Being served drinks with your meal in a restaurant or having juice on the table while you sit down for dinner, are so common place in our lives that many of us see it as a normal harmless situation, which were introduced to as children.
But the habit of drinking while eating in many cases can lead to you developing digestive issues and not getting all the nutrients from your food.
This is because when your body knows foods is coming, either through sight, smell or taste, it produces stomach acid and various digestive enzymes to break down and continue the digestion process on the food, which started in your mouth.
Drinking can dilute these fluids so the food that gets there won’t be broken down as well and will pass to the intestines partially undigested, so you get less nutrients out of it.
Your stomach is very adaptable and it does create a fair amount of acid to keep the environment very acidic, so you can’t completely dilute the acids, but the impact of even the slight dilution is noticeable. Having a few sips to take supplements or medications isn’t enough to do much damage, but finishing a a whole glass of water, fizzy drink or juice can cause problems.
Some people find (or have been told) that drinking hot drinks, especially tea during or just after their meal can be beneficial, but when they stop doing this, many find their digestion actually improves.
It’s becoming more well known in recent years that this is the case and more people have asked me how they can break the habit, so here are 4 things you can do to make the change easier.
By the way, when you do break the habit, the benefits you can expect, which I’ve experienced and many clients have reported back to me, are
- Less gas and bloating
- Being able to digest your food better without feeling sluggish, tired or stuffed
- More energy after meals
4 Ways To Stop Drinking When You’re Eating
1. Drink all throughout the day – Another habit we get ourselves into is to only drink with meals and not through the day and of course if you haven’t drank all day you’ll be thirsty by your meals times.
So make sure you start the day with a couple of glasses as soon as you wake up and then regularly throughout the day so you’re not so thirsty when you get to meal times. If you don’t get thirsty, get into the habit of drinking water regularly anyway, your body will develop a healthy thirsty soon.
2. When you’re thirsty only drink water – I’ve had clients tell me that “I’ve been drinking all day but I still get thirsty at meals”. When I ask what they’ve been drinking, they tell me juices, fizzy drinks, smoothies, milkshakes, tea, coffee and sometimes everything but water.
Bear in mind that everything apart from water is a form of liquid food and all food needs water from the digestive system to help digest them. When your body sends you thirsty signals, give it water. It’s fine to drink other drinks of course, but they should be as well as your recommended 1 !/2 – 2 litres a day, not instead of them.
3. Drink BEFORE you start eating – If you don’t get the chance to eat at any other times in the day or forget to drink until a meal time, drink 2 glasses of water, then wait 10-15mins before you start eating so the water gets through the stomach before any food gets there and your thirst is quenched before you start eating.
4. Eat water rich foods with your meal – Another way to break the habit of drinking water while eating, is to replace the actual drinks with cool watery foods during your meal like tomatoes, celery, lettuce, cucumber and other salads or raw vegetables that can help quench your thirst during a meal. A big salad that makes up about half of your plate is a good way to go.
So, if you’re ready to break your drinking while eating habit and feel the health benefits that come with it, try these tips out and let me know how you get on.
Take care and stay healthy
The Naturally You Coach
About the Author: Leah Salmon, The Naturally You Coach, is a bestselling author, speaker, nutritionist, live blood analyst and life coach, focused on womb & pregnancy health and premature birth prevention & on a mission to help 100,000 black women to eat for health, think for happiness and live in harmony by 2020 or what she calls Becoming Naturally You. She does this through her clinic, books, programs, coaching, events, workshops, videos, articles and a free weekly ezine
For more tips and advice on health eating and living, check out my life changing, transformational online program called