My Favorite Appetizer (It's Super Simple!)

Eating while stressed, which sadly is the norm for our chronically stressed culture, can greatly diminish your digestive power and calorie-burning capacity.  This is why I'm serving up my favorite chill-out appetizer today.  It's super simple yet mighty powerful.

First, let's take a look at three ways your body responds to stress and the impact on your digestion and metabolism:

1. Your breathing becomes shallow and erratic
When you're stressed, your breathing becomes irregular (many of us actually hold our breath).  Decreased oxygen means decreased metabolism.  Just as you blow air on campfire logs to get them flaming, the food calories you ingest need oxygen to burn.

2. Your digestive system shuts down
When you're stressed, regardless of the stressor (bills, boss, bear attack), your body switches to fight-or-flight mode causing your digestive system to shut down.  Basically, the part of your brain that turns on stress simultaneously turns off digestion.

Think about it: If you're fleeing from a bear, your body isn't going to waste its precious energy digesting lunch.

3. You don't experience pleasure
Stress and pleasure rarely, if ever, coexist.  When you don't experience pleasure from your meal because you're too distracted by stress (and thus most likely multi-tasking), there's a tendency to overeat in search of satisfaction, which can adversely impact digestion and weight.

The Remedy
So what's a stressed-out guy or gal to do?   Start every meal with my favorite super-simple appetizer:


This is the quickest, easiest way to unwind, slow down and rev up your digestion and metabolic fire.  Deep, full-belly breathing shifts your body from the stress response to the relaxation response, the optimal state for calorie burning and digestion.

So, before you pick up your fork, take three slow, full breaths.  You'll soon be swapping those chips and dip for this more metabolically powerful, digestion-friendly appetizer.