Many of us rush through the day without giving too much thought to what types of food we put in our bodies. And when we do, many seldom have time to truly enjoy the food, gobbling it down quickly before rushing off to the next event.
The outcome on our bodies is stressful and unhealthy living.
Slowly eating your food is extremely powerful to limit stress, enabling you to become a healthier you. By taking smaller bites and taking time to chew each bite slower and longer, you will not only enjoy your meal more thoroughly, but absorb more nutrients too!
Begin today and continue going forward with every meal. It only takes a few minutes, but can have amazing effects.
You might have heard of the Slow Food Movement that began in Italy almost two decades ago to stand against the unpleasant fast food movement. Pretty much everything that fast food is, Slow Food is the opposite.
If you read the Slow Food Manifesto, you’ll understand that it’s not just about health — it’s about a lifestyle. Whether you are interested in embracing that lifestyle or not, here are some powerful reasons it is important for you to be open to the simple act of eating slower:
1. Lose weight
By eating more slowly you’ll consume fewer calories – enough to lose 20 pounds within a year without doing anything different or eating anything different. That’s a whole 20 pounds! This occurs because it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full. When we eat fast, we can continue eating past the point where we are full – the “I’m stuffed!” feeling. When we eat slowly, we allow our bodies time to realize we are full. Ideally we should stop eating when we feel about 75-80% full. This will give your brain the proper amount of time to “catch-up.” There are many factors that help us lose weight, such as consuming healthy foods and getting proper exercise, in addition to slowing down and properly chewing your food.
2. Enjoy your food
Truly taking time to enjoy and taste your food is an important part of living. We should be eating foods that are not only nutritious for us, but that we enjoy eating too. Sometimes it is important to eat “sinful” food (desserts, fried foods, pizza, etc) from time to time. If you do, be sure to enjoy the process – slowly eating each bite. Not only will your taste buds love it, but your whole body will too by consuming less of that sinful food. Make sure your meals are not things you do rushed between events, but instead a part of life that we are made to thoroughly appreciate.
3. Better Digestion
By eating slower, you will chew your food better, which leads to better digestion. The physical aspect of digestion actually starts in the mouth by the mastication (chewing) of food and mixing with saliva. Therefore, the better you chew your food, the less work your stomach will have in breaking down the food. This can help giving you more energy and lead to fewer digestive problems.
4. Less Stress
Eating slowly and paying attention during our meal can be a great mindfulness exercise. Be in the moment, rather than rushing through a meal thinking about what you need to do next. When you eat, you should solely eat. This kind of mindfulness has been shown to lead a life that is less stressed and instead helps to create long-term happiness in a body that is thriving.
5. Rebel Against Fast Food and the Fast Life
Your body deserves to be treated the best it can. Most of us have some rebel in us that needs to let loose – which is a good thing! Our lives can be hectic, fast-paced, stressful and chaotic. This can make us live the “Fast Life” that can lead us to eating “Fast Food,” and eat it too quickly. This is a lifestyle that is degrading us, that can make us unhealthy, stressed out and unhappy. We hurry through our day, doing one mindless task after another, without truly taking the time to live our life, enjoying each other and ourselves. Instead, try taking time to eat more slowly. Pick one day a week to consciously eat more slowly. Find a setting that is pleasant to you. Then as you eat put down your fork between each bite, chewing your food thoroughly, without any distractions, such as TV or cells phones. Enjoy the peacefulness of eating by yourself or eating with those you cherish dearly.
Don’t eat Fast Food. Eat at a good restaurant that takes pride in where their food comes from, what ingredients they use and in the way they cook their food. Or better yet, cook your own food and enjoy it fully. Taste life to it’s fullest, the way it is supposed to be.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are common in sports involving landing from a jump, sudden deceleration, cutting and pivoting. The majority of ACL injuries are noncontact injuries (3, 8, 18). Research has shown that female athletes are 4 to 6 times greater risk of injuring their ACL than male athletes playing similar sports (1, 2, 15).
How to help prevent knee/ACL injuries? In short…
The 2 biggest problems linked to ACL injuries:
1. Posterior chain deficiencies – weak hamstrings, glutes and spinal erectors
2. Poor deceleration mechanics – jumping and turning
5 Factors to Help Prevent ACL Injuries:
1. Lower limb alignment – proper lifting mechanics (athletic position)
2. Muscular strength – posterior chain and stabilizer strength
3. Neuromuscular activation – faster hamstring reaction time, proper deceleration/jumping and turning mechanics (jump stop, toe landings)
4. Training/conditioning level – muscular endurance, muscle memory/proprioception
5. Dynamic Warm-up
Recent article in the NY Times about ACL injuries in female basketball players: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/sports/ncaabasketball/27acl.html?_r=1&emc=eta1
In More detail, what research shows us is there are several intrinsic and extrinsic factors have been suggested to be contributing to the increased risk of ACL injuries in female athletes (2, 8, 12).
Causes – two categories:
1. Intrinsic Factors:
a. Muscle strength – weaker hamstrings in relation to the athlete’s quadriceps
b. Neuromuscular activation / control
2. Extrinsic Factors:
a. Sport activity
b. Training / conditioning level
From of the above factors, the most important factor is neuromuscular control (8). Neuromuscular control within the knee is the unconscious activation of muscles crossing the knee joint in response to sensory stimuli. During athletic movements, the kinematics (body’s motion without consideration of the forces that cause the motion) and kinetics (causes of motion) are what lead the athletes to an ACL injury (4, 5).
Typical Injury Scenario(s): Most commonly when the athlete suddenly stops and turns resulting in a sudden deceleration for the lower limb in addition with a forceful hyperextension (straightening) of the knee or femoral rotation. Also, occurs when an athlete lands in an extended knee position or “toe lands” position when jumping. These positions are extremely unstable and when tied with a forceful quadriceps contraction, can be significant contributors to ACL injuries.
When athletes perform athletic movements such as landing from a jump, cutting and decelerating, there is a large interaction within the knee joint to maintain functional joint stability between ligaments, soft tissues and bone-on-bone forces (4, 13).
3 Neuromuscular Control Imbalances common in female athletes and place the athlete at an increased risk of serious knee injury:
1. Ligament Dominance
a. Valgus Movement or knock-knee position - When ground reaction forces (GRF) within athletic movements are absorbed by knee ligaments (9). Most commonly occurs in running and cutting movements (14, 16), landing from a vertical jump (5, 6, 7, 10) and landing from a backward jump (5).
2. Quadriceps Dominance
a. Female athletes tend to generate less hamstring force relative to body size, more quadriceps force and activate their quadriceps before their hamstrings in comparison to men.
b. When the tibia tends to shift forward, which can result in an ACL injury, female athletes tend to activate their quadriceps to stabilize the knee, whereas male athletes tend to utilize their hamstrings (11). The hamstrings have a line of pull that can pull the tibia backwards, decreasing the stress on the ACL (17).
3. Core Stability
a. The muscles that maintain proper alignment of the lumbo pelvic-hip complex are hip external rotators, gluteal muscles, hamstrings, abdominal muscles, quadratus lumborum, erector spinae and multifidus. Weak core muscles are a contributing factor to increased valgus movement at the knee with repetitive jumping (19).
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10. HEWETT, T.E., A.L. STROUPE, T.A. NANCE, AND F.R. NOYES. Plyometric training in female athletes. Decreased impact forces and increased hamstring torques. Am. J. Sports Med. 24(6): 765–773. 1996.
11. HUSTON, L.J., AND E.M. WOJTYS. Neuromuscular performance characteristics in elite female athletes. Am. J. Sports Med. 24(4):427–436. 1996.
12. LEPHART, S.M., C.M. FERRIS, AND F.H. FU. RISK factors associated with noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injuries in female athletes. Instr. Course Lect. 51:307–310. 2002.
13. LEPHART, S.M., AND B.L. RIEMANN. The role of mechanoreceptors in functional joint stability. In: Prevention of Noncontact ACL Injuries. L.Y. Griffin, ed. Hunt Valley, MD: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2001. pp. 45–52.
14. MALINZAK, R.A., S.M. COLBY, D.T. KIRKENDALL, B. YU, AND W.E. GARRETT. A comparison of knee joint motion patterns between men and women in selected athletic tasks. Clin. Biomech. (Bristol, Avon). 16(5):438– 445. 2001.
15. MALONE, T.R., W.T. HARDAKER, W.E. GARRETT, J.A. FEAGIN, AND F.H. BASSETT. Relationship of gender to anterior cruciate ligament injuries in intercollegiate basketball players. J. South. Orthop. Assoc. 2:36–39. 1993.
16. MCLEAN, S.G., S.W. LIPFERT, AND A.J. VAN DEN BOGERT. Effect of gender and defensive opponent on the biomechanics of sidestep cutting. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 36(6):1008–1016. 2004.
17. O’CONNOR, J.J. Can muscle co-contraction protect knee ligaments after injury or repair? J. Bone Joint Surg. Br. 75(1):41–48. 1993.
18. OLSEN, O.E., G. MYKLEBUST, L. ENGEBRETSEN, AND R. BAHR. Injury mechanisms for anterior cruciate ligament injuries in team handball: A systematic video analysis. Am. J. Sports Med. 32(4):1002–1012. 2004.
19. SOMMER, H.M. Patellar chondropathy and apicitis, and muscle imbalances of the lower extremities in competitive sports. Sports Med. 5(6):386–394. 1988.
Hello, my name is Stacy Phillips, licensed Functional Nutritionist and Holistic Health, Wellness and Strength & Conditioning Coach with a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine practicing whole-foods nutrition and physical training to individuals around the globe.
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