In my previous post, you learnt the importance of chewing food equally on both sides. Now we are going to learn how to chew…….
Well….If you are thinking that…….CHEWING is pretty basic!….We don’t need a lesson for that….Trust me…….Many of us do.
We all figured out chewing by ourselves when we got our first few teeth. No one ever taught us or told us how to chew.
Most of us today, chew the food just enough to make sure we don’t CHOKE and shove it down our throats in a rush, believing that the digestive system will do the rest.
In the very recent years, my quest to make my body function at an optimal level, led me to the fact that the food must be chewed 30 to 40 times before being swallowed.
But why is it so important to chew the food?
THE DIGESTIVE PROCESS BEGINS IN THE MOUTH.
You must chew the food enough for the enzymes in your saliva to send a signal to the brain which in turn signals your gut to prepare for the digestion by releasing the required acids and enzymes.
Partially chewed food confuses and over burdens the digestive system.
Now, chewing 30 - 40 times is HARD!…very HARD!……and the counting makes it almost IMPRACTICAL. There is an extremely strong urge to swallow, which you must consciously resist. Beyond a point, it really didn’t make sense to me.
So, I found my own way……
Now, imagine your stomach to be a baby who is just starting on solids. Your mouth should act like a blender….. you chew and chew and chew and chew …….until you make a completely juicy mashed puree out of it (NOPE!…don’t even think of using an actual blender instead…NO SHORTCUTS here)….all the while savoring the taste and checking the texture to make it perfect for the baby.
And REMEMBER…. A slight slip in focus……you realize you have gulped down a LUMPY, BUMPY chunk of food.
Once the food is smooth and has lost all its texture, you feed it to the baby or in other words ‘swallow’.
So basically, you don’t eat your food. You ‘DRINK YOUR FOOD’.
Benefits of Chewing ‘Correctly’
IMPROVED DIGESTION: No gas, bloating, heart burn, constipation
BETTER NUTRIENT ABSORPTION: Better health, skin and hair, more energy
NO OVEREATING and NO CALORIE COUNTING: Your brain signals when to stop. You will feel sated but not overstuffed.
MINDFULNESS: You will finally start listening to your body
Apart from ‘What to eat?” very often people wonder………..
How much should I eat?
If you have known me enough, you will know that I am not a big fan of ‘Calorie Counting”.
Then how do we know when to stop?
Well, here is a proven technique that helps your brain tell you exactly when to stop.
What happens most of the time when we get to our meal is that we hardly chew, eat so fast, stuff things down our throats mindlessly and in a matter of 5 – 10 mins you are back for a second serving as you feel that you are still not satiated, or some people forcefully stop themselves from eating more and end up feeling a little deprived as their body is not satisfied yet.
The reason is you haven’t given enough time for the brain to process what you are eating and how much you are eating.
Did you know that the stomach takes about 20 mins to send a signal to your brain that it is full??
So, here is a best practice that you can follow. This is recommended by one of the very famous Indian celebrity dieticians “Rujuta Diwaker” that helps the body tell you how much food it needs.
When you get to your meal, first imagine how much food you will need on your plate. (Normally, what we do is we imagine a certain quantity and then fill our plates with that much and proceed to eating).
Next, fill your plate with half of that quantity and start with that.
Chew mindfully and savor every bite taking your time until your plate is done.
Now, see if you feel like having more. If you do, repeat from the step one.
PLEASE NOTE: For this technique to work effectively, your meal time should be free of distractions and that means “No Devices” including Television, laptops and phones.
Chew your food mindfully.
Take your time with food. No rushing.
Give your brain the necessary time to process the food you have had.
Let your body signal you when to STOP.
When you follow this method, you will soon realize that you are eating far less than you would normally eat but still feel sated and not deprived. So………If you were always worried about ‘WHAT YOU EAT’ and ‘HOW MUCH TO EAT, it’s time to pay attention to ‘HOW YOU EAT’!