so zoned in to what's happening on our phones, right? So watching television, I honestly, I am a huge advocate for this. I absolutely despise having the television on while we are eating dinner. I will not do it. I hate it. I like with, oh, it just, the worst thing, I cannot stand.

And I cannot stand being, you know, we get together for a meal at somebody's place and the TV's on and they're all staring off at the TV instead of interacting. That is a pet peeve of mine. That's a whole nother thing. That's a whole nother podcast right there. But when this happens, we.

diminish our awareness of the food we are consuming, right? We are not smelling it, we're not enjoying it, we're not being present with it. And when we're doing this, it disrupts the body's natural digestive process, because we're not being mindful of our chewing of our presence with the food. This can lead to overeating as well, because we aren't hearing our body's, I am full triggers, right? When you're not paying attention,

Victoria (18:20.193)

You can just keep eating and eating. How many, like, I'm super guilty of it. You grab the snacks, you sit down to watch the movie, and next thing you know, you're like, holy crap, that entire bag of Doritos is just gone. Where did it go? You had no idea that you've eaten the whole thing, right? Or eating foods that don't really nourish us because we're not mindfully present with them. And therefore, we're just off shoving whatever we can get into our face.

Right? So the impact of digestion and stress levels is very real. It's very real on what's happening in our body. When we eat mindfully, we can take the time to chew our food thoroughly. Like this is a huge thing. We aid the digestive process right from the very start.

Proper chewing breaks down the food into those smaller particles, easing the workload on the stomach like I've talked about and facilitating the nutrients that can be absorbed into the intestines. Additionally, mindful eating promotes relaxation. Okay, did you know this? That when you're eating mindfully and aware, you are activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which actually will help to support your body for optimal.

digestion. So your parasympathetic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that turns on for rest and digest. It's the calm part of your nervous system, right? So when you are calm in your presence with your food, you are allowing that to be optimized. You're allowing that to turn on. When we eat a meal in this way, we are saying to the body, you are safe to stop and nourish yourself. We don't have to rush through this.

There's no stress, there's no, there's nothing that is going to need to be taken care of at this time, right? Conversely, rushing through meals or eating under that stress response of the sympathetic nervous system, that is when you can get the hindering of your digestion. And it also can increase the likelihood of those GI discomforts, right? As I mentioned before, when we are distracted while eating, we're more

Victoria (20:40.897)

prone to overeating because we are not aware of our body's signal that, hey, I'm full, we're done now, like we can stop, right? As we fail to register the satiety signal. So the satiety signals, if you don't know or are unaware, are the signals that your body literally sends to your brain to say, okay, we're good. We are sufficiently suffunctified and we do not need any more food, right? So when we're distracted,

We don't hear those things. We are distracting our brains so our brain's not paying attention or aware of the fact that we should have stopped eating because our bodies is full. It's got enough. It's good. So this is a major part of why I feel there is the weight gain issues that I've been experiencing, the digestive issues that can happen immediately or become chronic.

over time, right? Okay, so now you know that rushing through your meals is not great. You know that maybe you already have been talking with your practitioners and you know that you are experiencing that adrenal fatigue. You know that you are in hormonal chaos. You are getting the bloating and you know that...

You know that you're like me maybe and you're sitting down to eat just a shovel food in your face because one maybe like me you were like I need to eat because I can't be starving. But at the same time you're not doing it mindfully right. And you're not looking at it as a way to nourish your body and to love your body. But maybe you're stuck in that mindset of diet or my body requires this. So so now what?

We're aware of it. We are present with this knowledge. Now what? So I suggest starting with these five super, super simple, super practical tips that can help you. They've helped me. Like I said, these are the things that I've implemented to help me switch from rushed, stressed out eating that is causing me bloating and gas and fatigue to a nourishing meal that I feel.

Victoria (23:07.233)

when I'm eating it provides love for my body. It's like a hug to my body that's like, you know what, we got you, you need some energy. I'm gonna sit and be present with this amazing meal that I've already prepared and put so much love and thought into, and I'm gonna actually be present with this meal. Okay, so first and foremost, set aside a dedicated time for your meals.

Make sure it is free from distractions and start by blocking off time that will be for your meals. Okay. Listen to your body. I find that big meals during the day are really hard on my system. So I take smaller meals to work and I take snacks to work. And what I have done is I have gone into my schedule and I have blocked off my lunches so that I cannot take clients in that time.

to allow myself the opportunity to actually sit and be present. And I've also blocked off enough time so that I can sit and be present and eat and maybe read a book and maybe go for a walk. But I am making sure that I am allowing this opportunity to connect with my lunchtime, my midday meal. I do know that I need to eat.

Because I'm up so early and I you know do my meat my first meal pretty early I do know that I need to eat by like 1230 at the latest So I went in and I scheduled myself a lunch. It's a date with me and I am committing to this moving forward that I will not be shoving food in my face and Feeling like shit for the rest of the day, right?

The second thing that you can do is to start to practice gratitude before eating. Acknowledge the effort that went into preparing your meal. Acknowledge that everything from the farmer right through to you taking the time and preparing this for yourself and putting it in the container to take to work or however it is that you're doing. But be grateful for each and every step that that food took to get to you.

Victoria (25:23.777)

and acknowledge that you have food. Be grateful that you have food here to enjoy. Third, chew. Straight up, guys, chew. Chew each bite thoroughly, right? In some of the studies I read, it said that we should be chewing at least 30 times per mouthful. Now, I did try this with some foods. This is not possible. It makes things not great.

But if you're taking like a big textured bite of something, make sure that you're actually chewing it. And like I said, because your saliva breaks down carbohydrates, if you're swallowing your carbohydrates whole, there's a whole step of digestion that's completely missing from that. So maybe it's not the carbs that are causing you problems. Maybe it's the fact that you're not actually chewing them.

I think thoughts for today. And then engage your senses. Notice the color, the texture, the aroma. Allow yourself to use your, all of your senses, right? Look at your food. How does, like, what colors do you see? Your food should be beautiful and colorful. Maybe not plated beautiful, but you know what I mean? There should be lots of beautiful colors in your food. There should be cool textures. There should be things that,

Excite you, smell it. How does it smell? Is it like, oh my gosh, I can't wait to eat this. It smells so delicious. Engage in the senses. Next, pause between your bites. This is something that I was super guilty of not doing. Literally, there's still food in my mouth, shoveling more food into my mouth, right? I live with four boys, four men, so that sounds horrible. I have three teenage kids.

kids and a husband. So yes, four boys. I watch them. They are quick eaters. They are shoveling food in their face. So this is something that I'm actually going to be discussing with them a little bit deeper because I want them to take the pause. I want them to allow time to really appreciate the flavors, to taste the food, to engage in the sensations of that food, right? Then also, lastly,

Victoria (27:49.089)

Listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Listen to the satiety hormones when they tell your brain, hey, we're full. And I know this is something that's very difficult for a lot of us. This is something that I battled with because how many of you were raised on the mentality that eat all your food, they're starving children in Africa, right? How many times in the 80s and

in the early nineties, did we hear that sentence or things like, are you not grateful for your food? Why didn't you finish your plate or eat everything on your plate over and over and over again? And that's great. And, you know, not that our parents were trying to do anything against us or like in a negative way, but that programming also disconnected us from our bodies cues. So.

take the food that you want, but if you don't get all the way through it, it's not the end of the world. You can make leftovers for the next day, right? But learning to listen to your body, I know for myself, this is something that I'm still working on because I get that sense of guilt when I look at my plate and I'm like, I am so full, but I still have, you know, like three quarters of a steak left and I can't imagine leaving it behind, even though I love.

you know, steak for breakfast the next day. So I am learning this as we go along, being okay with food being left on the plate, being okay with my body saying, you know what, I don't want both of those eggs, I only wanted one today. So learning to listen to your body's cues is a huge part of becoming mindful of what you eat. So how we eat matters just as much guys as what we are eating. It really does.

And by adapting a mindful approach to eating, we can enhance our digestion, reduce those stress levels and improve our overall wellbeing. So when we take the time to savor each bite, nourish not only our bodies, but also our minds and our souls with this beautiful act of ingesting food actually can be such a simple and beautiful thing. We start to shift away from that cortisol spikes.

Victoria (30:15.137)

that stressed out situation. So I'd love to hear from you. Are you the type of person that literally shoves food in your face all day long? Or are you the type of person that enjoys a beautiful sit down meal, taking time to feel and understand the food and to move into, you know, a cortisol reduced state for your body now? Or are you kind of a little bit of both? I love

a good evening dinner time where we all sit down and enjoy time together. But I also was stuck in that mentality of I gotta keep going, I gotta eat, I gotta go, I gotta eat, right? So I'd love to hear from you. What is, where are you at right now? Did you find this helpful? Are there tips that you're gonna start implementing? Are you going to book off time for your lunch? Are you going to actually get up from your desk?

and walk away and eat a nice meal on your own or in a group? What are you gonna do? I love to hear from you. Please like, share, and leave me a review so that I can continue to build this podcast in a way that helps and serves other people just like you.

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