Pueblo Voices | Rachel Kutskill

Slow down, enjoy your meal - and reap the benefits

<a href='https://pueblostarjournal.org/author/rachel-kutskill/'>Rachel Kutskill</a>
<a href='https://pueblostarjournal.org/author/rachel-kutskill/'>Rachel Kutskill</a>
March 2, 2023

Up. up. Down. Down. Left, right. Left, right. B. A. Start.

If we were in the Nintendo game Contra, this code would give us infinite lives, infinite possibilities for strategy and to navigate the world experiencing successes and failures with unlimited potential. Consequences and repercussions cease to exist here, and we obtain this glorious capability to eliminate the fear of failure.

Some core desires in humans have stayed the same through the years, to do our very best with the best possible outcome, to achieve high levels of success, to feel good, to be happy, to win —essentially, to thrive.

Take a moment to reflect on your wins, your successes and achievements in life so far.

Every one of us has different areas and directions in life that we enjoy and find important. This is where we thrive and feel that child-like awe of infinite possibilities and unlimited potential. But there are times when the fear of failure lures us into a dire choose-your-own-adventure game, where we are stuck on a path that does not support the quality of life we deserve.


Up. up. Down. Down. Left, right. Left, right. B. A. Start.

Poof! You now have the ability to try again; learn from last time. Choose optimal paths, choose happiness, choose experience, choose success, and to feel really good about your achievements. So let us explore a genre that has become a focus of many, an obsession to some and has many stigmas surrounding it. With this, many of us have felt failure at one point or another, restarted multiple times, strived to achieve that desired win and may have hoped for another chance.
Eating food.

Notice: I didn’t say dieting. Restart.

In order for the body—a network of systems—to thrive, we need to provide it with some very basic things: food, water and air. How we do these things is where the importance and also confusion has come into play. When it comes to food: what is healthy for one individual, doesn’t work for someone else’s system. It can, and has been, frustrating for many.

Restart. What if we focused on how we eat instead of what we eat?

Amber Golshani

We connected with Pueblo local, Dr. Amber Golshani, ND, to help us learn about what may be a new experience for some of us and an opportunity to succeed.

PSJ: Dr. Amber, with all the confusion around food and optimal health—how—should we eat?

Dr. Amber: I once had a patient from France whom I asked , “How do you eat?” Meaning to inquire about her habits around meals. She leaned forward, looked me in the eye and said, “I do not eat. I dine.”

What a distinction! Eating can just mean shoveling food in our mouths. Dining implies a relaxing EXPERIENCE.

To whatever degree we can, before eating, I recommend taking time to slow down and access our parasympathetic nervous system to support better digestion. We can start to do this as simply as closing our eyes and taking three deep slow breaths before we eat.

In an ideal world we would all be able to enjoy our meals at a table reserved just for eating, with soft lighting, soothing music, good company, no distractions and no time constraints. We would start the meal with a bitter aperitif or apple cider vinegar (like Fire Cider) to stimulate the digestive process, thoroughly chew each bite until liquid, while putting down our forks between each bite. We would have such exquisite attunement with our bodies that we stop eating at 80% fullness. Taking a slow walk after the meal helps with digestion and blood sugar impact.

PSJ: What are the benefits of slowing down while eating?

Dr. Amber: Optimal digestion and absorption needs peace and calm! Our autonomic nervous system (the part of our nervous system that operates and adjusts on its own like our heart beating, lungs breathing or intestines moving) primarily moves between more sympathetic tone or parasympathetic tone.

When we are in sympathetic tone our bodies are preparing for fight, flight or freeze reaction in response to perceived threat or stress. Blood flow gets shunted away from the internal organs to the peripheral muscles so we can outrun our threat or put up a fight. If we are in danger, our bodies do not care about digestion, instead it cares about escaping.

When we eat fast, in the car, with our kids bickering around us (or maybe we are the ones bickering), while distracted and scrolling on social media or while watching a murder mystery, is it any wonder we experience digestive problems? Our bodies aren’t making the appropriate digestive acids and enzymes needed to break down and absorb our food. There is less blood flow to the intestines to receive and distribute the nutrients to the rest of our body.

The parasympathetic nervous system is the opposite of the sympathetic. It is more active in times of low stress, when we sleep or are at rest and it is when our bodies can do repair and healing work. Parasympathetic dominance is necessary for proper digestion. Unfortunately, in our chronically stressful society, it takes intention and attention to experience a sense of peace, so we can access the wonderful healing capability of the parasympathetic mode.

Eating too fast can lead to problems such as indigestion and other stomach discomfort (1): weight gain (2), disconnection from normal body sensations such as hunger and fullness and chronic metabolic diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and belly fat (3). In the United States of America, one out of every 5 meals is eaten in the car (4), which gives a pretty good idea of how fast-paced our life is.

Restart. Let’s slow it down.

Let’s focus on something we can do, something where we can be successful. If we adjust our mindset and understand we have multiple tries, many times to fail, opportunities for success and many wins in this game of life, we can focus on quality of life and what it feels like to really thrive.

Dr. Amber is providing us with March’s THRIVE TIP:

Take three, slow deep breaths before every meal and eat with full attention on the present moment, without major distractions.

PSJ Happiness Index: 3.5/4

The Pueblo Star Journal (PSJ) Happiness Index will rate our suggestions in terms of:
Social support
- Does this help connect us as a community and is it inclusive?
Healthy life expectancy - Does this potentially prolong life to a high standard of living and without harm or risk?
Freedoms making life choices - Is this free from imposition on others or ourselves?
Generosity - How cost effective is this for others and ourselves?

Social support - 4/4 Anyone is able to participate, anywhere in the world.
Health - 4/4 Being mindful during activities can produce higher levels of success.
Freedom - 2/4 It has become more normal to eat while on the go, in the car, at an event, standing over the sink, and we often use lack of time as the reason. We have busy lives and so how we eat is impacted, sometimes by things outside of our control. It’s okay. Just restart for the next meal when you have time available to dine.
Generosity - 4/4 FREE for anyone to try.

Jocelyn Martinez
Jocelyn Martinez

Jocelyn Martinez, CHC, CWBC is a certified Health, Gut Health, and Empowered Wellbeing Coach who is on a mission to show that healthy food is healing, delicious and affordable. She is the Owner/Founder of SoulSmile Health & Wellness, LLc which is a health based food company that focuses on gluten free and dairy free eating, vegan, special dietary needs, and creating eating experiences with all of our services in a stressless way. Jocelyn utilizes her chef and health background to educate, support, and inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle. SoulSmile Health & Wellness offers individual and family style meal prep, catering, private chef events, Chef for in/out of town retreats, and more. For more information please visit our business page https://go.thryv.com/site/SoulSmileHealthWellness/livesite.



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