While the 2020 holiday season may have it limitations, there’s still one thing we can all look forward to - the meals! Joining us again this week is nutritionist, Jennifer Brott, of My Edible Advice, who has kindly agreed to share her expertise on how ritual + scent can play a role in improving digestion, making all those holiday treats all the more sweet!
Check out last week’s blog to learn how stress impacts our digestion, and how we can prime ourselves for optimal digestion by considering the mind-body connection.
Today, Jennifer has shared three pre-meal rituals, as well as some helpful notes on some digestion friendly scents - plus, we'll tell you where to find them in our collection!
Eating with intention...
If you think about it, how many times have you eaten in a rushed state, on the go, in the car, or at your desk? When we eat in a rushed or frantic state, the body goes into "fight or flight" mode, which shuts down digestion.
Taking a seat, a moment to breathe, and lighting a candle, or diffusing your favourite scent (my personal fave before meals is Woodlot's Recharge) can help shift your nervous system out of "fight or flight" and into "rest + digest" (learn more about this process here).
Feeling gratitude for your meal, and enjoying it calmly, while seated, can do wonders for how your body responds to it. (Bonus points if you ditch your phone and put on some music instead!)
Three rituals to support digestion...
Unless we're choking or sick, few of us ever pay attention to our breath and its connection to our mood and emotions. So before you begin eating, take one minute to breathe fully, gently, and slowly. Bring yourself to your body, sitting there at the table. Be committed to being nowhere else and begin breathing with the intention of relaxing and becoming fully present. This is the fastest way to shift our bodies into a more relaxed state.
So many of us are racing through life. If we can learn to slow down more by sitting down to eat, by being realistic about how many things we can actually get done in a day, and by focusing on the task at hand (instead of the next five) we can start to spend less time in "fight or flight" and more time in "rest + digest". Life happens so fast. It deserves our full attention and it deserves its full due. Relax. Enjoy the process. There’s never any reason to move so fast that you can’t metabolize your meal! Slow. It. Down.
When we focus on enjoying our food, we activate our pleasure receptors. We tune into our senses – our sense of taste, touch, and smell are initiated – and this has the positive impact of activating “rest + digest”!
You may have noticed that none of the above suggestions are purely focused on food. What we eat certainly has an impact on our digestive wellness, but it’s not the whole story. Digestive wellness and nutritional healing is much more than just the food and supplements we choose to ingest. Go ahead, and see what happens when you add pleasure into the equation.
Jennifer's Scents for Rest and Digest:
Vetiver is sometimes referred to as the “Oil of Tranquility” or “The Fragrance of the Soil” for its calming effects. (Found in Cinder)
Lavender is well known for its ability to help our busy minds relax. (Found in Flora)
Bergamot oil is a relaxant — it reduces nervous tension, and works as a stress reliever and digestive stimulant. (Found in Flora)
Orange’s pleasant scent has a cheerful and uplifting yet simultaneously relaxing and calming effect. (Found in Original)
Frankincense may help to speed up the secretion of digestive enzymes and relax the muscles of the digestive tract.
Rosemary is a carminative herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach and reducing gas. (Found in Recharge)
Peppermint essential oil contains antispasmodic properties, which can relax the muscles in the digestive tract, easing symptoms of constipation. (Found in Recharge)
Cinnamon stimulates circulation and improves digestion. (Found in Cinder)
Don’t forget to check back next week for three incredibly decadent recipes from Jennifer that are sure to become cherished holiday favorites - as well as anytime favorites! (They're that good!)
1. Browning, K, Travagli, A. Central Nervous System Control of Gastrointestinal Motility and Secretion and Modulation of Gastrointestinal Functions. 2016 [Pubmed]
2. Dosset, M. Brain-gut connection explains why integrative treatments can help relieve digestive ailments. 2019 [Harvard]
3. Kamiya, A. The Brain-Gut Connection. 2020 [Hopkins]
National Institutes of Health. Stress System Malfunction Could Lead to Serious, Life Threatening Disease. 2002 [NICHD]
4. Sowndhararajan, K, Kim, S. Influence of Fragrances on Human Psychophysiological Activity: With Special Reference to Human Electroencephalographic Response. 2016. [Pubmed]