I basically named my company after this physiological phenomenon. After doing extensive research on mindful eating and how our emotions influence our eating experience, I was blown away. Learning all about the role that our minds play in digestion and metabolism hammered home the idea that optimal nutrition is not only about what you eat, but also how you eat. Not only does digestion start in the mind (the cephalic phase of digestion), but whether we are thinking positive or negative thoughts during meal time will affect us physically, either hindering or helping adequate breakdown and assimilation of nutrients. Fascinating!
Gratitude and satisfaction…grateful and satisfied…that is how I want people to feel when they eat the products I put out into the world.
Did you know that there is science based evidence that a lack of pleasure and satisfaction while eating can impair digestion, decrease nutrient absorption and slow metabolism??
From a biochemistry perspective, there is a chemical released in your brain, specifically in your hypothalamus, that plays a big role in your pleasure response. It is actually produced when we eat protein and fat and works to aid digestion, decrease appetite, and stimulate pleasure sensations in our cerebral cortex. With a lack of pleasure, your brain actually releases another chemical called neuropeptide Y, which is a chemical responsible for increasing appetite and tells us to search for food. It’s actually naturally elevated in the morning and whenever we feel deprived of food. Studies have shown that it is also elevated in the face low blood sugar, and even a low mood. When this is the case, neuropeptide Y has us crave carbohydrates (sound familiar?).
So yes, blood sugar balance is important (and why the Empower Bars are high in healthy fats and protein), but our thoughts, awareness, and relationship with food all play a part as well!