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Chew Your Food

How often do we sit down to a delicious meal only to get up 10 minutes later and realize we didn't even taste the food?  Not only that, but we are hungry again in just a few short hours.

One of the first 'quick fixes' for poor nutrition and poor digestion is chewing your food. Chewing each bite 30-100 times is best. Wow! Who chews their food 100 times? I must confess that I don't. Usually 30-50 chews per-bite is enough for me. There are those who do chew 100 times though...something to think about!

We live in a society that demands everything to be fast. We even have Fast Food.
Fast food is just that - usually eaten fast (less nutritional absorption), and then in no time at all we're hungry again and feel like we've been fasting all day. Our society is literally overweight and nutritionally starved.

In order for the body to absorb the maximum nutrition it needs, we need to slow down, and relax when we eat. Start out by taking a small bite, set your utensils down, breath deeply, relax, and chew, chew, chew. Savor the flavor and texture of each bite. Focus on how delicious it tastes.

Eating when we are stressed causes the blood to flow away from the stomach and digestion to slow down. Stress causes our body to release cortisol (stress hormone) which is a weight gaining drug made by the body to protect itself (fight or flight). Ever notice how yucky you feel after eating a meal when your highly stressed? You may not even want to eat when stressed, or you may find yourself grabbing something fast and easy to satisfy your need for comfort.

These fast and easy foods are usually nutrient deficient and will not satisfy your bodies need for comfort as well as choosing something nutritious. Your body might also be seeking something other than food to satisfy what it needs.

Have you ever downed a whole carton of ice cream only to realize all you really needed was a hug or a sweet conversation with someone?

Two important benefits of eating while relaxed and CHEWING our food are:
  • Healthy digestion and assimilation
  • The body is able to burn calories easier because the food is already broken down before it gets to your stomach
Giving thanks is a natural and easy way to focus before a meal - expressing gratitude to the Lord, the meal preparer, and the bread winner puts our mind and body in a state of relaxation and peace. It also prepares the stomach and mind for nutrition. The easiest way to release stress before a meal is by praying, expressing gratitude, taking a few deep breaths and then chewing slowly.

Enzymes in the mouth are released when chewing. Ptyalin (salivary amylase) is one of the necessary digestive enzymes and is found in the saliva.

Ideas to help you remember to slow down:
  • Candlelight, soft music and flowers aren't just for romantic dinners
  • Good conversation
  • Sit down - standing and walking around while eating is too distracting and not relaxing
  • If eating alone, sit near a window and gaze at the beauties of nature
  • Turn off all electronics and focus on the meal - you'll be less likely to be distracted and wolf-down your meal without even thinking
  • Remind yourself, there's no need to rush
  • Make meals an event, not a chore to get over with - it doesn't have to be complicated or consume too much time, just simple little things make a difference 
  • Say Yum! Yum! out loud while chewing
  • Set your fork down between bites and don't pick it up again until you've swallowed what's already in your mouth
  • Relax and breathe deeply
Hate to exercise? Well, chewing is a relaxing exercise, so look at it as a calorie burning activity that you can enjoy while sitting down! The more you chew the more calories you burn!

Chewing increases your energy level in 2 ways. First the body doesn't have to work as hard to digest the food. Secondly, your body is absorbing more of the nutrients and giving it more of what it needs.

The brain takes about 20 minutes to register that we've had enough to eat. When slowing down and chewing our food 30-100 times, the body will automatically feel full sooner and you'll be on the track to easy weight loss.  You'll feel more satisfied with less food, body feels healthier because of all the nutrition it's getting.

You'll feel even more relaxed and energized when your meal is over.

What have you found helps you relax and chew more at meal time?

With love and gratitude,

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