Eat A Rainbow

March 31, 2020


Have you heard the phrase 'eat a rainbow'?


Don't you think a colourful plate of food brings much more delight to the senses than a monotone plate of food?


Before we delve into the rainbow, let's talk about something called Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (CPDR). Cephalic means ‘of the head’, and it’s the crucial part of digestion that starts before we even take a bite of our food!


Can you remember a time when you saw a favourite food and your mouth started watering? That’s a classic example of CPDR. Digestion quite literally begins in the head! We have little chemical and mechanic receptors on the tongue and in the oral and nasal cavities. These are stimulated by smelling food, tasting it, chewing, and noticing it.


Cephalic Phase Digestive Response accounts for 30%-40% of digestion. Wow! This means is that if you are not aware of your meal, you are only metabolising it with 60%-70% efficiency!


Do you ever eat while zoning out in front of the TV? Do you ever fail to register any sense of taste, smell, satisfaction or visual interest? How about scarfing down your lunch in front of your laptop or while on social media?

If so, you may be digestion your meal at only 60%-70% efficiency!


Eating this way can result in overeating, bloating, weight gain, and binge eating. It may also increase excessive hunger because the brain did not register the food we just ate.


CPDR is not only a response, it’s a nutritional requirement. The brain must experience taste, pleasure, aroma and satisfaction of a meal and activate our most efficient digestive force.


It’s important to note what we are eating. And I believe it’s as important to notice how we are eating, and that’s the work I do as an Eating Psychology Practitioner.


Ok, let’s get back to the rainbow. Did you know that compared to our ancestors, we are eating a much smaller variety of food? Did you know that many of the foods we eat day in and day out, come from the same food group?


So we've limited the number of different nutrients to our body. This has affected our gut microbiome and has other negative health consequences.


Next time you’re out shopping for groceries think about the rainbow and its beautiful hues. Choosing foods with different rainbow colours will make your shopping experience more fun. Eating a rainbow will also increase your enjoyment of the meal, and your body will receive a wider variety of micronutrients.


Colour is beautiful, and with the full spectrum all around us, we can fill our carts with every hue of the rainbow.



Different foods have different macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Micronutrients are the minerals in each food. Each variety of food, as well as different colour foods, contains different micronutrients.


By eating a wide variety of foods, and colours, we can give our bodies a much wider variety of micronutrients. It’s like taking a multivitamin!


I love this chart that shows us the different phytonutrients our food contains. When you plate your next meal, see if you can add more colour, and start to include foods and colours you don’t usually choose.





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