Rest and Digest

I love the kitchen.

I’m no chef, but I have been loving my time spent cooking and baking in the kitchen this summer. I don’t know if you picked this up from my blog/Facebook/Instagram (new handle by the way! @alison_grooves), but I love food! I am immensely grateful to have access to so many different kinds of food that are both good for me and good to me.

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lemonade and cookies from a stand run by some boys and their mom ♥ 

I also love my mom and her cooking, but not gonna lie, two is a crowd in the kitchen. #BattleForTheFrontBurner

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Simple Mills almond flour pumpkin muffins + Justin’s vanilla almond butter, courtesy of Blend swag

For the most part nowadays, I have the privilege of eating whatever I want, whenever I want. The only meal I consistently think about is breakfast, but that’s only because it’s my favorite meal of the day…because it always involves nut butter, banana, and dairy.

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Thursday morning oatmeal cookie dough cereal with banana

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Friday morning hot banana chia egg white oats in a {glass} Teddie peanut butter jar

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Sunday morning banana oat French toast bake topped with peanut butter+ Greek yogurt 

Then there are those few-and-far-between days when I start thinking about what I should be eating, when I should eat a snack, or whether I’ll be hungry enough for a scheduled meal out at a restaurant. It makes me anxious.

When I get anxious, my mind focuses on my stomach— in a bad way. I overanalyze my fullness or any sort of signal that might mean hunger. I physically feel stress and tension in my stomach because my mind is on it. When this happens, I usually feel full and crappy for the rest of the day. Any time I want to eat feels like I’m stress eating, because I don’t feel quite hungry enough for food, and then the cycle continues.

I don’t know why these rare days come up out of nowhere, but they do. Recently, it could be the fact that I have fewer obligations during the summer, lack of sleep, a combination of a few things…

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caprese grilled chicken {“This is better than a restaurant!” — Dad ➔ if I could physically blush, I would}

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best sweet roasted potatoes again!

I had a couple of those wonky days this past week, but what I’ve learned during recovery is to not be anxious about being anxious. It happens, and I’ll be okay. “This too shall pass.”

You know what else I’ve learned? Rest and digest (that whole parasympathetic nervous system at work, for all you biology geeks) is LEGIT.

For those of you who might not be familiar with “rest and digest”, digestion is not a priority for our survival when we’re in a stressful situation, so that’s one of the first processes to halt when we’re under stress.  When our bodies return to a normal, non-stressed state, digestion can continue.

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strawberry milkshake at the diner with Daliza 🙂

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making her own “coffee affogato

Thus, when I’m not stressed about food (or anything), I have more of an appetite! For instance, whenever I take a nap (like that crazy two hour nap I took last week), I almost always wake up ready to eat something.

Former me would have thought: There’s no way I can be hungry. I was out on the couch for two hours doing absolutely nothing with my body.

Current me knows: Napping gives my body the opportunity to rest and, therefore, digest. {which is why breakfast is such a fun meal, because I (most of the time) pop out of bed like eyyyy let’s eat!}

In addition, I feel that eating enough calorically also helps my digestion, or at least my comfort. When I eat a lot of volume but not a lot of calories (unintentionally!), my stomach feels like an inflated balloon, but the rest of my body feels like it needs some energy.

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crockpot bbq chicken with pasta + salad with homemade mustard vinaigrette + suhweeeeet corn!

And when I feel digested, I feel more comfortable throughout the rest of my day. I don’t have to focus on my stomach anymore.

Side note: I’ve also lowered my veggie intake. As in, I don’t need to have a monster salad and a freaking garden of vegetables for both lunch and dinner. Some peppers with hummus at lunch and a normal side salad at dinner is good enough, allowing my GI tract to be like, HALLELUJAH.

TMI? Sorry, not sorry. Gut talk is important.

With that said, I hope you all have a rockin’ Monday! Rest and digest.

So tell me:

Have you ever felt the difference in your digestion between when you’re stressed and when you’re not?

Do you like having the kitchen to yourself (or are you less selfish than I am)? 

What was the best thing you ate this weekend? For me, it’s a tough call between the caprese chicken, french toast bake, and sweet corn!

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19 thoughts on “Rest and Digest

  1. My digestion is a disaster when I’m super stressed. Midterms and finals times are not a happy time for my stomach 😛
    Sometimes I really appreciate help in the kitchen, but usually I prefer to fly solo, too.
    Oooh best thing I ate this weekend. That’s a tough one. We had taco night on Saturday, so that’s always good, but I also baked some pretty freaking delicious banana bread. It’s a tie 😀
    Have a lovely Monday, Alison!

  2. Haha sometimes I like having the kitchen to myself, but my husband is so sweet and usually does all the dishes! I’m fine with sharing the kitchen when he does the dishes 😉 haha

    I’m glad you’re able to listen to your appetite! And those sweet potatoes look awesome!

  3. I love gut talk chats! I think gut health and the mind/body connection is a fascinating topic – it’s crazy to think we’re more ‘bacteria’ than human, hey? Even if I’m tired, my gut gets all weird and I develop heartburn/indigestion. When I’m sad/stressed I lose my appetite completely.

    I hear you on the veggie consumption. When we embark on living and eating healthfully, it’s hard to NOT overanalyze things sometimes. I used to try and eat veggies with EVERY meal (even breakfast) because I felt like it was my due diligence to get my 8-10 servings a day. Or eating a trough of salad. I truly believe less is more – with pretty much everything in life. Quality vs quantity.

  4. The biology geek is me sang when I read this post 😉 Our GI tracts are extremely sensitive and should be treated with care. I’m glad you are finding the right balance for you and resting to let your body heal. Go Alison! I hope you have a great rest of you week, love!

  5. So many delicious eats!! Usually when I’m stressed I lose my appetite quite a bit. Or I find it easier for my stomach to get upset. I love love love having the kitchen to myself so I can just kind of do my own thing. Best thing I ate – homemade pizza and homemade oat bars : ) Hope you have a fabulous week!

  6. This post is so true! I recently wrote a blog post on stress and the body does some crazy things when we are stressed out! I like that you discussed eating smaller meals because many of us go to the extremes when we’re stressed (eating too much or eating too little)!

  7. I feel as though I could’ve written this (only not at well;) ) I COMPLETELY relate to allll of this. And even the part about when I fill up on a bunch of veggies I’m left feeling full but still lacking energy and anxious about about being so full!!
    Thank you for verbalising all this! It’s a great reminder and very helpful🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

    And I love being in the kitchen too but you gotta give me my space😉

    Have a great one Alison!!

  8. This is so true Alison. So many times I have experienced horrible bloating and stomach pain due to being incredibly stressed out when I was eating. Who did I blame though? The food of course. It was the dairy, the gluten, the grains, too much fat, too many carbs, a ‘bad food combining’, and whatever other ridiculous thing that I could come up with. But it honestly was not. My stress about eating was causing my body to go into ‘fight or flight’ mode and literally turning down my digestion because it thought I was in a LEGITIMATE life threatening situation. I am able to eat everything so much better now that I am able to have a calm and happy relationship when it comes to food :).

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