You might find that some things you thought you loved, really don’t taste so good when you take the time to slow down and chew. Many of the people I have worked with find that some of their favorite “junk foods” don’t taste so great when they slow down and chew them.
Why is chewing so important? Digestion starts in your mouth, not your stomach. Your saliva contains enzymes that help break down your food. Some of those enzymes help break down carbohydrates to give you more energy and others break down fats that are consume making the nutrients we need more readily available to be absorbed. When food isn’t broken down enough by chewing it can remain undigested, sitting in our gut and result in an over growth of bacteria in the intestines.
Mindfully chewing your food helps you eat more slowly and prevents overeating. Not overeating means less chance for gaining unwanted pounds, less indigestion and feeling more satisfied. Turn the TV off, stop eating in the car, or at your desk. Relax, eat with a friend, plan a family meal at least once a week, give thanks and focus on the food. Notice how you feel after a couple of days.
How much should you really chew your food? It depends on what you’re eating. A piece of lettuce will take fewer chews than say a piece of steak. Try this, start with taking smaller bites and work on chewing each bite until you can’t tell what the food is by its texture. Put your fork or whatever utensil you are using down in between bites, take a breath. While you are chewing notice the flavor of what you are eating. The sweetness in many plant foods aren’t fully recognized until they are well chewed. Isn’t that pretty cool? Imagine satisfying your sweet tooth with an apple or a sweet potato just because it was chewed properly.