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Eating while working? Why it’s bad for your health – The Farm at San Benito doctor  |

Health And Family

Eating while working? Why it’s bad for your health – The Farm at San Benito doctor 

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo -
Eating while working? Why itâs bad for your health â The Farm at San Benito doctor 
Doctor Michelle Domalaon of The Farm at San Benito explaining the results of a Cellular Health Screening / Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

MANILA, Philippines — In today’s modern world, eating while working has become the norm especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic that necessitated working from home – and perhaps, eating while working is partly to blame why obesity is on the rise and why sitting has been dubbed “the new smoking.”

According to doctor Michelle Domalaon of The Farm at San Benito, healthy food is not enough. To achieve one’s fitness goals, she said one should also change one’s attitude toward consuming food.

“Here at The Farm, our approach is body and mind. If what you eat is all right, then the next thing we look at is the process – do you chew your food well? Do you process your food well, because ideally, we should not be hurried when we eat. Because if we rush our eating, we don’t chew our food very well, if the food we take come in very big chunks, then our digestive system finds it difficult to process our food, and this leads to digestive stress,” she told in an exclusive interview last week.

Upon arrival at The Farm at San Benito, an eco-luxury, holistic medical wellness resort located in Lipa City, Batangas, guests are invited to try many scheduled health and wellness activities, including Cellular Health Screening, which can detect digestive stress.

Cellular Health Screening, said Dr. Domalaon, is “a different way of looking inside your body.”

“In hospitals, they all draw blood from here (arm) and then they will give you a paper (blood test results), and the paper is full of numbers and would say, for example, your cholesterol is this and that; your uric acid is this and that,” she said.

“But for the Cellular Health Screening, we would get one drop of blood from your finger. We will put the drop in a slide, and we will look at it under a microscope. We will look at the cells together, flash it on the TV screen and we will look for a pattern. We will not count the cells, but it’s more on we’re going to look for a pattern. So this is a different way at looking at your blood. For example, if we see a pattern that we need to help your liver or kidney because of parasites.”

Blood sample being extracted from a finger using a lancet for Cellular Health Screening (left); the screening shows an example of healthy cells (top, right) and tightly-knit cells due to digestive stress (bottom, right) Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

Unlike usual hospital blood tests, Cellular Health Screening can be done anytime, even before or after eating. According to Dr. Domalaon, if the screening shows that one’s blood cells pattern is already beautiful, The Farm can help enhance it with its plant-based food offered at its four restaurants: Alive!, Prana, Pesce and Upperdeck.

An ideal blood cells pattern, she said, looks spread out when magnified on the TV monitor, “If the red blood cells are separated, that means they can do their job, and their job is to carry oxygen all over the body. Another thing is we want red blood cells that are not deformed.”

If the screening shows that cells are very tightly knit together, it is a sign of digestive stress and overusing of energy, she said.

“When you are under stress, your digestive system uses too much energy, which results in fatigue. This means that if the digestive system is very tired, we have to give it rest.”

Healthy diet not enough

Intermittent Fasting is one way to rest the digestive system.

“Our stomach has acid and digestive enzymes – food, water, saliva – do not dilute the stomach with too much water that could dilute the nutrients – drink before and after eating,” Dr. Domalaon recommended.

According to her, it is important that you give your red blood cells a proper payment for working hard in your body. “That’s why food intake is really important, that the food we eat is something the body can use for white blood cells, to make new red blood cells.”

Junk food, the doctor warned, is not a good payment for one’s industrious red blood cells.

“I believe in balance. If it’s just small portions (of junk food) and you’re just tasting something, the body can still work on it. But if you eat junk food three times a day, every day, for years, that’s what we don’t like. Because our white blood cells would get overworked, our body finds it difficult to eliminate all these junk,” she said. 

“If just by small amounts, that’s okay, but if junk food is already your main food, you cannot use it to pay back your red blood cells, or to make new red blood cells, you can’t make junk food turn into new red blood cells.”

Ideally, food should be broken down into a thousand times smaller for it to be used by the body, she said. 

“Did you see the drop of blood we tested? It was magnified 1,000 times for us to see the cells. So all those chicharon, food that you put inside your body, it has to become 1,000 times smaller for it to be absorbed by the body, for us to benefit from it.”

Mindful eating means mind-body connection

Pesce restaurant promotes mindful eating with its combination of Pescetarian food and natural ambience Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

Apart from being conscious of what to give to the body, “There is such thing as mind-body connection,” said Dr. Domalaon.

“Thoughts generate energy and emotions… When we eat, we should generate more happy thoughts like being grateful… Whatever we’re thinking, our digestive system generates digestive enzymes that help break down the food more,” she explained.

“If thoughts are negative, such as worry, if you’re eating and your mind is preoccupied with negative thoughts, you’re promoting illness, not wellness.”

It does not matter how long one eats, she said, but how one eats one’s food.

“You don’t need to eat for an hour. Even if you’d eat for just 10 to 15 minutes but you’re happy, not eating while working and just enjoying your food, then your food can be broken down more easily.”

Besides having happy thoughts, she discouraged eating while working.

“Because if you’re eating while working, the focus is not on your digestive system. At the same time, you’re generating more of worry… there’s negative emotion in the digestive enzymes that could be released, so the digestion of food is not optimal,” she attested.

She highly discouraged discussing problems at the dinner table. 

“Kapag mag-didinner kayo, halimbawa, ‘wag mag-usap ng problema, ha? Kasi ‘pag nag-uusap ng problema habang kumakain, nagme-meeting habang kumakain, s’yempre ‘yung focus mo, nasa work. Pero kung masaya naman kayo, masaya kang kumakain habang nagmi-meeting, no problem. Pero if you’re arguing, you’re using a lot of your brain while you’re eating, wala tuloy energy ang digestion. Importante pa naman ang absorption ng pagkain,” she said.

“Whatever we’re thinking of, whatever is on our mind, whatever we’re experiencing generates emotions and the emotions that get generated actually influence the chemistry of the body. So, for example, if what you’re generating is more of happy thoughts, when you’re happy, the chemistry of the body is different.”

Alive! Vegan restaurant invites guests, especially kids, to unplug and to not use their gadgets while eating. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

There is a chemistry, she noted, that is promoting wellness or illness.

“When your thoughts, whatever you’re dwelling on is more on negative things, if it’s just one day, it’s no problem, but if it’s weeks, months, years… If your thoughts are always generating negative emotion, then the chemistry of the body is promoting illness.”

To help one keep a positive mindset while eating and doing other activities, Domalaon suggested doing meditation, yoga, and engaging in positive social media conversations, or even if the news is negative, one should have positive takeaways or lessons from it, she said.

The Farm at San Benito, a proud member of CG Hospitality, the hospitality arm of CG Corp Global, rests on 51 hectares of lush green environment with life-sustaining microbiome ecology, stunning view of the majestic Malarayat mountains, pure fresh air and refreshing life-giving energy radiating around the property.

Singers give diners good vibes while eating at Upperdeck restaurant. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

The Farm has been honored with over 90 prestigious international awards, including "Best Medical Wellness Resort in the World" from Senses Germany, which made its mark as one of the leading medical wellness destinations in the world.

In line with its mission to provide evidence-based holistic healing and transformative, sustainable lifestyle retreats, The Farm offers natural and holistic medically-supervised health optimization programs carefully planned and conducted by internationally-trained integrative medical doctors, spa therapists, nutritionists, living food experts, fitness coaches, and yoga teachers. 

Prana restaurant serves Ayurvedic food in an open-air, natural setting Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

Since its conception, The Farm claims to be an advocate of plant-based, whole foods vegan cuisine, with its vegetables freshly picked and served. Its scientifically-proven preventive, restorative, and regenerative treatments combine the best of East and West, offering guests a life-changing holiday experience.

To create an environment where guests can immerse themselves in a journey of health transformation, cultural enrichment, and rejuvenation, The Farm offers mindful activities like yoga classes, Mandala flower meditation, sound healing, nature walks, vegan food preparation demonstrations and more, which are available for individuals, couples and families who want to take a more proactive role in transforming their health together.

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