By Arielle Fierman
We all know that the quantity and quality of what we eat will affect the way we feel and look both inside and out. Yet few of us consider the fact that the way in which we chew our meals is just as important.
Many of us inhale our food. We start chewing and then put the fork in our mouth again, before we’ve even finished the previous bite. Sound like you? (Don’t worry, it used to sound like me too!) But the more you break down your food in your mouth, before it ever reaches your digestive tract, the easier the digestive process will be. If you leave chunks of food for your digestive system to handle, it’s no wonder that your stomach hurts, you’re constipated, have gas, and suffer from indigestion! Solely by chewing more mindfully, you will feel lighter physically and emotionally, your stomach will feel at ease, and you will enjoy your meal more. Trust me. Just give it a try.
So, where do you go from here?
At your next meal, start by slowing down. Some people pray before they eat but, if that doesn’t jive with you (it’s not for everyone), take at least one deep breath before you start eating your meal. When you take a deep breath, you’re body will warm up, ready to digest the food. You’ll feel relaxed and be ready to enjoy your meal.
After your first bite: Chew. Chew. Chew. Chew. And chew some more. Chew about 20 to 50 times. Digestion actually begins in the mouth where Amylase, the enzymes in your saliva, starts breaking down food even before it goes down your esophagus. So, no matter what you eat, whether it’s something soft like a banana or hard like the crust of a piece of pizza, chew mindfully. And when you think you’ve chewed enough, chew some more! Chew until the food liquefies in your mouth. We know, it sounds gross, but just try it. Once the food is liquefied, swallow with a relaxed mind.
Your digestive system will thank you!