Recently, our juicer started checking out. We’d put the usual amount of veggies in but only half the juice came out. The situation had reached critical. It was time we stopped denying it.
My gorgeously healthy flat mate and I sat down over a glass of wine the other evening to discuss the devastating situation. We were wasting so many vegetables. We were losing so many nutrients. Should we stop juicing until we get a new juicer?
We both fell silent in sad contemplation. That juicer was well loved. We knew what must be done, but weren’t quite ready to accept it.
When your digestion is working well, you’ll get maximum nutrients from the food you eat with minimum wastage. But when it’s faulty, a lot of the good stuff will go unprocessed and end up being flushed down the toilet.
Fat loss is a massively nutrient hungry process. To do all that extra work your body needs a whole lot more nutrients to keep the metabolism furnaces burning strongly.
But when it comes to fat loss, most people only ever talk about the food you eat and the exercise you do. Of course these things are important, but what may be even more important is how well you digest the food you eat.
Digestion is a complex multi-phase process. Luckily for us, it turns out that 50% of our digestive power actually comes from a single stage that is extremely easy to optimise. In fact, it’s controlled completely by our mind…
No you’re not crazy. Your digestive system has evolved to fire up and be ready to go before food hits your stomach.
Your brain knows it’s time to prepare the minute you start thinking about, looking at, smelling, and finally tasting, that delicious meal. When you see and smell that Asian stir-fry or roast vegetables cooking, the parts of your brain that control digestion fire up. Your brain then sends messages to your stomach and pancreas via your vagus nerve telling them to start pumping out digestive enzymes. All this happens before you swallow a single bite.
Pretty fascinating right?
This first phase of digestion is called the Cephalic phase and it’s like that vital first domino in a long line of dominos. You’ve got to ramp up this first phase to get the rest moving. That’s why the cephalic phase, the first part of digestion is THE most important digestive phase of all.
So what happens when you’re not paying attention to your food? What happens when you are eating but your mind is distracted by watching TV, finishing that report or driving your car? Well if you don’t tip that first domino, you won’t properly fire up the rest of your digestion. And if you aren’t digesting properly, your gut is just like our broken juicer, meaning you’ll only get half the nutrients from your food – not to mention less than half the satisfaction.
Essentially it translates to this:
Distracted eating = Impaired digestion = Less nutrients absorbed = Less fat burning capacity
I think you’re up to this. Don’t you?
Which of your daily habits distract you from fully powering up your cephalic phase of digestion? Which little habits can you adopt to improve it?
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Who's Behind FYAM?
I’m Melanie Stephens a qualified nutritionist, chef and workout enthusiast who’s wildly passionate about helping people get healthy, lean and energised so they can lead truly exceptional lives of their own design.
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