Chew your food.  I know it sounds so simple and yet I think it is perhaps the best and first thing you can do to improve your health.  

I know a reminder is warranted because I often forget to chew. This is so true when I am  hungry or the food is so delicious, I just cannot help gobbling it up.

This is why I encourage reminders.  I have a husband who can remind me although I think I have a tendency to remind him more than he reminds me! 

I tell my clients to make a sign and put it in front of them while they eat so they can be reminded.  And get the whole family involved too!  It becomes more like a game on how well one can chew or catch your sibling at not chewing!   I recently had coasters made that you can put on your table reminding you to chew. That .  A gentle reminder to chew.

What does it mean to chew?  It means chewing your food to a paste.  Yes a paste – not hunks! So if you have a lot of food on your fork or spoon, you will be chewing for quite sometime.  Most likely your gag reflex kicks in and you swallow long before the food is chewed.  Put smaller amounts of food into your mouth.  Experiment with what you can do before your reflex kicks in and you swallow.  Put the fork down between bites and pause.

I once chewed 1 raisin over 40 times and gave up and swallowed. However I don’t think raisins ever break down to paste!  The amount of chews will depend on the texture of the food.  Mashed potatoes will certainly be chewed long before a piece of meat.  A small piece of meat could easily take as much as 40 or more chews.

Why is chewing so important?  Well for many reasons.  Digestion starts in the mouth, with the release of salvia containing enzymes that will break your food down so the body can use the nutrients.  If you don’t chew your food, you miss out on this step.  Food then enters the stomach where it is further broken down with stomach acid and more enzyme activity.  If you have low stomach acid or perhaps the food is too large to breakdown, hunks of food will then pass into the colon.  Digestion is then finished in the small intestines.

So if you have not broken down your food, digestion of your food might not be optimal.  You can also look at your bowel movements and if you see food in there, it gives you a clue that you did not chew your food. And if you have ever felt gassy, burpy, bloated or unwell after eating or perhaps heartburn, it just might be because you have not chewed your food. So if this sounds like you – experiment. Take at least 20 minutes to eat a meal and chew every bit of it and then notice how you feel.

Do your best.  Chew your food.  Take at least 20 minutes to eat your meal.  And enjoy it!

From the heart,

Heart to Heart Nutrition offers nutritional consulting, a 12 week online sleep coaching program, health breakthrough coaching where deep-rooted behaviours impede the journey back to self-care, self-love and self-worth.  Other services include hypnotherapy and reiki.