How to eat.

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Be relaxed.  After all, what is it to eat?  A refuelling operation?  On my recent course in Phoenix, Arizona, we were informed that 80% of pain is viscerally  mediated- stemming from our guts.  80%!!  How often do we wake in the night for no apparent reason – well, the body makes us get up to pee.  Come on, we won’t wet the bed.  The body wakes us because it is hurting.  Our guts ache.  What to do?  Yes, taking high quality pro-biotics and HCl are essential.  Even more fundamentally, how do we turn ourselves from gobblers to gourmands, savouring every mouthful?1

This problem bothers me.  I tend to read an edifying book whilst eating.  Or I listen to the radio; basically my mind is not on my food.  Its on stimulating my brain in other ways.  And I know that I should be into the food in front of me.   The more relaxed we are when we eat, the better our digestive juices run.  Sympathetic nervous system activated = run around looking for trouble.  Parasympathetic nervous system activated = lounge about, noshing food and looking for sex.  Reading a book, listening to the news is not parasympathetic enough to really get those gastric juices flowing.  Then I heard the track above one morning whilst getting dressed and listening to Radio 3’s Breakfast.  I risked buying it – always a worry since the CD may be a one hit wonder.

What a CD.  Its called Mediterraneo by L’Arpeggiata/Christina Pluhar and it just evokes the glory of the Mediterranean.  Commonly, the mediterranean diet is supposed to be good for us because it is high in olive oil, fish, garlic, a little red wine – oh, the list is long.  But maybe it is also because these people relax when they eat.  For many months of the year, they can eat outside.  Yes, I’m sure breakfast is just as ignored or rushed as it is here, and nowadays, office workers will sit at their desks stuffing Paninis and drinking amphorae of coffee.  But when you go out to dine on the Continent, it is generally slow and relaxed.

And now, listening to this CD, I become immersed in the glorious warmth of the Mediterranean countries and finally slow down the frantic jaws.  I smile!  I would love to hear of any other CDs that inspire others to slow down and, therefore, eat well.

  1. The true causes of visceral pain are, needless to say, complicated.  Dr Cobb, founder of Z health tells the story of his daughter, who, at the age of 7, was flung against the wall by her big bro in a game of basketball, as will happen.  She broke her big toe.  Within 36 hours she had an aggressive stomach flu and four days later was in hospital on a morphine drip for stomach pain, with suspected leukemia/major shellfish allergy – basically, the doctors were mystified by the intense stomach pain.  Dr Cobb was away teaching and rushed back to help his daughter.  He took her out of hospital and worked away at her, chasing the pain around her body until it finished in her head, then finally the brain calmed down and she recovered.  So in a few days she went from an extremely active, bright child to a chronic pain patient.  It took fully two years for her to recover fully.  Essentially, her brain did not understand the pain and just freaked out.  The morals of the story?  Don’t ignore pain and assume it will just go away.  It doesn’t.  And problems will not just go away in one hit. []

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