by Terry Tangredi, Lic. Ac.
> Always chew slowly and thoroughly. Digestion begins with saliva in the mouth. It’s been reported that people eat much faster and unconsciously today than in the past. This may be because of our multi-tasking hurried lifestyles or from unconsciously eating in front of the TV or in the car on the run. Eating slowly gives the brain time to register feeling satiated. It can take 20 – 30 minutes for your brain to register feeling satiated. This is why eating with others, enjoying conversation and leisurely eating food may be one of the reasons why the French are thin in spite of a high fat diet.
> Eat only until 70% full. The main message here is not to over eat by feeling ‘stuffed’. The ancient Chinese recognized the need for the stomach to actively churn the food. If there’s no room for the churning of our stomach then we will experience heart burn or the food will be processed through without benefit of complete digestion.
> Eat predominately vegetables either lightly sauteed or steamed, and use meat (animal protein) as a condiment or flavoring. Guidelines are to eat 3 oz. of animal protein per day, which is about the size of your cell phone.
> Eat more raw fruits and vegetables to cool an over heated stomach. (In Chinese Medicine excess hunger is called ‘stomach fire’.) Celery, lettuce, green leafy vegetables and cooked cabbage is especially helpful.
> Green drinks such as wheat grass, spirulina or micro algae also cool stomach fire.
> Avoid a lot of foods that inflame the stomach like meats, fried foods, nuts, seeds, salty and warming flavors like garlic, onions, cinnamon, ginger, cumin and hot peppers.
> Liquids and foods should be neither too hot or too cold. Heat creates an acidic environment and cold paralyzes the digestion.
> Avoid drinking too much with meals, this dilutes the digestive juices. Drink water without ice or herb tea 10 – 20 minutes before meals. A small amount of water about 4 oz. is okay with meals.
> Try to be consistent with meal times as the stomach likes regularity. Do not skip meals or become overly hungry as this may lead to overeating of a quick fix ‘junk food’ binge.
> Do not eat past 7 PM at night. Instead use herbal teas or green drinks to satisfy hunger.