Recently I realized that for three consecutive days, I was chugging copious amounts of water to force bite-sized chunks of food down my throat and these episodes of near choking were followed by serious digestive distress. Perhaps it’s time, I thought, to focus on chewing. A simple, everyday action that I thought I mastered before the age of 2, but it seems I was taking chewing for granted. I reminded myself that the whole process of breaking down food and converting it into energy starts in the mouth. Chewing is important.
For the last seven days, I have taken my mastication seriously and have noticed a bunch of things worth sharing. One, it takes a long time to really chew your food. It took me just under 30 minutes to eat a dinner-size salad with roast chicken and beets. That's a lot of chewing, which is good since it slows down the eating process. Occasionally, I would become bored with chewing and stop eating as soon as I felt sated, a great way to not overindulge. This process helps with dieting. Secondly, my digestion really improved. Gone was the random cramping and bloated feeling.
I challenge you all to focus on your eating. Take a refresher course on chewing when you
- I do not suggest counting your chews, since this could interfere with your ability to participate in dinner conversation, but to break down your food with your teeth until it is easily swallowed.
- Don't put another bite in your mouth until you have chewed the one currently in your mouth — a great habit to prevent mindless overeating.
- It's easier to completely chew your food if you take smaller bites, so stop shoveling mouthfuls in.
- If you need to use water to wash your bite down, chances are high you didn't completely chew your food. So sip in between bites, not during.
- Put your fork down in between bites. This simple action helps you slow down and truly focus on the food that is in your mouth.