“Lets get together for coffee and talk”; “Why don’t we go for a quick bite to eat and figure this out”; or “We’ll talk about this issue over dinner”. Strangely enough, North Americans have decided that reconciling our issues or bringing up new concerns is an appropriate thing to do over food. But the timing for this couldn’t be more off…
Do you ever notice when you’re nervous about something that all of a sudden you have to run to the washroom? Or when you are truly stressed out or anxious you totally lose your otherwise ravishing appetite? It’s not a coincidence, our bodies do this for good reason; it’s our physiology. We cannot have a nervous response and digest food at the same time – it’s not physically possible. Our bodies function in one of two ways: ‘fight or flight’ or ‘rest and digest’.
In fight or flight, our sympathetic nervous system responds to stress in the following ways: increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and blood sugar. Blood, oxygen and nutrients are shunted to the periphery and muscles to mobilize most of our energy rapidly, in order to cope with threats of survival (or a perceived threat; an intense conversation or argument for example). During fight or flight, digestion gets put on the back burner, and the body tries to simply avoid, or get rid of any undigested food.
While we are in rest and digest however, our digestive system is happy! Our energies are focused on the gut, so we can properly break down, assimilate, and eliminate our food. This is the biological opposite of fight or flight. Here, the parasympathetic activity dominates, and the body performs healing, regeneration and detoxification. Now it’s time to eat.
Arranging a heated discussion over food or drink really just isn’t a good idea. It can massively disrupt digestion, which frankly, can only make matters worse ;). Secondly, we are definitely not being mindful of our food if we’re having an upsetting chat while we eat. Many of us don’t even bring our attention to tasting or chewing our food let alone put our forks down between bites. The first step to improving digestion, and probably the outcome of our arguments, is to separate the two actions completely.
So the next time you find yourself in a disagreement, with let’s say your boyfriend or a family member, don’t suggest meeting up for a coffee to mend things. (Btw, according to Ayurveda, drinking warm beverages can promote anger or further inflame certain situations… so if you sense a heated convo coming on, offer a cold beverage to balance things out instead). Plan your meetings and confrontations away from meals. This will avoid unwanted indigestion, your mind will be clear, and the whole body will be hampered with one less area of exertion.
Laura Eansor, RRT, CNP is a Holistic Lifestyle Mentor and Power Foodie who’s mission is clear and simple; it is to help each individual find their own unique balance. Her intention is to give you the tools you need to move steadily forward with your life, bettering yourself every single day, radiating such a powerful glow that those around you want to achieve the same. She envisions a holistic health movement, where we inspire one another to love ourselves first, and at the same time, put our energies toward making our planet all that it can be. Check out her website here or find her on Instagram here.