An Important Idea My Grandfather Taught Me

I remember as a boy that my Grandfather told me that if I was hungry for more food, and looking for seconds, that I should “wait 20 minutes, because that’s how long it takes what you’ve eaten to get to your stomach, and signal to you that you’re full.” Always curious to know how things worked, this was a very interesting piece of information to me, which is still valuable to me today.

There’s an important germ of truth in this idea, and its principle is included in my regimenal advice to patients today. Many patients have resistance to being “told what to eat”, or even when they want to listen, have a really hard time changing their habits. There’s a strong force field which makes up our habits, and it takes a tremendous effort to break it.

For patients who are looking to start with easy, bite-sized baby steps, I’ll start them with the idea of “sequential eating”. The essence of this is to order the consumption of your meal to be layered in your stomach from the most watery content to the most dense. As it happens, the traditional meal service tends to follow this sequence : The server first takes your drink order, then a choice of soup or salad, a relatively light appetizer, followed by the “main course”, which is the most dense item of the whole meal. I advise patients to have a glass of water about 20 minutes before each meal, in order to optimize their digestion, assimilation, and not to mention their hydration. Without having to change any of their food choices, this is an easy way for patients to get more out of what they are already eating.

Going back to my Grandfather’s idea, the other parallel with my current clinic advice is based around the idea of resonance – I’ve blogged previously about resonance, and it is a concept which applies to every aspect of healthy living. In the realm of food and nutrition, the idea of resonance teaches us that the purpose of food is not to make us “feel full”, but rather to “feel satisfied”. If you’re feeling energetic, you can take this concept beyond the dinner table into every corner of your life. This is the reason that food which is “empty calories” and made with lots of filler generally lowers our health, promotes weight gain, and basically doesn’t really give us anything in exchange. Food which is truly “good” for us (ie resonant) truly excites our taste buds, and contributes to our good health in every way.

My Grandfather seemed to know a lot, which has taken me years to learn through study and research!

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