by Kurt Johnsen
You’ve seen them. You may even be one of them — I know I have been. I’m talking about those folks hunkered over their food, shoveling it down as if someone were trying to take it away. Not only is it unsightly, it’s also unhealthy.
Our digestive system starts in our mouths, not in our stomachs as you may think. Special enzymes in our mouths begin to break down our food and prepare it for digestion from the moment we take a bite. But often, in our fast-paced, fast-food world, many of us — including myself — wolf down our meals and snacks like a greedy seagull, cocking our heads back and gulping down whatever is in front of us. We barely take the time to chew — much less enjoy — our food.
I did a Google search on what causes stress in people’s lives and I found things like unemployment, divorce, financial problems, health issues, fatigue and so on. In reflecting on how I deal with stress, let’s just say that far, far less than unemployment has caused me to eat a dozen donuts in one sitting!
Yes, I’m talking about stress eating. Most of us have had the unfortunate pleasure of experiencing it at one point or another, and it is not for the faint of heart. I can down a whole can of party peanuts if Auden has a particularly bad day at school! Thankfully I have come to terms with the real me and I am now able to recognize the signs of impending stress and do a fairly good job of not eating us out of house and home when things get rough. Please allow me to share some of my tips, and I welcome any you have to share that have worked for you.
Our government and food industry both encourage more “personal responsibility” when it comes to battling the obesity epidemic and its associated diseases. They say people should exercise more self-control, make better choices, avoid overeating and reduce their intake of sugar-sweetened drinks and processed food. We are led to believe that there is no good food or bad food — that it’s all just a matter of balance.