The importance of a Zen Breakfast
“If you eat standing up death looks over your shoulder”
In the last 20 years the common sight of families sitting down to eat breakfast together has become somewhat rare.
Despite developments in technologies that help us to do more, more quickly we still seem to be out of time to commit to this daily ritual preferring to eat breakfast “on the go” or not at all as is the case for over 50% of Brits.
Whilst I am going to discuss the health implications of not sitting down to eat a meal I think it is important to look at the social effect the loss of this precious time in our day has on family structure and togetherness.
Eating together is a unifier and creates a place of community where families have the opportunity to share and talk about things outside of work that are meaningful and important to them. It allows for a regimented “checking in” – making sure the people you love are ok.
I believe sharing meals also creates a feeling of equality and helps maintain a healthy perspective on life.
Worryingly studies in the US have shown that children who don’t eat meals with their families are 30% more likely to be disruptive at school and 40% are more likely to be overweight compared to those that do.
Why is it bad for our body?
In our body we have a sympathetic and para-sympathethic nervous system.
The former is our fight or flight response which is triggered when you are under stress.
When you are standing up you are in a sympathetic nervous system – your body is providing you with energy and blood flow to stand up.
You body cannot digest food well in the sympathetic mode – it puts pressure on your body and increases the likelihood of indigestion, bloating and gas.
Post stress the body kicks into the parasympathetic response, which helps our body relax. The parasympathetic response also triggers your digestive juices and enzyme activity.
Parasympathetic is the best mode to be eating. Your body is in a relaxed state, like when you are sitting or lying down.
Traditionally we would bless the food at our table before we ate it.
Blessing food before a meal brings your awareness to the moment for eating and that way prepares your physiological body to digest the meal by increasing salivation, digestion enzymes.
If you are on the move, your body cannot register you are having a complete meal and therefore does not sufficiently prepare.
For health and happiness I believe food should be consumed in a joyful and relaxed state full of gratitude for the meal you have in front of you.