What’s the hardest thing to do? Chew!
Who knew we could be overweight and malnourished, because we don’t chew well enough to get nutrients. So we’re still hungry and without energy. Food went down our chute, but we didn’t absorb it. Poor chewing also leads to indigestible chunks that enliven bad bacteria and cause bloating.
Many of us, myself included, wolf down our meals in 5 to 10 minutes, often while doing other activities. My mind is on the Ipad screen, not on the food.
We think we can throw things into the stomach and we’re done. But there are no teeth in the stomach. The stomach cannot break down those big bites.
What’s it like to slow down, sit down, and enjoy what I’m eating?
As I smell the aroma, my body anticipates the flavors and creates food-specific enzymes before I take the first bite.
I salivate, naturally producing 70% of my digestive enzymes right there in my mouth. (We produce about a liter of saliva every day.)
I allow my teeth to do their job, gently pulverizing the food to expose all the nutrients. My salivary enzymes, amylase and lipase, begin to open the nutrients and digest them. The longer I chew, the more enzymes flow in, fully accessing all ingredients.
My salivary process signals the stomach and the pancreas, which releases more digestive enzymes.
(How many of us are eating so fast, we get indigestion, so we take digestive enzyme pills? Certainly these are useful, but did we give ourselves a chance to chew?)
Okay, I remind myself: Don’t swallow this bite yet. Keep chewing. Release every flavor. Let it become like soup . . .
Soup yet? Then swallow.
As we eat this way, our stomach feels full and happy on about half the food we planned to eat. Imagine that. The stomach signals the brain sooner to stop eating. We are satiated.
- Strengthens our teeth.
- Savors all the flavors.
- Changes food into high energy nutrient-dense juice.
- Makes us feel full sooner on less food,
- because we actually received the nutrients!
- Produces less acid reflux from the stomach.
- Produces less bloating, gas, indigestion, inflammation.
My fast-eating habit is one aspect of my Busy Life, which is Busy because I want to do so much. So many obligations and opportunities. Cram in more, more.
I hope to slow down.
I hope to chew long, to fully receive the gift of food. The gift of health.