Chewing: An Exercise

I often recommend this exercise to clients to help them understand that eating is an experience. We tend to rush through meals to get to the next event, and do not stop to enjoy the food we’ve either prepared or been served. I don’t expect that after doing this exercise that you will treat every meal exactly as suggested. I hope, however, it brings some awareness to chewing for you, and that you stop to enjoy your meals; especially the more indulgent ones as you’ll be less likely to do indulge again if you take the time to really enjoy it.

The following is excerpted from Power Eating Program: You Are How You Eat, by Lino Stanchich.

Eating begins with the simple act of chewing. Chewing leads to smooth digestion and greater assimilation of nutrients by initiating the release of digestive enzymes that break down food.

Carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth with chewing. Chewing turns grains and other complex carbohydrates into satisfying sugars and makes oils, proteins and minerals available for maximum absorption. Whole foods, especially whole grains, must be mixed with saliva and chewed until they become liquid to release their full nutritional value. In addition, the more that whole carbohydrate foods are chewed, the sweeter they become. Because digestion becomes so efficient when you chew your food thoroughly, your body will begin to feel wonderfully light.

How to Chew Properly
To get started in the habit of chewing correctly, try counting the chews in each bite, aiming for 30 to 50 times. It helps if you put your fork down between bites.

  • Chew every mouthful of food at least 30 times each, until the food becomes liquid.
  • Chewing breaks down food and makes it easier on the stomach and small intestine to digest.
  • Saliva assists in the digestion of carbohydrates.
  • Saliva also makes the food more alkaline, which creates less gas. (Gas is experienced in the stomach and intestine, but it is caused by spleen imbalances.)

If under pressure at meals, take deep breaths, chew, and let the simple act of chewing relax you. Taking the time to chew will help you to enjoy the whole spectrum of tastes and aromas that make up the meal.

Good Chewing Suggestions

Before eating

  • Shower or wash hands and face.
  • Turn off the television, radio, telephone.
  • Do not read.
  • Find a clean quiet place to eat.
  • Light a candle or play soft music.
  • Stretch, breathe.
  • Say a prayer.
  • Align your posture and breathe.

During your meal

  • Place a bite of food in your mouth.
  • Put your utensil down.
  • Place your hands together while chewing.
  • Begin chewing and deep breathing.
  • Concentrate on what you’re doing.
  • Look at your food or something attractive, or close your eyes partially or fully.

After eating

  • Say thanks.
  • Sit and talk after your meal.
  • Take a light stroll.

End Excerpt.

Aside from slowing down and chewing more, I especially like the idea of doing something calming before a meal. Let me know what your thoughts are…

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