Reed Vawter, MS, RDN, CSOWM, LD, Health Education Consultant
You’ve probably heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” But this is incomplete. It would be better to say, “you are what you digest.”
This might seem a subtle difference, but it’s a real one if you suffer from digestion issues. Gas, bloating, reflux, constipation, and diarrhea may not be fun to talk about, but they can be signs of poor digestion. And if you aren’t digesting your food properly, then you aren’t getting the full nutrition out of your meals.
Of course, these symptoms can indicate a more significant medical problem. So, if you are experiencing any of them, be sure to start by talking to your doctor.
But they can also be created by poor eating habits. If you frequently eat meals quickly, on-the-go, or while distracted, your eating style could be the culprit. And you might be able to improve things with just one change…
Banish your phone from your eating space!
Your cell phone can provide entertainment during meals, but it can also cause digestive problems! By removing your phone, you’ll probably eat more slowly, breathe better while eating, and reduce stress – all of which improve digestion.
When we’re distracted by our phones during meals, we tend to eat more quickly - this can cause us to gulp air during our meals. When trapped in our stomach, this air can create discomfort and lead to gas and bloating.
Removing your phone from meals will also encourage you to breathe slower. Try it out! I bet you’ll take more deep breaths while eating, chew your food more thoroughly, and feel more relaxed.
This relaxed state is really where the magic happens. Our body has two main modes: “fight or flight” and “rest and digest.” When we’re stuck in fight or flight mode, blood tends to flow away from the intestines and towards our muscles. This can cause poor, unpredictable, and uncomfortable digestion. But when we’re relaxed, our body is better able to process the food we eat.
It seems so simple. But I encourage you to try an experiment – set your phone (or tablet or computer) aside during your meals for just one week. Watch and see if your digestion improves. You might be surprised!
And don’t worry, you won’t miss anything. All those news articles, Facebook posts, and TikTok videos will still be there when you finish eating.