Food Journal Observations
It’s been about a month now since I started food journaling — writing down what I eat, drink and supplements that I take on a daily basis with close attention to how my body reacts. I’ve also noted how I feel both mentally and physically before and after eating.
I have noticed trends with certain foods that aggravate the eczema breakouts I get on my hands — namely oats (even gluten free) and most gluten free breads.
An interesting thing that I’ve noted when eating gluten free breads or tortillas is that after consumption, my body temperature drops. I know that the thyroid plays a key role in body temperatures, which makes me wonder if these gluten free grains are affecting my thyroid?
As I mentioned in a previous post, I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s — an auto immune dysfunction where the body essentially attacks the thyroid gland. I have heard of people combating this condition by cutting grains from the diet. Hmmm…..
When I get eczema flares on my hands, I’ve been testing my PH levels (via my urine with PH testing paper) and have noted that during these times, I am more acidic. This makes sense, given the fact that an acidic environment in the body causes inflammation. While my hands are an outside visual of this, it also makes me wonder how acidity levels are affecting endometriosis in my insides.
Admittedly, I’ve slacked this past month with drinking my green juice every day. But I’ve noticed that when I do juice, my PH levels are perfectly balanced and I have less eczema flares and less pain 🙂
I’ve also noticed negative reactions when I consume sugar. And I’ve noticed emotional eating patterns with dark chocolate (my favorite). I tend to go for this when I am stressed out or unhappy with something.
The first step is to recognize the symptoms right? 🙂
Giving Attention to Eating
The practice of writing this all down has in turn made me more mindful of my food choices and for the past week or so I’ve taken this a step further and given more attention to the act of physically eating my food.
I’ve been known to eat while distracted — while reading, watching TV, browsing the Internet, or working, even walking, Lol. When I eat while distracted, not enough attention is paid to the act of eating. I may gulp down my food or not really take in the true flavor of things.
I don’t think that I am alone in this practice. I’ve heard many accounts of how distracted eating can lead to weight gain — as we are not paying attention to how much food we are consuming nor our body’s signals that tell us when we are full.
So in ways of mindful eating, I’ve made a point of eating my meals sitting at my kitchen table with no distractions, only focus on my food. When at work, I’ve developed a habit of eating my lunch at my desk. Instead, the past week or so, I’ve stepped away and eaten my food at a table in the break room, again, undistracted.
By removing distractions and focusing on my food, I’ve found renewed pleasure in the act of eating — of tastes and textures and subtle appreciation that this food is going to nourish my body 🙂
Chew, Chew, Chew
By given attention to the act of eating, I’ve also been focusing on a very important factor in digestion — that is chewing my food.
This is something that I’ve surely struggled with. I tend to eat too fast. Often times, life is rushed and eating is kind of a chore…. you know? My lunches at work are short and my life outside of work is busy so I eat quickly so that I can move on with whatever else I have to do.
Why should we focus on chewing? The act of chewing is one of the first steps in the digestive process. Saliva lubricates the food, making it easier to pass through the esophagus and saliva also contains enzymes that contribute to the digestive process.
By chewing our food we relax the pylorus — a muscle at the end of the stomach. By relaxing this muscle, food is more readily moved through the digestive tract.
When food is not chewed and large chunks of food go in, incomplete digestion occurs. These chunks of food are more likely to get stuck in the colon — lending way to a breeding ground for bad bacteria.
I find when I eat too fast that many times I have undigested food in my stools — this is a signal that my body is not absorbing the nutrients from the food that I am eating.
It is recommended to chew each bite of food upwards of 50 times. This is a lot, I know 🙂 I think if we are able to accomplish 20-30 chews, that this is a vast improvement.
On the Positive Side?
Having a healthy digestive system is a major component in healing. It is important for our bodies to receive nourishment from our food and for things to break down properly so our gut remains free from bad bacteria that impact the functioning of our immune system.
By taking the time to appreciate food, undistracted, and chewing, chewing, chewing I have noticed better bowel movements (bonus, lol)
And I think by taking focus on the act of eating that I’ve been less stressed. As if, eating was a break from the world — which it should be 🙂
All the actions of food journaling, undistracted eating and chewing have made me more mindful of my food choices and more mindful of the effects these choices have on my body. I believe that getting in touch with the body is key to healing as well.
I’ve picked up on the fact that grains are aggravating me, so at this point I am going to try and cut down on them with consideration of cutting them out for a period of time.
Do you food journal? Or make it a point to focus on your eating? On the tastes and flavors? Found a positive impact from this? Would love to hear from you 🙂
Much love and chewing till next time 🙂