You are HOW you eat:
“I have made it a rule to give every tooth of mine a chance, and when I eat, to chew every bite thirty-two times. To this rule I owe much of my success in life.”—William Gladstone
Do you feel tired, bloated, or crave sweets after you eat?
If so, it may not be what you are eating, but HOW you are eating.
My sweetie used to eat so fast, I would often find myself mindlessly adopting his rhythm. One day I realized that I was practically swallowing my food whole to keep up with him. My stomach felt like a huge knot. So I started eating slowly, tuning into the flavors, recognizing my fullness and really experiencing the meal. I challenged him to a chewing contest to see who could chew more, and guess what? It was one of the best meals I ever had. What I discovered is that eating healthy is not always about what you eat, but HOW you eat. So this week I want to encourage you all to slow down and chew your food!
Trivia Question: How many times does the average person chew a bite of food? How many times do you chew?
Keep reading … chewing is one of the most important steps in healthy digestion, ideal weight, efficient metabolism, and maximum pleasure in eating. How many of you want to experience that? Try it! You may be surprised at what you will discover.
When it comes to increased health, it’s not just what we eat, but how we eat. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where contact with our teeth and digestive enzymes in our saliva break down food. But these days most of us rush through the whole eating experience, barely acknowledging what we’re putting in our mouths. We eat while distracted-working, reading, talking, and watching television—and swallow our food practically whole. On average we chew each bite only six times. It’s no wonder that many people have digestive problems.
There are many great reasons to slow down and chew your food. Saliva breaks down food into simple sugars, creating a sweet taste. The more we chew, the sweeter our food becomes, so we don’t crave those after-meal sweets. Chewing reduces digestive distress and improves assimilation, allowing our bodies to absorb maximum nutrition from each bite of food. More chewing produces more endorphins, the brain chemicals responsible for creating good feelings. When we eat too fast, our brain continues to seek the pleasure we receive from eating, preventing us from feeling our fullness and causing us to overeat. On the other hand when we slow down and really chew our food, we experience this pleasure, making us feel satiated, regulating our metabolism, promoting healing and circulation, enhancing immunity, increasing energy and endurance, improving skin health and stabilizing our weight.
I challenge you to CHEW!
You can experience the benefits of chewing by increasing to thirty chews per bite. Try it and see how you feel.
Taking time with our meal, beginning with chewing, allows us to enjoy the whole experience of eating: the smells, flavors and textures. It helps us to give thanks, to show appreciation for the abundance in our lives and to develop patience and self-control. Try eating without the TV, computer, newspaper, or noisy company. Instead just pay attention to the food and to how you are breathing and chewing.
This kind of quiet can be confronting at first, since we are used to a steady stream of advertising, news, media, email, and demands from others. But as you create a new habit, you will begin to appreciate eating without rushing. You have to eat every day—why not learn to savor and enjoy it?