No News is Good Chews

Updated: Nov 1

Did you know that you can switch on specific hormones to optimize your digestions, nourishment and metabolism? Do you multitask while eating? Driving and dinning, scrolling while eating, watching the news while you chew...may be affecting you more than you know.


Part of your survival is credited to your “Fight Flight” response, also known as the Sympathetic System. It is extremely well orchestrated and absolutely needed for times under real attack. It allows you to ‘bolt’ to safety, from a mammoth or a mouse. Big or small, animal or spouse, tyrant or traffic, the same response kicks in and it kicks in quickly. For that you can be thankful, or mankind might not be here today. If you walk into the emergency of a hospital, the staff are gifted with using the “Fight Flight” system to make quick decisions and you wouldn’t want it any other way. Quick decisions that are life or death altering. However, the odds of you needing to flee from a mammoth, or make life altering decisions while eating are slim to none. Nevertheless, driving in slow traffic while in a hurry, arguing with your teenagers or spouse can trigger the same response. While that is optimal for quick survival, your internal chemistry bears the brunt. When your systems operate as though you are under attack and keep in mind these stresses occur every day, through the day, your floods with a cascade of corresponding hormones.


Once the “Fight Flight” response is triggered, it swiftly elevates your heart rate. The brain switches on all mechanisms to fuel your muscles by releasing stored sugar from your liver, called glycogen. Even your digestion wanes so that all energy is reserved for strength or to flee. However, as you drive in traffic under the stress response, it is highly unlikely your well stocked muscles will be used to bolt. Now imagine you are eating your sandwich while driving, in the ‘hustle bustle’ or watching a horror movie while eating, what is your heart rate doing? Remember big or small stress, you are in stress response. If you can maintain calm and cool while speeding and digesting, you are unique. Your conscious mind needs to be in overdrive above the subconscious to operate while your digestion is in the Indy 500. Do you have digestive disorders? How well are you absorbing and digesting? Do you see the connection? Multitasking and the ‘Fight Flight’ are not a good mix for digestion. Not only does your body slow down digestion under this response, but you risk being supplied with more sugar (glycogen). Your pancreas then needs to supply you with more insulin than it needed for the sandwich in the first place. There is nothing wrong with insulin, you need it to survive but it is a fat storing hormone and therefore pointing to the bread alone misses majority of the problem. Moreover, one of the major hormones involved in stress episodes is cortisol. Cortisol is also a fat storing hormone. Consequently, you are now eating your sandwich with ‘a side of dessert" and an "extra scoop of ice-cream too’. While I am kidding to some degree, suffice it to say, you’re breathing while whisking through the kitchen chewing on a forkful, is making way to heartburn or other digestive complications later. The way you breath while eating matters!


HELPFUL HORMONES

You have approximately 50 hormones in your body and each with their own unique role. They respond like well-trained troops on command ready to help just as they were programed to, and your mind is the Commander. When you breathe in a specific rhythm, signals occur between the Mind and Body to be interpreted like Mores code to your ‘Hormone Troops’ to respond. Your hormones do not just decide on their own, they respond by your minds command. Your hormones are enlisted to march and create blood flow or your eyes to widen from your instantaneous thought, that triggers your breathing. I’m emphasizing this as there is a tendency to blame your body which is in the wrong order. Blaming ‘Emotional Eating’ on your hormones or feelings will leave the whole story hidden and unexposed like a landmine, as you tiptoe around it while it is ready to explode at any moment. You, however, can become a mastermind for your hormones and master of a switch. While the “Fight Flight” has been your primal response for centuries, you can use your conscious mind to enlist a whole other cascade effect, that one day could become a primary response.


DNA DECODING

You have access to a master switch! You are familiar with the “Fight Flight” system but there is another system too. The Parasympathetic system, otherwise known as the “Rest, Create, Digest” response. For simplicity, I will refer to this as the “Rest and Repair” (R&R) system. The "R&R" system is also extremely well-designed, but entirely different results. Calm, deep breathing triggers your "R&R" to produce pleasure hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. As their name indicates, they produce resting digestion which can allow for more absorption of nutrients while fill up quicker too. The "R&R" response used before bed can even help you sleep better as well as help with creative thinking. In civilization, the "Fight Flight" response was passed down across generations through DNA and subconscious adaptations. Your grandparents or great-grandparents automatically used these skills to gather and ration foods. A batch of cookies might feed 7 kids while today, grocery stores on every corner have 2 for 1 sales. Your brain can be triggered by this persuasive purchasing as marketers have learned these subliminal triggers. Bringing them home to a well-stocked house and less mouths to feed is where it all changed and where the new navigation begins. The mindset hasn’t caught up to a trend that is only a couple decades old. Your parents recently came from lack to what you now have by comparison called an abundance, but you haven’t been taught how to traverse.


If you were told “eat what’s on your plate” or felt the need to compete for food with your siblings, you may still subconsciously carry this “DNA” into your marriage. There was a conditioning in past where every meal might be the “last supper.” It was "feast or famine"! Even preparing dinner when you get home can feel like you are in some competition in a cooking show rushing to get it to the table. You might compare what’s on your spouse’s plate or on others at a restaurant. You and I have been hardwired to compete to survive. The reality now is however, there is a store down the street that has what you need. Your parents or grandparents could not teach what they did not know, they taught what they knew. You however are a trendsetter. You have exposed the root source and have access to a switch. You can reprogram and recode.


The good news is that you have a chose. You can switch off the panic, the competition, and slow down to enjoy your meal. Technically there’s more leisure time than the in previous generations. Unfortunately, by in large, that leisure time has been filled with screen time. Even meals are spent watching screens. I could talk about how this affects socialization, but this concern is how your mind is operating while eating and the impact not seen with dis-ease. First, the mind being on two things at once means you may not be paying attention to what you are eating and ‘skip’ past being full. Studies not only show you risk eating more but psychologically you might not feel the satisfaction of eating and reach for more later. More importantly and overlooked is what you are watching. Are you watching the news that triggers you back into the “Fight Flight” response taking your digestions into the race too? While devastations may appear to be happening on the screen, you are being ‘attacked internally also.


If you consciously calm and slowly breath in through your nose and out through your mouth as though you are blowing through a straw, roughly 3 times, you are initiating your R&R system. There isn’t a scenario where you are calmly breathing through your mouth in this fashion that you brain will interpret that you are unsafe. The brain reads your breathing carefully and signals the subsequent cocktail of hormones. In this case, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin come to your R&R rescue. Below are their main positive functions to serve you.

1) Serotonin: Mood Stabilizer: activated by walking, resting, meditation, chocolate

2) Dopamine: Rewarder: celebrating wins, self-care actives, eating

3) Oxytocin: Lover: Being with pets, music, giving a gift, holding a baby

How you breathe in times of chaos, political upheaval, or times of struggle compared to holding a baby is vastly different. Become an observer of your thoughts and breathing while you ‘chew’ and you can master the switch to not only enhance digestion, but you also fill up quicker. If your thoughts go unnoticed and you begin to feel anxious, breath and “all roads lead back to the mind” and remember ‘no news is good chews’.

Part of your survival is credited to your “Fight Flight” response, also known as the Sympathetic System. It is extremely well orchestrated and absolutely needed for times under real attack. It allows you to ‘bolt’ to safety, from a mammoth or a mouse. Big or small, animal or spouse, tyrant or traffic, the same response kicks in and it kicks in quickly. For that you can be thankful, or mankind might not be here today. The staff in the hospital I mentioned were using the “Fight Flight” system to make quick decisions and you wouldn’t want it any other way. Quick decisions that are life or death altering. However, the odds of you needing to flee from a mammoth, are slim to none. My experience of hanging on the rope for a scuba dive was in “Fight Flight Freeze”. Nevertheless, driving in slow traffic while in a hurry, having teenagers or arguing with your spouse can trigger the same response. Your internal systems operate as though you are under attack and these stresses are occurring every day and through the day. Are you quick to anger and as your body floods with a cascade of certain hormones, Is that your hormones fault?

Once the “Fight Flight” response is triggered, it swiftly elevates your heart rate. The brain switches on all mechanisms to fuel your muscles by releasing stored sugar from your liver, called glycogen. Even your digestion wanes so that all energy is reserved for strength or to flee. However, as you drive in traffic under the stress response, it is highly unlikely your well stocked muscles will be used to bolt. Now imagine you are eating your sandwich while driving, in the ‘hustle bustle’ or watching a horror movie while eating, what is your heart rate doing? Remember big or small stress, you are in stress response. If you can maintain calm and cool while speeding and digesting, you are unique. Your conscious mind needs to be in overdrive above the subconscious that is operating like you are in the Indy 500. Do you have digestive disorders? How well are you absorbing and digesting? Do you see the connection? Multitasking alone while eating can switch you into the ‘Fight Flight’. Not only does your body slow down digestion under this response, but you risk being supplied with more sugar (glycogen). Your pancreas then needs to supply you with more insulin than it needed for the sandwich in the first place. There is nothing wrong with insulin, you need it to survive but it is a fat storing hormone and it may not be the bread that’s the problem. Moreover, one of the major hormones involved in stress episodes is cortisol. Cortisol is also a fat storing hormone. Consequently, you are now eating your sandwich with ‘a side of dessert and an extra scoop of ice-cream too’. While I am kidding to some degree, suffice it to say, you’re breathing while whisking through the kitchen chewing on a forkful, is making way to heartburn or other digestive complications later. The way you breath while eating matters!








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