Will Williams, founder of Will Williams Meditation, teaches us that it is not just what you eat that’s important, it’s also the way you eat...
"I have studied many dietary systems and one of the things that struck me when studying ancient Indian wisdom was the understanding that it is not just what you eat that’s important, it’s also the way you eat.
Are you guilty of eating ‘Al desko’ as is so common in our screen-heavy world? If so, the stimulation of the screen will cause your digestion to begin shutting down due to the over-activation of your Sympathetic Nervous System. It doesn’t matter how high quality the produce on your plate, if you can’t digest it, you won’t benefit from it and you may as well be toxified by it.
When you eat mindfully, you also tend to chew more slowly and more fully. This is so important as it allows the amylase in your saliva to begin breaking down the food chemically, and for your chewing action to mechanically break it all down before it reaches the stomach.
Taking time to really savour the flavours properly also activates the appropriate digestive juices entering your stomach so that you can break the food down in the most appropriate way. Being distracted whilst eating may disconnect you and your body from what you’re eating and knowing what to do with it.
Eating mindfully will also allow you to tune into when your body has had its sufficient fill. One of the startling features of modern culture is how much we automatically try and eat until we’re full, indeed consuming everything until we’re filled up to the brim. But that’s not going to allow your body to sing with vitality. Our digestion tends to work best when the stomach is up to 70% full. It’s a bit like doing the laundry. Fill the drum completely and the clothes won’t launder so well. Fill it up to 70%, and the clothes launder wonderfully well. So tune into your stomach and allow your body to tell you when its happy and sated.
It’s also worth being mindful of the time you eat. Our digestion has a rhythm that peaks and troughs at different times of day. It is strongest in the middle of the day, and begins to quieten down after dark. So being mindful of eating things that will be properly digestible at the times of day you are eating them will be a great support to your ability to metabolise fully your forthcoming plate of deliciousness. If eating salads or raw stuff, perhaps lean towards eating that for lunch or early evening. If eating late, go for something that can be digested more easily, and eat smaller portions so that your digestion isn’t overwhelmed nor your sleep disturbed."
Will Williams is an independent teacher of Vedic meditation, and works with individuals to help them achieve balance, success and personal growth in all areas of their personal and professional lives. You can find out more about Will over on the Will Wiliams Meditation website.