Monica CullinaneGrand Junction Free Press Health & Wellness Columnist

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March 7, 2013
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CULLINANE: What you eat & how you eat both matter

Every March is National Nutrition Month - a good reminder for us to keep up with our health habits or begin anew!The national campaign this year wants to create a special health awareness with the theme: "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day."Looking at the "Choose My Plate" from the USDA, half of your plate should be vegetables and fruits, preferably organic; choose dark green vegetables packed with nutrients and vitamins. One-quarter of the plate should be lean protein; fish is an excellent option twice a week, like salmon and tuna, full of omega-3. And one-quarter should be of whole grains. On this page you'll notice a quick and delicious recipe for a grain called quinoa. I encourage you to give it a try and see what you think.

Prep Time: 3 minutesCooking Time: 30-40 minutesYield: 4 servingsIngredients:1 cup quinoa2 1/4 cups water or stock1/2 cup dried cranberries1/2 cup walnut pieces1/4 cups chopped fresh parsleyPinch of saltDirections: 1. Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer until water runs clear.2. Boil the water and add quinoa and salt, cover and reduce heat.3. After 15 minutes add cranberries and walnuts to top, do not stir.4. Cook 5 minutes more, until all the liquid is absorbed.5. Remove from heat, add parsley and fluff with fork, cover and let sit for 3-5 minutes and serve.

But it's not just what we eat that matters, how we eat matters a lot. And it begins as you put the food in your month. CHEWING. As you start to chew your food, saliva releases digestive enzymes that break down food, leading to smooth digestion and allowing greater assimilation of nutrients and break down of carbohydrates. Saliva also makes the food more alkaline, which creates less gas.If you are under pressure or stress at meal times, let the simple act of chewing relax you. You may realize that you need half of what originally was on your plate. Take a few deep breaths, put your cutlery down, have a sip of water, and breathe again. Enjoy the smell, the taste, the texture and the whole spectrum of having a meal. The more you chew your grains and other complex carbohydrates they became more sweet, more satisfying. You should chew, especially whole grains, until it become liquid, for the food to release their full nutritional value. Do you have any idea how much you should chew your food? Read the following excerpt from "Power Eating Program: You Are How You Eat" by Lino Stanchich:To get into the habit of chewing correctly, try counting the chews in each bite, aiming for 30 to 50 times. It helps if you put your fork down between bites. Chew every mouthful of food at least 30 times each, until the food becomes liquid.

Before eating:Shower or wash hands and face. Turn off the television, radio, telephone. Do not read. Find a clean quiet place to eat. Light a candle or play soft music. Stretch, breathe. Say a prayer. Align your posture and breathe. During your meal:Place a bite of food in your mouth. Put your utensil down. Place your hands together while chewing. Begin chewing and deep breathing. Concentrate on what you're doing. Look at your food or something attractive, or close your eyes partially or fully. After eating:Say thanks. Sit and talk after your meal. Take a light stroll. Monica Cullinane, certified health coach, has a private practice coaching clients on how to reach their goals for health, weight loss and stress reduction. Additionally, she teaches yoga, presents workshops and lectures on living a healthy balanced life. She is available for a FREE initial consultation at the Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado (www.imcwc.com). Call 970-245-6911 to schedule appointment.


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The Post Independent Updated Mar 7, 2013 01:00PM Published Mar 7, 2013 12:58PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.