Expert reveals how to eat with intention

Through her own diet where she eliminated certain types of foods progressively, Cassandra Bodzak experienced a life-changing moment when she gave up meat and dairy.

"I went from super lethargic and having all these stomach pains to just feeling like I had more energy," said Bodzak.

"I had all these food allergies, terrible stomach pains. I realized I didn't want to be eating steamed rice and vegetables for the rest of my life," said Bodzak.

So she got creative in the kitchen. She paid attention to what she ate to feel better but also wanted to enjoy it.

Bodzak wrote a food blog long before they were trendy and now has an 'Eating with Intention' cookbook and a Youtube channel.

"I'd go to the grocery store and buy a vegetable I never ate before and I would buy a bunch of it and cook it every night for dinner in a different way," said Bodzak.

"I'm the accidental vegan," she said jokingly.

As we age, the body has a tougher time with digestion. There's less absorption of vitamin B-12 which helps break down and utilize nutrients.

While going vegan helped Bodzak, she's not saying everyone has to adopt the same diet. Just that people can benefit simply by being more mindful at mealtime.

And regardless of what you're eating, it's how you eat that makes a big difference. Bodzak says no phone, no TV, no reading material. Just sit, savor and enjoy your food.

"People are shocked at how full they feel," said Bodzak.

Consider making dinner a family meal.

One study found Europeans spend about 70% of their meals sitting down to eat with loved ones. Americans are the opposite. Seventy percent of meals that are eaten in the U.S. are on the go, often standing, in our cars and by ourselves.

Plus, sharing a meal with friends or family has other benefits, like reducing depression.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.