Would you honestly say that you chew your food carefully and thoroughly?
If you don’t, you’re impeding your body’s ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients.
Stellar digestion → superior health.
Become a careful chewer by 1) putting your fork, knife, and/or spoon down between each bite and 2) savoring the taste and texture of your food.
It sounds too good to be true, right? Better health and digestion by simply…chewing food? In reality, this may be one of the biggest bang-for-your-buck changes out there! It may also seem too obvious. However, if you monitor your eating habits, you may realize you fall somewhere between the careless chewers and the careful chewers. Your goal: Become a careful chewer ASAP!
Why must you (carefully!) chew your food for better digestion?
First, you must understand the digestion process. There are four stages:
- Ingestion = The first step begins when you take a bite of food or a sip of liquid.
- Digestion = Your body breaks down the food into nutrients.
- Absorption = Your body absorbs the nutrients.
- Elimination = Your body eliminates any waste.
Think about this from a logical perspective: If stellar ingestion is the first step for a high-functioning digestive process, then terrible ingestion will lead to subpar digestion, absorption, and elimination. You can’t start the process poorly and expect a positive outcome. Nothing in life works this way!
What does digestion have to do with overall health?
Healthy digestion is sometimes referred to as one of the key vital signs of one’s health; it’s that important.
Let’s consider one health marker: The proper balance of essential nutrients. Essential nutrients are nutrients that we must get from food; our bodies don’t synthesize them on their own. Some examples of essential nutrients are fat; water; Vitamins A, D, K, and C; and minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium.
If you’re eating a diet rich in high-quality protein and organic produce, you should be ingesting all of the essential nutrients you need. That is…as long as you’re carefully and thoroughly chewing those meats and veggies! If you aren’t properly chewing your food, your salivary glands will not produce the necessary digestive enzymes to jump start the entire digestion profess. Thus, your body can’t digest or absorb the nutrients it needs. If you’re not digesting properly, you may have symptoms of a vitamin or mineral deficiency, which include:
- Dry skin
- Poor immunity
- Muscle fatigue or cramping
- …and more!
You’re also essentially wasting your money on the high-quality protein and produce because your body isn’t reaping the benefits of those purchases. Without proper digestion, the money you spent at Whole Foods and the farmer’s market last week = money down the drain!
Bottom line: If you’re not chewing, you’re putting your health–and your wallet!–in jeopardy!
Teach yourself to chew your food
We all know how to chew food, but we don’t necessarily do it well. This is where the spectrum of careless chewers to careful chewers comes in. Right now, consider your average chewing habits and (honestly!) answer this question: Do you always chew your food sufficiently?
My honest answer to that question is: NO. Sometimes I’m a careful chewer, but most of the time I’m still a careless chewer, especially when presented with a juicy steak. I want to inhale it as quickly as possible!
One way I’ve been slowing down and carefully chewing my food is turning to a trick my grandma once taught me:
Careful-chewer tip #1: Put your fork, knife, and/or spoon down between bites; don’t pick them up again until you’ve swallowed.
Again, this seems very logical and almost too obvious, but it is a GAME. CHANGER.
Because my fork and knife are down, my only focus shifts from preparing my next bite while carelessly chewing the current one to solely focusing on carefully chewing. It really works!
Another trick I’ve been trying is to appreciate the taste and sensation of each bite. (Maybe a side effect of my new chewing habits will be a career as a food critic!?)
Careful-chewer tip #2: Savor the flavor and texture of each bite.
Truly, becoming a careful chewer is not rocket science. It simply involves mindfulness and patience, two skills that are easily cultivated. Some health gains require more complicated efforts, but this is a simple challenge with stellar rewards!
Careful chewing will likely lead you to better overall digestion, improved health, worthwhile high-quality grocery purchases, and more appreciation for your food. Its a win-win-win-win!