Whole Health. Whole Food. Whole Life.
Chewing your food is a very important first stage in the digestive process. Become more mindful about this....and also what you chew on! You, very literally, are what you eat - choose nutrient dense, real food to build your health and well-being from the inside.
Some excellent reasons to mindfully chew your food - aim for at least 25 times:
- Improves taste
- Increases saliva - this contains enzymes and helps to start the break down of carbohydrates
- Warms and moistens the food and creates a "bolus" to continue on to the stomach
- Mechanically grinds food to help extract more nutrients
- Studies show that it improves alertness and cognition
- Improves mood and reduces stress
The Mind-Body Connection:
These days, in keeping with our current theme of constantly rushing and being busy, our meals are rushed events and often disconnected from the social interactions that have traditionally been a part of our eating rituals. "Breathing our food", "scoffing" or "wolfing it down"...many expressions for how we treat our meal times. This rushed eating environment is a trigger for a stress response as you are telling your body there is no time for eating, so already we are priming ourselves for poor digestion - digestion is one of the functions that are down regulated when you are stressed (see Breathe) - and when you don't chew your food properly, it is not adequately prepared for the rest of the digestive tract and this can affect your gut health. More and more research is indicating that gut health has a huge influence on your emotional and mental health.
Practice these simple ways to get the most from your food:
- Sit at the table to eat more often - and be aware of your posture. Sitting up straight is best for good digestion to happen.
- Make your meal time a special time for connecting with your family - this is important for wellbeing, relationships and relaxing
- Do some 4-7-8 breathing before eating your meal - relax (read more on Breathe)
- Consciously notice the food on your plate - chew purposefully (put your fork down between bites) and notice the flavours
- Make sure you are eating whole food that is mostly locally grown, organic where possible and always fairly traded - at first you will miss your processed food additions (they are designed to be addictive), but after only a short while, you will notice how good the real food tastes and you will never look back. The food you used to eat will now taste too sweet, too salty or just tasteless!
- Create family rituals around food and mealtimes - our bodies respond to rhythms and patterns
- Give thanks for the food - it helps us to live in the moment and appreciate the abundance we have in our lives.
1. Chewing and Attention: A Positive Effect on Sustained Attention: BioMed Research International, Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 367026, 6 pages https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2015/367026/
2. Video by Dr Lustig, a paediatric endocrinologist who presents the truth about sugar, fructose and alcohol. "Sugar: The Bitter Truth"