Chew It Like Your Mama Told Ya!

15 09 2009

Hi friends!

If you’ve been following along with the blog, you know that digestion is a topic near and dear to me when it comes to health and fitness. 

When food doesn’t digest properly, your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs.  If it doesn’t have the nutrients, systems aren’t going to function optimally.  This includes recovering from your training.  And recovery from training is just AS IMPORTANT as the training itself.  Digestion of food begins in the mouth, both from a chemical standpoint and from the signals it sends to the rest of the digestive tract.  You need to give it the time it requires to get this intricate process underway.

Are you a food inhaler?  Do you eat without thinking much about it?  Do you eat when you are in a hurry, like between meetings, in the car, or at your desk?  (If you answered yes to any of these questions, are you also carrying any stubborn pounds that you feel you aren’t able to get rid of?)  

Whether it’s training recovery or weight loss that concerns you more, if you’re ready to get started on the road to better digestion, start following what your mama told ya: Chew your food!

Benefits of thoroughly chewing your food go well beyond better digestion.  It will force you to slow down a bit, think about what you are actually eating, and allow you to be more aware of your hunger signals.  If you consume your food too quickly, chances are you will also take in more calories than you need before your body has the chance to realize satiation.  Not only can this hamper your weight loss efforts, it can even put you on the fast track to weight gain.

Bloating, indigestion, and gas are just a few others on a long list of issues associated with eating too quickly. 

If you’re not sure whether you are chewing enough, start by counting to 30 chews with each bite of food.  Take a bite.  Put down your utensil.  And chew away to 30.  Repeat.  It seems really awkward at first, but it will definitely show you if you’ve been consuming your food too quickly.

So at your very next meal, start counting! Then drop me a comment and let me know how it’s going! 

chompers

On to yesterday’s feats & eats:

Weight Training (Chest/Biceps/Shoulders)

  • TM warmup plus arm swinging, self-hugging and shoulder circles to get the muscles warm!
  • DB Bench Press 4 working sets of 12, 9, 9, 8 reps
  • Tubing Chest Flyes 4 working sets of 15 reps
  • Upright DB Rows 3 working sets of 12 reps
  • EZ Bar Bicep Curls 4 working sets of 12 reps
  • Side Raises 4 working sets of 12, 10, 10, 12 reps
  • External Rotation (rotator cuff) 3 sets of 15, 20, 20 reps

I included a lot of chest stretching between sets. 

The morning just seemed to need the DIVA mug:

Pic3 186

Breakfast was Genesis toast with a drizzle of flaxseed oil and raw honey, with a side of Ezekial cereal crumbs, since that’s apparently all I left in the box from the last time.  If you like “Grape Nuts” try the Ezekial cereal (from sprouted grains).  It’s great with some almond milk (or milk, soy milk, whatever you like) poured in and then heated in the microwave just long enough to soften.  Eating it like cold cereal seems to just be asking for a broken crown…

Pic3 187

No midmorning snack this time.  Breakfast stuck to my ribs pretty well and I was busy, so I had a hefty salad at lunch to make up for no green smoothie!  And a side of veggie lasagna that I am STILL working on eating up after Friday’s dinner!  That turned out to be quite the economical dinner!  I still have one more sliver left!

Pic3 188

My midafternoon snack was almond milk and a scoop of Vega Chocolate — shaken not stirred.  😉

Pic3 189

With a side of bite-sized chocolate:

Pic3 196

Dinner was leftover Thai Lime Shrimp stirfry from my Sunday Whole Foods Adventure.  Holy burn my mouth spicy!  The thai peppers must have had a party in the to-go box overnight because this was crazy spicy reheated.  I’m talkin’  “make your eyes water and face sweat” hot!

Pic3 194

That was the sum of my Monday!  It was a great start to the week:  good intense weight workout and mighty tasty (and healthy) food.  Hope that your week has started off even better! 

Have a GREAT day!  See ya next time!  (And remember to chew your food!)

— Shari B. =)

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8 responses

15 09 2009
Cindy

That’s good FOOD FOR THOUGHT!
haha

I am getting regular cardio in finally!!! but now I seem to struggle with some light weights (and I mean with resistance bands and pilates and the like)

very LIGHT!

but still, getting the routine…ROUTINE is tricky!

that was quite the work out! made MY arms sore!

SMILES!!!

15 09 2009
Carrie

Great entry Shari! I have a question, though, that’s a bit off topic: How much water do you drink during the day? I’ve been guzzling water today at my desk (which makes for too many potty breaks!) and I realized that I haven’t read much on your blog about your water consumption. Do you drink it “plain,” flavored, or mostly in your smoothies? Just wondering!

P.S. The next time we’re together and have some time to spare, I’d LOVE to go to Whole Foods with you and have you show me how you grocery shop!

15 09 2009
Shari B. (FitFeat)

Hi Carrie! Great question about the water! I’ll make that the topic for tomorrow’s post 🙂

Also great suggestion on the recipe tab — I’ve been toying with ideas as to what info to put under tabs and categories – a recipe tab is one that I’ve considered. My main ‘challenge’ with that is I rarely keep track of what I’m putting in things! 🙂 I’ll have to get better about that! Often times I’ll go to allrecipes.com, find a recipe that sounds good, then I tweak it to fit my own nutrition needs! (I don’t like to measure because I’m what I call a “lazy cook” – too much measuring means more dirty dishes with the measuring cups & spoons!)

I’ll be doing more when I move to self-hosted (most likely October) so I’ll see about getting a recipes-type tab going.

Please feel free to offer suggestions anytime – this blog is for you guys so I want it to be info you want to see!

Thanks so much for the great questions and suggestions, and for reading!! Have a great night!

15 09 2009
Carrie

Oh, oh, I just thought of a blog suggestion (hope you don’t mind): Some of your recipes (like your basic green smoothie, your veggie chili, your veggie lasagna, etc.) would be easy to access after the day of the post if you had a Recipes tab at the top of your blog. What do you think? Whatever you do, keep writing those recipes down – I love getting food ideas from you!

15 09 2009
Joan

Great reminder Shari…I always eat too fast! Thanks

And I like Carrie’s request for recipes of your smoothies. Smoothies are not something I do or have done but would like to. Do you use a blender? Have you used the small personal, single use blenders or is there such a beast? Are they any good? I don’t have a blender and not much room to put a standard size one.

One last thing…how do you chest stretch. Something my massage therapist says I desperately need to do more of. Currently I do the “between the door posts” one. How many should I be doing? Questions, Questions, Questions!
Joan

16 09 2009
Shari B. (FitFeat)

Hi Joan,

Here is a link where you can see the chest stretch I do. This may be the one you are already doing. I prefer the single arm to doing both arms at once, because then I can angle one side of my body away from the door frame for a deeper stretch. Ideally for a good deep stretch you’d want to do this after your body is already warmed up (during or after exercise) to get the most ‘staying power’. I hold my stretch for 15-30 seconds then I contract the muscle briefly, and do the same stretch again only a little deeper.

As far as how many to do, I think you are asking how many different stretches for the chest area? If not, let me know. That would depend on where you want to increase your flexibility or how severe any tightness is. I would do that same stretch but change the height of the arm during your session to stretch the muscle in different ranges. If you are very tight in that area, I would even suggest doing your chest stretches multiple times every day because the elongation of the muscles can last anywhere from 90 minutes to 24 hours — so if you are trying to permanently improve the flexibility of that muscle it’s something you’ll need to stay on top of. I am a huncher at the computer, and my therapist would like me to stretch my chest every HOUR. I have never done every hour. Maybe 3 times a day at the most 😉

About blenders… I don’t think a handheld blender would work for blending the veggies as small as you’d need to drink them. Maybe something like ‘the bullet” blender would work (?) but I’ve never used one. (Is that what you mean by single use blender?) I have a “BlendTec Home” high speed blender which is similar to a VitaMix. We ‘splurged’ on this over a year ago because we use it multiple times every single day and wanted a really good one with a good warranty since we could quite easily break one from overuse! I will soon find out if a standard blender, like the Oster, works for green smoothies because that’s what I’ll have access to at my mom’s. So I’ll let you know on that. 🙂 I am wondering if maybe a food processor will work. I’ve not tried that either, but might have to give it a shot when I return from my trip.

Have a great day!
— Shari B. =)

16 09 2009
Shari B. (FitFeat)

Joan:
OK, this is weird… the comment “hyperlinked” my entire answer instead of inserting a link for you!! So click on any of the text in blue to take you to the strecth pic! Sorry about that! Not sure what happened!

16 09 2009
Joan

thanks for all the info Shari, I’ll definately stretch more often throughout the day, I think it is the same stretch I do with both arms and at 3 diff heights. And I do have a mini food processor I could try for the smoothies. Now I just need some recipes for ideas to get me started. I think the bullet was what I was wondering about, something small like that. I don’t know anything about the different brands but Amazon has a good system for rating them…I’ll read about it…thanks for the help! Have a great time with your family!

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