We’re all guilty of it – slaving over a hot stove to make dinner and then simply plonking ourselves in front of the TV to eat it. But it turns out that this behaviour is causing all sorts of digestive issues, including the dreaded bloating.
And it’s not just about the position we sit in to eat, it’s also how mindful we are whilst chowing down. According to a nutritional therapist, TV dinners disrupt the defined stages of digestion in a very specific way.
Hannah Braye told Cosmopolitan that the cephalic stage of eating happens before the first bite is taken. It’s all to do with sight, smell and the thought of food. This anticipation primes the body to release 20 per cent of the secretions for digesting a meal.
If you’re sat in front of the telly and gripped by the latest drama on Netflix, then you’re not going to be focused on what you’re eating. This means cutting out much of the anticipation and loading food into a body that hasn’t been suitably primed to receive it.
Skipping the cephalic stage has been linked to bloating, which doesn’t leave you with a good feeling about the food you’ve just eaten. It’s also been said that people eat more when watching the telly, as they’re not regulating what they’re putting into their mouths.
Ms Braye says: “Give your food the attention it deserves. Turn off the TV and computer and get away from your desk at lunch. Focus on the anticipation of eating along with the flavours, textures and smells of each mouthful.”
This is called mindful eating and is something that’s quite hard to do in this modern age when there’s so many distractions around. Having a dining room table and actually using it for dining is getting rarer and rarer, but if you can get good habits into your kids it might help their digestion for the rest of their lives.
There’s so much emphasis on what we eat, with all sorts of conflicting advice about healthy ingredients, but less focus on how we eat it. If you’ve spent all that time chopping, blanching, braising and resting, it’s worth making sure you have the opportunity to enjoy it without wondering what’s going to happen next in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Apart from switching off the TV, there are a number of other ways to ensure that you’re eating mindfully. They include listening to your body and eating only up to the point where you feel full; sitting down to eat when your stomach tells you it’s ready; and thinking about the food and where it came from.